View Full Version : SDMB filmmakers: How do we find a distributor?

Johnny L.A.
10-28-2005, 07:12 PM
I was going to wait until the film is done before asking this, but the situation has become a bit dynamic.

How do we find a distributor?

10-28-2005, 08:03 PM
How do we find a distributor?Have you checked with AutoZone or Pep Boys? Or you might try the dealer, though you'll probably pay more. As a last resort, try a junk yard.

10-28-2005, 08:27 PM
Getting the film into as many film festivals as possible is really the best way to be seen by distributors looking for content to buy, and probably the cheapest way, too.

There's also something like the American Film Market (http://www.ifta-online.org/afm/home.asp), held yearly in Santa Monica (right around the corner from the Ye Olde Kings Head Pub! :) ). As the name implies, not a festival, but a market. Meaning, I believe, you don't have to be accepted to be shown; you just pay money (I'm pretty sure this is how it works; but while I've been to screenings there, I've never participated with a film myself). AFM is HUGE. Distributers come from all over the world looking to buy content.

A third way is to hire a publicist who specializes in this kind of thing. We hired one for our short film years ago, and it paid off in spades. Okay, maybe not spades, but it was definitely worth the money we spent.

Yet another way is to purchase the Hollywood Distributors Directory (http://shop.hcdonline.com/merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=hcd&Product_Code=DDBK0&Category_Code=Books), find all the distributors who sound like they might be interested what you're making, and either set up screenings for them or send them tapes. This, as you can imagine, is a bit of a crapshoot, but you never know.

In any case, as I'm sure you can imagine, it's not an easy process. Unless you're talking about finding a distributor before you even shoot the film. In which case, it's REALLY not an easy process!

Good luck!

10-28-2005, 08:31 PM
Have you checked with AutoZone or Pep Boys? Or you might try the dealer, though you'll probably pay more. As a last resort, try a junk yard.

The corrext relpy would have been "follow the spark plug wires," IMO.

As far as the real question goes, I can only say that I knew some RIT film students who put togethe a film, and the distribution part is the hardest. They did get to meet with a distributor, although he declined to distribute the film. They spoke to the manager of an independent theater, who happened to be a regular at film festivals in the Northeast (he did a lot of the buying). I don't know if you have anyone like that you could turn to, but that is one way to get a neeting. After that, it's up to you. Good luck.

Johnny L.A.
10-28-2005, 09:20 PM
Thanks, Anamorphic.

I mentioned the situation is dynamic. Here's the deal: As I mentioned in the Café thread, one of our actors is a partner in a company that has a huge following. A large part of their business is selling DVDs of their programme. (We make their videos and send them a master, and they duplicate them and sell them.) They have asked to distribute the film. This is a good thing because of their current customers I've already mentioned. They have deep roots in the martial arts community. They have the potential to sell thousands of copies.

But how would this affect sales to a 'real' distributor? The distributors who sell to Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, et al? On one hand, the film would be marketed to a niche segment. They might be impressed by the sales and decide they want a piece of the pie. OTOH, they might say that too many copies had been sold and decide the pie has been eaten. Going through the martial arts guys may well sell more copies than a Video Distributor would. And we'd get a better percentage, since we could give the guys a small percentage of the sales and keep the rest. The Video Distributors have the wherewithal to actually get the DVDs onto store shelves. But from what I've heard we'd be very, very fortunate to get 20%. Counting embrionic domestic fowl here, it seems like it may be a case of money vs. exposure.

Unless the Video Distributors would allow us to distribute to our niche market (e.g., we would be allowed to sell copies through martial arts magazines, the studio's website, and the other guy's website) while they market everywhere else.

Anyway, thanks again for the information. I'll forward it to the producer and the director.

Johnny L.A.
10-28-2005, 09:28 PM
PS to Anamorphic: That skateboard dolly I made is working brilliantly! We're using it more than the American Grip doorway dolly.

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