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Old 01-21-2005, 03:35 AM   #16
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Yes, they will definitely push into festivals once its completed- it will add "cache" and help with their marketing since they pride themselves as only buying films that run in the top ten festivals.

I see where you guys are coming from- and I'm leaning towards just going for it. I'll keep you posted on the news
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Old 01-24-2005, 03:59 PM   #17
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Here are a few devil's advocate thoughts which come to mind, and are not meant ill of the distributor in question. The distributor of whom you speak may may be great. Still, some rules of thumb to watch out for generally:

1, They need to provide some kind of discolsure to you on the net/gross numbers in writing specific to your film (this is different from them disclosing proprietary business operations which may keep them ahead of the competition). You can't just "take their word for it" on how much your film makes, unless you just want to get the film out of the way and move on. But do know there is a whole world of unpleasant people out there prepared to spit in your eye as not if you find the reality isn't the same as the promise and call them on it. Taking a gamble on this part of things is really only acceptable in my mind if your expecations are so low that disappointment is a near-impossibility if they tell you the film made nothing and your contract doesn't allow you to see the records to know one way or the other.

2. Ask yourself if the advance also supplies a good salary. Also ask yourself if its enough to buy off any disappointment if they tell you the film only made 25 cents.

3. Do they hold exclusive rights to the film? If so, for how long? They seem to want to hold fast to the product to use that to build their business. There is nothing wrong in that, and there may be some very right things in it. Still, exclusive or non-exclusive is always a biggie as you weigh the checks and balances.

4. They have 2,000 sum-odd subscribers, you say. That's great for an Indie but isn't alot of actual people. if every one pays their 16 bucks for it, you have 30 or 40 sum odd thousand from the film, which may be in perpetuity if they hold the exclusive rights forever, so also ask for how LONG they hold the rights. That's whatever your share of the 30 or 40 thou provided they show you the records, it seems to me. otherwise, it's whatever they decide to offer you and say it is.

5. This also requitres a call to a place like Blockbuster: how does this kind of thing effect the interest of the video chains? It may just be that they have their own perspective on this distribution method we know nothing about. Obviously your film doesn't stink or this distributor wouldn't likely be interested (unless ythe advance is so low there is essentially no gamble for them in it). Then if nothing else you know what the future may hold outside this particular distributor, and that's an important part of the long-term equation.

6. A very important one is whether you wind up hefting the charges for the limited theatrical release. many small distributors charge the film maker back-end on the costs to do the release prints and the advertising and theater rental if the film doesn't break even - according to their records - (net as opposed to gross) and has in the past left many an inspring film maker in debt for years if not decades, because 35mm release prints don't come cheap, unless the theaters in question are running off digital projectors. You should know how much they are planning to spend on the distribution and if those costs can wind up in your lap, or this could be the last film you ever can afford to make. It has happened before. So much so that FYI I even saw an expose on TV about it a few years back, so it's pretty common knowledge, not just my opinion, and unfortunately a problem which isn't too rare.

I think you should have an entertainment lawyer look over the contract even if it costs a little (I assume they have given you one to take home. IF, in the unlikely chance they say they never give out contracts and you have to sign it in their office - meaning no review of attorney - my advice would be to run, not walk, to higher ground.)

Once again, these are all hypotheticals. The distributor in question might be a terrific one and a great opportunity for you all around. I don't know anything about them, and distribution per se isn't my thing. But these are all definately some very important basics to watch out for, and shouldn't be taken lightly unless, of course, you just don't care (except for the part about having to potentially reimburse them for costs on the theatrical release, and its fair to say anyone should be concerned about that) , but it sounds like you do.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by DR_Visual_FX; 01-24-2005 at 04:10 PM.
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