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Old September 13th, 2005, 03:03 PM   #1
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GreenCine is interested. Now what?

After reading the fine print in several distribution offers, and after talking with some other independent filmmakers who have watched their work die on the vine after a distributor signed it, I have decided to retain all my rights and distribute the stuff myself. But now, I find myself in a very strange land that makes little sense to me. I have a lot to learn, clearly.

Has anyone on this forum had any dealings with GreenCine [www.greencine.com]? They're sort of an alternative to Netflix and seem to specialize in independent film. They also have a prototype video-on-demand service up that looks pretty interesting. Anyway, I e-mailed them a while back about possibly carrying some of my titles, and they e-mailed back and said "Sure, send us some DVDs."

All well and good, but they went on to ask if they could order my disks from "Baker & Taylor, VPD or Ingram".... implying that this is the normal course for any "real" video distributor. Not wanting to display my ignorance, I googled these names, and as near as I can tell, they seem to be some kind of video wholesalers that supply video rental stores.

I've always operated on a D.I.Y, low-volume, zero-inventory, burn-'em-as-I-get-orders kind of business model to date. This big studio, lots of middlemen, approach is all new to me.

So here are my questions:

1. Am I going to mark myself as some kind of idiot rube if I tell GreenCine, "No, that's O.K., just order them directly from me?"

2. Is there any real advantage for an independent like myself in working with a wholesaler (aside from the joy of giving someone else a seemingly unnecessary cut of my already paltry sales!)?

3. If they remain interested, is someone like GreenCine likely to order (and pay for) the 100s or 1000s of units that would justify the additional hassle and overhead of working with a wholesaler?

Thanks in advance for any help from those of you who have negotiated this wild and woolly world before.
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Old September 13th, 2005, 03:49 PM   #2
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Get an ISBN number and sell it on Amazon. There is a little more to it than that, of course. But, Amazon is unbelieveably huge...that should be a priority if you have a completed DVD ready for sale.
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Old September 13th, 2005, 04:15 PM   #3
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I already have the ISBN number.... but after going over Amazon's guidelines it seems they want UPC symbols, not ISBN, for videos. Did I misread this? Have you sold on Amazon with just an ISBN?
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Old September 13th, 2005, 04:19 PM   #4
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No, I haven't yet. But, getting a book on there only requires an ISBN number. At least that's the last I heard..

I'd keep looking into it because it's worth the effort and cost if you can get your film on there. It's the largest store in the world and you're only a search away on there..
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Old September 13th, 2005, 04:27 PM   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Standing
1. Am I going to mark myself as some kind of idiot rube if I tell GreenCine, "No, that's O.K., just order them directly from me?"
Brian, hard as it is, when I come up against something that I have no idea about, I swallow hard, admit I don't know everything I'd like to know, and ask the necessary questions. Better to let them know you're ignorant, that to prove you're an "idiot."


Quote:
2. Is there any real advantage for an independent like myself in working with a wholesaler (aside from the joy of giving someone else a seemingly unnecessary cut of my already paltry sales!)?
My question would be how would you drive customers to their site? If you feel that's no problem, then why not drive them to your own site and eliminate the middle-man?


Quote:
3. If they remain interested, is someone like GreenCine likely to order (and pay for) the 100s or 1000s of units that would justify the additional hassle and overhead of working with a wholesaler?
From what little I saw on their site, I doubt it. Not unless it's some proven property, i.e., a major, but dated, release. Maybe some kind of cult classic.
{edit}
I just read on their site: "We're not currently accepting films outside of our normal purchasing channels for DVD rental." So it sounds like they're thinking along the VOD path.


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Thanks in advance for any help from those of you who have negotiated this wild and woolly world before.
Lest there be any misunderstanding, I have no experience the "wild and woolly world" of film distribution, beyond what we studied in school. So take this post with a grain of salt. Better yet, take the whole shaker!

Jay
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Old September 13th, 2005, 05:08 PM   #6
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Brian,

Great article in the "independent" magazine on distribution. Check out "GoKart films" an indy distributor with a good filmmaker friendly deal.
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