Art & Entertaiment


Movie Distribution Marketing Fees and Independent Filmmakers Make Love or War

Movie Distribution Marketing Fees and Independent Filmmakers Make Love or War

Movie distribution marketing fees and independent filmmakers make love or war. Through social networking with filmmakers online and meeting up with friends in the business to share war stories at a pub, film distribution money is always a hot topic about making movies. Studio films with Hollywood stars spend tens of millions of dollars to market the release of a movie. That is entirely different than what happens in the independent film scene.

One indie filmmaker Princeton Holt I thought expressed it well, “Indie film distribution is like having kids. Great idea, but maybe not for everyone. It happens to work for us, but we still fight.” Movie distribution companies that cater to releasing indie movies do not run commercials, radio spots, or invest money in an aggressive online SEO marketing campaign to connect with viewers.

The likely scenario is they create an 8.5 x 11 artwork one-sheet poster that is sent out to their movie buyers like a Blockbuster. They add a thumbnail of the one-sheet, movie synopsis, director and main cast credits, and film trailer to their website. The movie distribution company will attend different film sales markets where your movie might or might not have a full size poster displayed at their booth or suite. There is always a catalog for film buyers to browse that contains all artwork one-sheets of titles they have.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this if they do not overcharge to make sure you never make money. A majority of indie produced films do not have name stars that domestic and foreign film buyers know. Reading emails and talking to friends that have felt they have been burned by a greedy film distributor boils down to not making money from their movie. When the film royalty statement arrives they are shocked at how much in movie distribution marketing fees they are being charged.

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One filmmaker shared with me that they were being charged a flat $50,000 marketing fee on an indie release. In some cases there is not a cap on movie distribution marketing fees, which makes it impossible for an indie film to ever get out the red and the producer to be paid. This can be avoided by savvy filmmakers that either have an entertainment attorney, film sales agent, or take the time to educate themselves about what “so-called standard movie distribution agreements” are. I personally think the standard movie distribution agreement is BS.

Every deal is different depending on the quality of the movie and what contract terms can be negotiated. Through working with entertainment attorneys and sales agents I have learned how to hammer down movie distribution marketing fees diplomatically. When I read contracts I have educated myself enough to be able to zero on financially critical deal points that have to be changed in order for me as an independent producer to continue to make money from movies and reality programs. I have learned the distribution business through good and bad experiences.

Self-distribution is cool, but does not have to be your only option. Landing traditional distribution through a reputable film distributor will pay you much more money if your deal points are right than limited self-distribution. Not every movie distributor is out to screw you and good ones understand producers should be paid fairly or they will stop getting films and go out of business.

The film distributors out to prey on first time filmmakers you should flush down the toilet without thinking twice. If your movie is entertaining you will make money as long as you know the deal points to look for. Without writers, producers, actors, directors, and producers distribution companies have no product to sell. This is indie filmmaker Sid Kali typing FADE OUT

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