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Old August 14th, 2006, 08:24 AM   #1
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Self-Distribution

We are looking into self-distribution for a feature documentary which is completing it's (local) theatrical run. So far I've only considered channels with a more "hands-off" approach such as lulu.com and indieflix, but I'd like to know if anyone has found another approach that they would recommend.

Ideally we'd like to have "real" DVD's produced (vs. DVD-R's, etc.) because some of the channels we are considering (Netflix, etc.) won't even look at something distributed on -R.

In particular has anyone used Amazon marketplace to distribute a film?
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Old August 14th, 2006, 12:35 PM   #2
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how long did it play at your local theater?
you should have some $$ figures from the box office?
what was the weekly box office (or weekend box office)
did the local papers review it ?
do you have a 35mm print or digital projection?

based on the above - if you have decent box office $$ (usually a one night or just a weekend run isn't reported) you might be able to get a independent chain interested to run it it or a distributor or perhaps a independent booker ?

so what does it cost to get a " real hollywood " DVD? ( there are places that will do a 1000 dvd run )
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Old August 14th, 2006, 01:57 PM   #3
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I don't have alot of numbers to share at this point. Since this is one of our first films, we worked out a deal with the theater that is mutually beneficial (if not so much finacially). The film plays for six months, two nights a month, until November.

We were approached by several distributors when the film was completed however they have chosen to pass, the final one notifying us of this last weekend and hence my picking up on the self-distribution process.

I have a good idea of what are target audience looks like and some unusual ways of getting the film onto their radar, but before we go to far down that road I need to square away the "fulfillment" end of the equation.

Anyone with experience in this end of the process we would love to hear what works, doesn't, etc.


Thanks!
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Old August 14th, 2006, 05:48 PM   #4
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have You tried this one: http://www.sonnyboo.com/downloads/tv.htm
this link is taken from dvinfo sticky
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Old August 15th, 2006, 10:15 AM   #5
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Great resource Frank, thank you!
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Old August 15th, 2006, 01:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason J. Gullickson
We are looking into self-distribution for a feature documentary which is completing it's (local) theatrical run. So far I've only considered channels with a more "hands-off" approach such as lulu.com and indieflix, but I'd like to know if anyone has found another approach that they would recommend.

Ideally we'd like to have "real" DVD's produced (vs. DVD-R's, etc.) because some of the channels we are considering (Netflix, etc.) won't even look at something distributed on -R.

In particular has anyone used Amazon marketplace to distribute a film?
Not to hijack the thread, but I have a similar question along the same lines. Is there anyone who offers a service for DVDs like PrintMojo does for screen printing. Essentially its not print on demand, but instead you pay upfront for bulk printing (at bulk print prices), but they warehouse and ship for a fulfillment fee.

I'd like something like that for DVDs...something where I pay the upfront cost to print 1000 for a reasonable price, but they can still handle the warehouse and shipping. Anyone know of such a service? I think that sort of thing could fit Jason's needs based on his question as well.
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Old August 15th, 2006, 05:55 PM   #7
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http://www.abetdisc.com/dvd.html
http://www.gmpdvd.com/
http://www.discmakers.com/film/products/d100.asp

This website seems to be mostly what you're looking for:
http://www.customflix.com/
Also this might help before you send out your master to the replication company:
http://www.customflix.com/Producer/Top10Nightmares.jsp
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Old August 16th, 2006, 03:08 PM   #8
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Ben, I think "customflix" is exactly what I'm looking for, thanks for the lead!

Has anyone here worked with them before?
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Old August 19th, 2006, 09:30 AM   #9
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CustomFlix is owned by Amazon, which means it's listed there (mine is). Plus, you can put extras on, design the cover, menus, etc., unlike IndieFlix (which I also have my film at).

Buy this book by Mark Steven Bosko, though, to help out with your promotion:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/094...lance&n=283155

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Old August 21st, 2006, 10:16 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heath McKnight
Buy this book by Mark Steven Bosko, though, to help out with your promotion:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/094...lance&n=283155

heath
...already on my "wish list"...
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Old August 27th, 2006, 11:26 AM   #11
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We were contacted by an individual whose specialty is independent distribution. After reading her book, The Insider's Guide to Film Distribution, and contacting a number of her sources, she checks out and we've invited her to appear on 2nd-Unit.tv to discuss independent distribution. You might want to contact her as well. Her book is a very good read as well and surprisingly accurate.

[Moderator's note: I deleted her email just in case she doesn't want unsolicited mail.]
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Old August 27th, 2006, 11:46 AM   #12
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I think each film will have it's own successful 'path' dependent on two things: Subject matter, and quality.

You don't mention what the subject matter for your documentary is. For my own part, I have had a successfull 'run' with my documentary "American Jouster". But my path may not be yours. After completing the doc, I started sending it out to film festivals. I also sent it out to some distributors. I got one distributor interested in distribution, and they sent me their contract. Frankly, I didn't like the arrangement so I passed on their offer.

MEANWHILE I made the decision to replicate a thousand copies. I went through PACIFIC DISC and got a great deal. Very happy with them. For your reference, a stack of 1000 DVD's is about as big as a refrigerator. So yeah, they were sitting in two closets at home. (They came in cases of three boxes each, each box containing 30 DVD's)

MEANWHILE I sent a screener to some specific cable outlets to see if anyone would bite. (No one has yet)

MEANWHILE, I sent the doc to some people who I thought MIGHT be interested in carrying it. In particular, an outfit called MUSEUM REPLICAS. As it happens, they are the largest wholesale/retailer of medieaval swords and costuming. They carried DVD's in their catalogue in the past, and it seemed a likely seller. BINGO. They wanted to carry it in their catalogue, which has a circulation of over a MILLION copies. They only ordered a small ammount UPFRONT, but immediately started ordering more and more as orders came in. So I had the marketing staff of a HUGE corporation and the circulation of NUMEROUS issues of their catalogue behind my product.

MEANWHILE the doc started to show up on the festival circuit... premereing at the Breckenridge Festival of Film in Colorado, winning a Gold Remi Award at Worldfest Houston... these things help to generate more interest.

MEANWHILE I set up my own website to sell direct to the public. PLEASE NOTE my arrangement with Museum Reps was NON exclusive. You can visit my website at www.americanjouster.com

MEANWHILE I sell them occasionally on Ebay as well.

MEANWHILE I have sent it off to the Documentary Channel for consideration. Waiting to hear back from them.


My point is... I tried a number of avenues SIMULTANEOUSLY to self distribute and pay for the doc. My primary goal, was to recoup the production costs, figuring since it was a 'labor of love' that that alone would be a huge accomplishment. I have done that and better.

Perhaps there is some distributor who would be willing to carry and distribute your doc? I can see a company that sells sporting goods, might sell an extreme sports doc. Maybe a doc on the environment could be sold/distributed by The Sierra Club. You see the connection? I think this kind of marketing/distribution deal is a good way to recoup your costs, and get the doc scene by your specific market.

Ask yourself what your goal is. Is it an 'issue doc' that you simply want seen by the most ammount of people? Maybe you can get a non profit to front the replication costs, in exchange for them getting to hand out the doc for free at their centers or rallies... Catch my drift?
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Old August 27th, 2006, 12:14 PM   #13
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Jonathan,

Can you provide a link to her book? I couldn't find it anywhere. Also note, the moderators removed her email in case she doesn't want it publicly posted.

Thanks,

heath
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Old August 27th, 2006, 02:37 PM   #14
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Can someone mention a guess at a price for printing and making a 1000 dvd's of your own project by such a company?
Thanks,
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Old August 27th, 2006, 02:40 PM   #15
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Negotiation is the key. I called around to several companies, and got different quotes... though very close together. Sometimes, one would charge more for a particular aspect, than the other. You can easily go to their websites and see their listed prices. The more you order, the cheaper they get. BUT you can negotiate a bit, like I said.

( I just went to Pacific Discs website and their 'best' value DVD packaging deal, including the cases, and shrinkwrap is $1.79 per DVD. That's an order of 1,000... doesn't include shipping.)
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