Why Should Someone Watch Your Movie?

Here’s the most recent post from Jason Brubaker at FilmmakingStuff.com:

Why Should Someone Watch Your Movie?

If you ever wondered how to get film distribution, you’re not alone.

When I started filmmaking, things were haywire. Accessing the marketplace was impossible without a distribution deal. And most movies never garnered a distribution deal that made any business sense. If you were lucky enough to get a deal, odds were good the deal was crappy. Even so, you took it. Otherwise your movie died in obscurity. No filmmaker wants obscurity.

This indie film distribution paradigm was accepted as a rite of passage. Many filmmakers signed away their rights for the mere validation of seeing their movie in the video stores. And every few months these same filmmakers would receive financial statements in the mail. The statement would show movie revenue minus marketing expenses. And the bottom line? Zero monies paid to the filmmaker.

At least my movie got on a shelf in the video store…

This was my experience. After receiving countless phone calls from would-be distributors full of empty promises, I started to dislike the predatory nature of traditional film distribution. But what could you do? Back then, the only alternative to this old model was self-distribution. And if you remember, the term itself was synonymous with loser. I mean, if you couldn’t land a REAL distribution deal, then you weren’t a real filmmaker.

The Rise of Video On Demand Distribution

Thankfully video on demand changed everything. I remember releasing our first feature on Amazon and making sales. It was hard to believe we could access the marketplace without a traditional film distribution deal. Ok. At first we really did feel like losers. I mean, self-distributing on Amazon wasn’t exactly the three-picture studio deal we dreamed of. But then our movie started selling.

I did not fully understand the power of modern self-distribution until our phone started ringing again. As it turned out, a few of the distributors who previously rejected us now presented better offers. It was at this point, I realized the paradigm was shifting in favor of the filmmaker. Indie filmmakers now had direct access to the marketplace. And that changed everything for me.

Since that time, developments in inexpensive production technology coupled with accessible marketplaces means that you can now make, market and sell your movie without asking permission. But the problem is, you are not the only filmmaker that knows this. Each year thousands of movies enter the market, making it increasingly challenging to get your movie noticed.

Why Should Someone Watch Your Movie?

While movie studios are notorious for spending millions of dollars on marketing, as indie filmmakers we still pretend that marketing is not applicable to us. I mean, we know that marketing is important. But between procuring an awesome script, raising money and actually making the movie, we often cross our fingers and hope for a marketing miracle. And why shouldn’t you think that? You just produced an awesome movie!

But the problem is, aside from your mom and kid-sister, nobody knows about your movie. And while I am sure you went to many film festivals and traded post cards with other filmmakers (who in return, provided you their post cards), you probably quickly realized two facts: Film festivals are full of filmmakers. And other filmmakers are not your target audience.

The people who make up your movie’s target audience are not found at film festivals. Instead they are trying to manage a busy life. These people have kids, jobs, worries, sleepless nights, gym memberships and car payments…  So when they sit down to watch a movie, their time is limited. And the question you have to answer is why. Why should someone take time from their hectic schedule to watch YOUR movie?

The New Model of Marketing Film Distribution

Most people decide which movies to watch based on recommendations from trusted friends. Movie studios spend millions to spark word of mouth. Sometimes it works. Most times it doesn’t. This is good news considering you you don’t have a studio level marketing budget. But the challenge remains. How do you promote word of mouth without shouting at your audience?

Luckily there are some modern solutions designed to help you. Check out Chill.com – What you will discover is an easy way to bundle your movie with physical merchandise, an embeddable player that securely takes payments and an slick tool to monitor movie sales. But more importantly, Chill offers ways for you to amplify the marketing and social reach of your movie, which helps you manage your word of mouth.

It is too soon to make my official announcement. But unofficially, I think Chill is going to solve a lot of the marketing challenges you face. In the meantime, make sure you become part of the FS community.

About Jason Brubaker

Jason Brubaker is a Hollywood based Independent Motion Picture Producer and an expert in Video On Demand distribution. He is focused on helping YOU make, market and sell movies more easily by growing your fan base, building buzz and creating community around your title. He is also available for speaking engagements.

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