Thursday, August 1, 2013

Thinking About Distribution, Part1

Unless you plan on giving your digital feature film away then you need to think about distribution before you start to shoot it.

First thing that you need to consider in Length. Aim for at least 80 minutes of screen time for a feature. I know that many say that you have to go 90 plus minutes, but that is not a hard and fast rule. Evil Dead 3, Armies of Darkness comes in around 78 minutes. Anything over eighty minutes is good. I saw a very good German horror film at 61 minutes, but that is a one in a million shot. If you are under forty minutes think about Anthology. Do a Grindhouse or a VHS type of film. If you cannot produce more than one film see if you can then partner up with another film maker who has a film of similar length and genre that would combine to form something longer than 80 minutes. If you go over two and a half hours I would suggest breaking it into two parts or editing down. Micro budget epics are rare.

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 Next think about Genre.

Some Genres are easier to market than others. Horror, Thrillers, Action are easy to market. Comedy and straight drama without a named Star is hard to market. I have seen some great comedies that find absolutely no audience whatsoever. If you are going to do a drama or comedy then you are going to have to start the marketing well before the feature is finished. You are going to have to market the stars and perhaps even yourself months in advance of any release. You will need clips and behind the scene’s footage. You are going to have to go out and find the reviewers and sites that are respected in your chosen Genre and get them to review your work. (Note this works for all other genres as well.)

You should also hold back part of your budget for advertising and distribution cost. Gone are the days of needed to pay for hard film copies of your work, but Dvds cost money to produce. Media packages cost money. Festivals cost money. Press release services and those that can aid you with social media cost money.

 Social media and social marketing are going to be a very important part of your distribution plan. The more that you learn to do for yourself the greater share of the return on investment that you will see. The next post will be about different distribution companies for hire and the idea to use Crowdfunding as a distribution avenue.


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