Film Distribution Process Explained: Rights and the Strategy

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Film distribution is a process which involves making the film available to the audience and also marketing it. The task is usually managed by the film distributor company, which decides the marketing strategy, the medium, release date, and a lot more.

The film distribution process in the most important part after post production. Nowadays people have many choices, they can either watch a movie in the theater or can download or buy the movie and watch it at home or on mobile devices. 

And now, there are even specialized companies for digital film distribution, wherein the data shows that people tend to watch the movies that come under the “New Release” section and that boost up the sales by people from their home. 

In this, the good part is that one can purchase or watch your movie at many places simultaneously, but at the same time, you will not be able to make much money out of it. So now, let’s discuss ways of how to go with the film distribution process. 

Also Read: 8 Best Ways to Sell Your Screenplay

DIFFERENT WAYS TO DISTRIBUTE FILMS

First and foremost, always remember that you should start planning about the film distribution at an early stage (pre-production stage). This will help you in indicating if your film will have a shot at gaining popularity or not. 

Also, it will keep you updated on the costs, like legal fees or insurance fees, and you will be well prepared for the future. 

You should start the film distribution process by looking at the prices distributors are offering to do your work. Keep a check of what genre is popular in the market and read the trades. Or if you are planning to make an independent film, where are you planning to screen it? 

But be aware that trends change. If you make a movie on a particular trend and till the time you get done with it, the trend changes, you will be at a loss, or no one will watch the film enthusiastically. 

So don’t rush for the trend, focus on keeping some quality content that always sells. 

An important part of the film distribution process is casting. If the cast of the film is well known, the more people will be curious to watch it. For independent filmmakers, this can be a problem due to budget constraints. Hence, they should opt for a known person and a damn good story. 

Social media is a boon for the film distribution process. You can outstand your project and reach the audience with ease through Facebook, Instagram, YouTube. Market your film on social media through snippets, videos on the latest trend, or launching a trailer/ teaser. 

You will have to think out of the box of why someone would want to watch your movie, and with those creative ideas, you promote it on social media. Though, distributors know how to do this. 

Also Read : 7 Important Things that Every Screenwriter Should Have in 2021

EXPENSES IN FILM DISTRIBUTION

It is understood that movies cost an unbelievable amount of money to distribute conventionally. You can’t just approach a big distributor and show them your film. You need to approach a sales agent, and he takes a cut out of all income generated from the movie. 

Your money is invested every minute, starting from the paper, screening tests, movie trailers/teasers, advertising, and then marketing. So, the harsh truth is that, in the film industry, money disappears into thin air. 

You can also use crowdfunding platforms and by attempting to take fundings from producers that will help you in bringing your media file to larger audiences. These platforms are of huge advantage because they promise advanced screenings. 

In crowdfunding, it’s all about what kind of people you’re bringing on board. Everyone should act as a team and work on the film as “ours” and not “yours”. This will help in the expansion of the campaign. 

Financing does attract distribution attention. These are like coupons for distributors and which help reduce risk distribution.

FILM DISTRIBUTION RIGHTS

Film distribution is nothing other than marketing of the film. There are film dedicated companies which only distribute films. They are not at all involved in the film production process. 

Whether the film turns out to be successful or not, studios or producers have to pay a flat fee to distributors.

It is the work of the distributor to work on numerous platforms and theatre chains to make your film available for the audience. 

There are many types of agreements for the film distribution process and it’s your work to choose the right agreement for your movie. Always make sure that you talk about the deliverables with the distributor.

Deliverables do not include the media files but includes paperwork, legal documents, trailers, photographs, and a lot more. 

Distributors are not the one who has a connection with your film, you have. You will have to make sure that they are focused on doing their work and are ardent in promoting your film. 

Because in the end, you are the one who will enjoy the turnover from the distribution. 

Also Read: The Impact of Films on Society and Their Importance

FILM DISTRIBUTION STRATEGIES

The best way is to make a deal with the production management. It then becomes the studio’s lookout to distribute your film to the masses.  

There are so many strategies for this. Filmmakers and studios hire agencies with expertise in negotiating deals with other studios and distributors across the globe.

You can use a production management software like StudioBinder to manage the process if you are an independent filmmaker. Filmhub is a wonderful website for such information.

Another way is visiting film festivals. At these film festivals, you can go through their circuit and start researching which festival suits your film best. But this doesn’t mean that you will have to sideline the other fests. 

Try reaching out to every fest, but focus on the top-tiers. Ask them to premiere your film and then wait for the response. Make sure you invite people you know (like the ones in media agencies and marketing firms) and there are people during your screening. 

You can also hire sales agents. Their work is to get your film seen by the movie distributors. 

If a manager is assisting in your work, it will get organized and easy for you. The sales manager can get celebrities on board to promote and sell the finished film. But remember, sales agents ask for higher pay as compared to others.

Also Read : Screenwriting: Top 8 Script Coverage Services in the World

Conclusion

If you are putting so much effort into creating a masterpiece, it’s essential to have a film distribution process from the beginning. You should have an answer to all your questions related to the distribution, either by yourself or with the help of a film distributor. 

Remember to keep a check on the deliverables, if you choose a film distributor for your movie marketing. And lastly, keep a detailed and organized record of everything. 

All the best for your film!

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filmmaking, films

About the Author

Sarang Padhye

Being an avid film buff and a content marketer, I started this blog to provide the best information on screenwriting and filmmaking. Screenplays is certainly where it all begins. However, I also provide writing and advertising tips regularly through my articles.

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