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Old August 13th, 2002, 08:03 PM   #1
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*Distribution Deals: A Conversation* Mix a cocktail, kick off your shoes and come in.

I need advice on distribution deals. God knows...I know it's much easier said than done, but I'm curious to hear how others have gone about putting their work out there. Is it wise to send off DVDs of the finished flick to major film and DVD distributors' (unsolicited)? Would it even get pass the secretary (I doubt)? What about sending out a query letter and a promo pack w/trailer to every distributor out there?

I'm asking this question on behalf of someone else and I found this to be an interesting and extremely ambitious approach/idea.

My first thought was to advise him to get entertainment representation and proceed from there. My second thought was to hit the film festival circuit.

Any other tips, ideas, experiences w/distribution deals would be great.
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Old August 13th, 2002, 09:41 PM   #2
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I'm very interested in this topic too. I was going to ask it as soon as Chris opened a "Business Topics" section of the forum. (hint hint, nudge nudge).
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Old August 13th, 2002, 11:01 PM   #3
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Care to moderate, or at least co-moderate it, Dylan? You've been around for awhile now, helping folks out; knowing you could assist with tending bar in that room would greatly facilitate getting it opened!
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Old August 14th, 2002, 01:04 AM   #4
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Chris
As long as you don't mind me coming to work drunk. :)

I'd be glad to help out in any way I can!
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Old August 14th, 2002, 02:40 AM   #5
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<<<-- Originally posted by Dylan Couper : Chris
As long as you don't mind me coming to work drunk. :)

I'd be glad to help out in any way I can! -->>>

Man where can I get a job like that? :)

Chris,

"If you build it, they will come." Sorry couldn't resist.
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Old August 14th, 2002, 10:12 AM   #6
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Very appropiate forum. i would love to see it get started.

Elvis,

Any friends who are lawyers? If so, ask some questions. Just sending out a DVD is not going to accomplish much. A query letter will get you some much needed info like are they accepting submissions, how to submit, what format, etc. If you don't want to play be their rules then go the festival route. Send for guidelines and submit to as many festivals as possible. Good luck.

Jeff
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Old August 14th, 2002, 11:15 AM   #7
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Hello:

Don't know much about this, however, why not call the Acquisitions Department of whomever you're wanting to sell the product to? Perhaps, you can get a name of someone when calling. Just be really really nice to everyone. Who knows, Acquisitions might just be like: "send it up."

Regards,

Kyle "Doc" Mitchell
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Old August 19th, 2002, 12:28 PM   #8
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This Business of Television

It depends on what kind of distribution deal the person is interested in and where.

One place to start on the legal issues would be the book This Business of Television published by Billboard books. It's in its 2nd revised edition. Written by a producer and a entertainment lawyer. It may be in your local university or college library.

I've seen a number of press kits/marketing pieces released on CD-ROM and/or DVD ROM that describe projects and spell out their appeal. I would not send out an entire work and expect that it would be watched. What one would send out would really have to make the pitch.
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Old August 26th, 2002, 04:26 AM   #9
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Most distributors won't accept unsolicited (IE: sent from someone other than a liscensed agent) materials, but there are some who will. Lot47 films is one example (they put out good stuff: L.I.E. and Happenstance, to name a couple). They have a contact email at lot47.com and reply pretty quickly.

-Shawn
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Old September 7th, 2002, 03:39 AM   #10
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hello-

here are my 2 cents:

nothing is what is used to be, and that can be said about lot47. i think a good place to start on this topic is to get the trades. get variety or get variety online (www.variety.com) and read read read. for home video, video business is THE book (www.videobusiness.com); not to mention it's been around for almost 21 years). video premieres is for direct to video and dvd fare (www.videopremiereawards.com) la411.com and it's companion books are essentials for independent producers; check them out and buy them. i'm serious about how much these simple reading materials make the difference. i put aside about 5 hours a week just for this. it's helped a lot. and you can tell in 15 seconds just who reads and doesn't.

joining ifp doesn't hurt at all (www.ifp.org). membership gives you a ton of benefits and they lift you out of the obscurity that is independent film/video production.

also, markets are really good. afm, ifp marketplace, mifed, etc. it will color the playing field with a nasty thin gloss that is independent film acquisition. what sells might be a slap in the face to many of us who worry about what story to tell and how. for home video, the last living tradeshows (and i use living loosely) are vsda and the east coast video show (www.homeentertainmentevents.com). go. get the money. go. put the money into knowledge of the marketplace, especially right now. i seriously changed the way i am going to produce my feature, 'shiner' (www.take-a-hit.com), because of current trends. this has been a profitable year for big and independent films, but the fact most movies haven't held the box office for more than the weekend's they came out in, this has cause a nasty/canabalistic audience that has a big title every couple weeks. this has impacted the independents tremendously and will limit what they do and pick up for next year, for sure. it's good to know this and avoid the heartache of making a movie that will prohibit you from making another one, because it's hard to sell.

imdb offers a pro site (for 10 bucks a week) that is worth every penny (www.imdbpro.com), because your movie will probably make less than other films like it, especially this year and if these trends keep up.

also, know your buyers. not all buyers will require a blow up, if you shot and edited digital. don't blow up unless you have something signed. i know this first hand and was shocked to find i would have spent a down payment on a house w/o any need. blow up companies are in business to do blow ups, while we are in business to make profitable movies.

i can recommend a ton of books on distribution and markets and that stuff. i'm very greatful to chris for this site and to those of you whole welcomed me so generously. good luck and take care.

christian calson
nebunule films
nebunule.com

(please forgive my absolutely bad spelling. spell check hides most of these monsters, i promise)
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Old October 24th, 2002, 08:22 AM   #11
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Chris... i would be glad to help out too,
i have quite some knowledge about production :)
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Old October 24th, 2002, 11:00 AM   #12
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Another place for short films is TotalMovie magazine. Each month they include a DVD, one side with a feature, the other with several shorts. They have a monthly circulation of approx 500,000. No issues about blowing up to film with them.
You can pick up a copy at 'Barnes and Noble' or 'Borders'.
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Old October 29th, 2002, 11:03 AM   #13
 
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jojo,

Is that the same as Total Movie & Entertainment magazine?
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Old October 29th, 2002, 12:53 PM   #14
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I think so. If the one you're talking about includes a DVD each month. The latest one I have, has a picture of Eliza Dushku on the cover.
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Old October 29th, 2002, 02:52 PM   #15
 
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Yep, that's the one. Thanks for the clarification!
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