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Where do you sell documentaries?

So, for years I took down "United States and Ukraine" because of problems with Fatca and what not. (Basically, with double taxation, you could end up owing more money than you earn.) And, I thought it would make me ineligible for funding. (Long story. Just say, don't limit your CV to apply for grants, no matter how big they are. But, taking down films did help me get more interviews for day jobs. Go figure.)

Now, I've sorted it. The documentary is not very artistic, more an informative collection of primary sources. It covers US government policy from 1989-2015, a lot of talking heads and tanks and parachutes.

Here's the Vimeo page if that gives you an idea. It's feature-length, no commentary (talking head primary sources of diplomats, soldiers, politicians, etc), the score was arranged by me, based on Ukrainian folk music.

I chose Vimeo for now because I can add more small films if we update it, and past purchasers can then view the new additions. I didn't like it before, but I did make a few sales with them. But, maybe there are other distribution mediums?

vimeo.com/ondemand/ukrainedocumentary...

  • With only a narrow scope of exceptionalism, documentaries rarely sell for anything close to cost price, let alone profit. The business of documentary typically happens before production. Deals are done first, not afterwards.

    2 months ago
    • Thank you John, I appreciate that you presell documentaries. The problem there, of course, is then your speech is limited to what the client wants to say, which can be propagandistic and one-sided.

      The United States and Ukraine has already been made, it already has a few sales, maybe the question I should have asked is, "where do you buy documentaries?"

      1 month ago
  • Tricky one. John's right of course regarding pre-sales.

    Back up a step and your question is "Who are my audience?". Identifying them will tell you where you may get sales. The more specifically you can identify your audience(s), the easier they will be to target. If, for instance, you think your documentary is of special interest to Ukranian ex-pats living in USA, you may find ex-pat forums and newsletters you can approach. You could even offer them a 50/50 split if they do an article/review and sell through their publishers, for instance.

    1 month ago