GOING BIONIC: DISTRIBUTING INDEPENDENT FILMS INTERNATIONALLY – READER Q&A: INDIE FILM PRE-SALES AND MORE

Hey, everyone. I hope you had a great week. I recently noticed that I hadn’t had a “Reader Q&A” installment in awhile, so that’s what we’re doing today. Thus, without further ado, let’s roll into some of your questions, and some of my answers.

Why are pre-sales still called “pre-sales” when most of them don’t pay up front anymore?
That’s a great question. To clarify this conundrum, we must state that pre-sales for films with an A-list cast are still alive and well. In those cases, producers can have a bank extend a loan against them. However, the bank will discount the pre-sale (meaning if it’s worth $4 million, they may only extend a loan of $2 million), and the company offering the pre-sale has to be strong enough for the bank to accept their presale guarantee.

Pre-sales with indie films are a whole different enchilada. At best indie pre-sales can get 10%-20% of their value paid upfront by the company offering the presale, with the remaining 80%-90% to be paid upon final delivery of the film. Furthermore, it’s far more likely that no advance payment will be offered. Thus, indie pre-sales are actually “promises to buy the film” when it’s finished. While they don’t put money in your bank account during production, indie pre-sales go a long way to entice investors to fund your film.

How do I increase my chances to get crowd funding money?
Crowd funding, like all investment programs that rely on public acceptance, lives and dies on how much (or little) people are drawn to your film. Thus, here are a few things you can do to help get your film noticed in the sea of celluloid:

  1. Have a strong title that draws people to learning more.
  2. Keep your pitch clear, concise and well crafted.
  3. Make sure you come off more engaging than desperate.

Crowd funding is a viable way to raise money, if your project deserves to get funded. What I mean is that if a bunch of strangers fund your film, then it may be safe to assume that a bunch of other strangers will pay to watch your film.

It is really worth hiring a sales agent for a small film, or will I make more money selling my film on my own?
Well, before you can accurately answer this question for yourself, you should first answer the following question: what’s more important to you, money or perception? While you might make about the same money selling your DVDs on your own, (once you take your sales agent’s fees into account), your perception won’t be anywhere near where it would be if your sales agent sold your film to several territories. Simply put, “the powers that be” will be far more impressed with your film selling to eleven countries through a sales agent, than they would with hearing you tell them about how many DVDs you sold on your own. Remember, people can verify how many countries your sales agent sold your film to, but nobody will believe how much money you made selling your film on your own – even if you offer to show them proof. Thus, like I stated earlier in this paragraph, it all depends on what you value more, money or perception.

Are DVDs really dead?
In a word, yes. In more than one word, if DVDs are not dead yet, they’ve certainly checked into hospice and are trying to live out their last few days pain-free. In other words, VOD is here to stay, and DVDs will soon be buried in the technology graveyard right next to their ancestors, VHS tapes.

Let’s say you were about to be executed, and you could only watch three films before your last breath was taken from you. What would those three films be?
Wow. What an odd question. What if I were being executed? Really? I highly doubt that will ever happen, because a) I’ve never been arrested and b) I haven’t even gotten a ticket since I was a screener for Sundance in 2005. However, if I were about to die a gruesome death, then the last three films I’d ever watch, in order that I’d watch them, are The Blues Brothers (1980), The Graduate (1967), and the video of my beloved twin daughters Zoe and Lena being born (2011).

Okay, filmmakers, creators and budding cinematic forces, that’s what I have foe you today. I thank you for lending me your eyes, and I look forward to borrowing them again next Tuesday. Until then, have a great week. I can be followed on Twitter @Lonelyseal.




Posted on March 12, 2013 in Features, Going Bionic by
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