GOING BIONIC: DISTRIBUTING INDEPENDENT FILMS INTERNATIONALLY – THE ART OF SUBMISSION – PART 2 – FILMS

Welcome to Going Bionic #174. I hope you’re having a good start to your week. I’m getting geared up for college football to start, and more specifically, I’m excited to go see my beloved UCLA Bruins kick off their season at the Rose Bowl on Saturday. To my regular readers out there, you’ll never know how much I appreciate your continued support. Furthermore, for those of you who are lending me your eyes for the first time, I truly thank you for giving Going Bionic a look.  As always, my intention here is to give you tidbits that will either help make you, or save you, one hell of a lot of money.

On that note, let’s finish what we started last week, when we discussed submission strategies for screenplays.  Today, as promised last week, we’re discussing five strategies on how to submit completed feature films to the powers that be (studios and/or talent agencies). So, without further ado, here are a handful of strategies that will help your project in its effort to reach its full financial potential.

Utilize Social Media In The Earliest Stages of Your Project
One of your most lethal weapons as a filmmaker is your ability to utilize the Internet as a marketing tool. Hell, it’s not even fair to call the Internet a “tool,” because that’s like calling all of the oceans and seas on the planet a “cup of water.” Since your project’s online presence can significantly enhance its value, it’s vital to build that presence in the earliest of stages.

Thus, once you’re funded (or before if you’re confident you will get funded), you should create a Twitter and Facebook account. Blast out tweets and Facebook updates early and often and keep it going through production. Remember, a studio or international distributor will always choose a film with a substantial online presence over a film without one.

Twitter Based Casting
While this suggestion may seem crazy, it is a great idea to consider the Twitter presence of the actors you want to cast. The actor’s financial value, and the success of their previous films are the most important factors while considering whom to cast. However, actors who are active on Twitter can wrangle several hundred thousand to several million followers for your film. Thus, if your cast is willing to tweet about your film, you could capture a few million followers, just from who you cast.

Never Mention Your Budget (If It’s Low) Publically
Bragging about how little money you needed to make your film will hurt you more than help. This is because the lower your budget, the higher risk studios see you as, (when considering you for a future project). Simply put, nobody wants to give you the keys to their kingdom, if they think all you’ve lived in before was a shack the three little pigs could blow down.

Secondly, if you’re looking to sell your film to a distributor outright, stating how low your budget was in a public forum will entice the distributor to pay as little as possible for your film. Unless you win one of the world’s most bad-ass film festivals, (Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, Sundance, Venice), or become a social phenomenon and/or cult classic, distributors will only pay as little as they feel they have to, in order to acquire your film.

Never Submit a Rough Cut
Most filmmakers make this mistake at least once during their career. I know I did. The key here is to remember that first impressions are first impressions, because they are first impressions. Thus, you only have once chance to show how amazing your film can be, so don’t blow it on a rough cut with temp track music and fleeting sound. Your film deserves better.

Don’t Exaggerate Distributor Interest In Your Film
While I know it’s exciting to have your film considered by an acquisitions executive at a studio, it’s probably not a good idea to exaggerate how interested they are in your film when you’re talking to one of their competitors (unless of course you are in the midst of an actual bidder war between two or more multibillion dollar entities).  If you tell one distributor how hot another one is for your film, they will either a) know you are lying because if another distributor wanted your film as much as you claim, they would have already bought it, or b) simply call the other distributor to inquire about how “hot” they actually are for your film.

Furthermore, the most important thing to remember about submitting your film to an acquisitions executive is that just having your film considered by them does not mean they are interested in acquiring it. Remember, it’s their job to watch films, so unless or until they notify you they are actually interested n picking up your film; they are just doing their job.

Okay friends, old and new, I’d like to thank you once again for lending me your eyes. I wish you all a great rest of the week, and I invite all of you to come back next Tuesday, when we celebrate out 175th edition. Until then, have a good one! I can be followed on Twitter @Lonelyseal.




Posted on August 27, 2013 in Features, Going Bionic by
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