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Taking Care of Business
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Old December 24th, 2004, 12:17 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Virginia, USA
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Anyone with Distri experience

Just seeing if anyone out there has some helpful tales about distribution: either self or working with an established company. Here's my situation...

I'm producing a baseball documentary. Each year, about 6 or so guys break into the big leagues in such a way as to suggest a long and successful career. I've got 4 of the guys who broke out last year doing me a favor and interviewing for the film. Two or three of them are expected to be household name players like your piazzas and jeters. I've also got a bunch of pro scouts and about 40 college coaches at top D1 programs.

My approach is to make a documentary about the process of how guys get drafted, go through the minor leagues, and finally end up in the majors...with segments about some of the mental parts of the game that allow some to move on, ect. So the information, hopefully, will be helpful to the player of any age who wants to play pro ball and enrich the hardcore fan's baseball experience. The only problem is, no one has ever done anything like this really (I've looked everywhere for a model and can't find one). There are training videos (a million of them) and there are documentaries, but mine is a hybrid of these two genres, hopefully taking the best parts of each.

I've had contact with some distributers, but when I started in the business I interned with a video I know how terrible this can be for a producer. Plus, I don't think a distributer is really going to understand the value of the film they're watching. So I'm seriously considering bypassing festivals and what not and going straight to the market myself. I've got a basic strategy set out, but I'm wondering if anyone has any war stories about distribution, self or otherwise, which might be of interest to someone in my position. Just checking.

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Old December 29th, 2004, 11:42 AM   #2
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Just a thought but have you considered the cable channels?
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Old December 29th, 2004, 02:34 PM   #3
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Location: San Mateo, CA
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Not sure where you are in the production process at this point... but you might think of taking a multi-prong approach.

Plan on submitting to every relevant festival. An award, or even selection in some of them, will be good publicity and help in the marketing and sales in the long run.

Plan on submitting to relevant cable channels. Send a querie first, asking what there requirements are for broadcast etc.

Plan on finding a "distributor". Probably the best place to do this in the US is at the American Film Market. Though mostly for features, they do buy/sell docs there. Distributors also attend festivals, and buy from the filmmakers there. That's where the film "Spellbound" about spelling bee contests was bought.

Plan on marketing yourself, through a website, or promotional tie-ins. Perhaps a BB manufacturer or game maker would buy units to include in their sales purchases.

Just some thoughts.
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