You will probably know that Jon is the biggest voice in our ‘Distribution in 2010’ workshop at the beginning of May. He has kindly offered to start writing tips for us EVERY DAY! Blimey! Top fella! So over to Jon…
Many of you might know me from the book that I have written recently, Think Outside the Box Office (TOTBO for short). The primary reason that I wrote it was to share what I had learned while distributing my film Bomb It with other filmmakers so they could learn from my successes and mistakes. In the continuation of that mission I am launching two more initiatives – both in support of how people want to interact with this information. The first is a series of workshops around the world. It seems that the live experience is as important as the written word in imparting this information for many people. We are starting with London on May 8/9, Amsterdam on the 12/13, New York on June 5, Vancouver on June 12/13, San Francisco July 31/Aug1 with more being lined up.
The second initiative is the launching of a TOTBO (Think Outside The Box Office) Tip of the Day. This will soon be joined by Resource of the Day. In these tips, I will give not only a sense of what’s in the book and workshop, but they will be a forum to convey new tips to you as I learn them.
Jon Reiss’ TOTBO Tip of the Day – Every Film is Different
Each film is unique and requires its own individual distribution and marketing strategy. A comedy about stoners will not have the same audience as a documentary about Aids orphans in Tanzania. Similarly each filmmaker has a different set of goals, needs, and resources. While the studio one size fits all model worked well for some independent films over the last 20 years – it was a disaster for others. With the new hybrid model of distribution you can craft a distribution and marketing strategy that makes the most sense for your film. You have a unique vision. Use that vision to engage your audience in a unique manner. This will help separate you from the media noise that surrounds us every day.
Know Your Goals
I cannot stress this enough. I cannot repeat this enough. There are multiple goals that you can strive for in the release of your film. You must prioritize what is most important to you. I categorize the goals for the distribution and marketing of your film into the following five (with a sub goal number 6):
2. Career launch, help for your next project, fame.
3. Audience / eyeballs to see the film
4. To have an impact on the world
5. A long term sustainable connection with a fan base.
6. A green release.
Choices that you make in service of one goal will often sacrifice another goal. For instance releasing your film for free on the internet might get you the most eyeballs, but it won’t help you monetize the film.
You must make sure that everyone on your team is on the same page and don’t have conflicting goals. At the Slamdance Filmmaker Summit, I gave homework to two sets of filmmakers with whom I did a live speed consult*. While Hunter Weeks, a very savvy filmmaker, had known for some time his goal for his current film Ride the Divide was to help him get another film made, what he didn’t know until that night was his goal was different from his producer Mike Dion which was to make money to return the investment for his investors. These goals are two that are traditionally in direct conflict (career launch normally associated with some form of traditional theatrical which in turn is usually a money drain).
What do you think?
* I had so much fun doing these speed consults that they have become an integral part of nearly all of the workshops I conduct. The first day of the workshops is a presentation of the principles of the new techniques of distribution and marketing from a very practical perspective. The second day is primarily limited to 20 films/projects and I do 20-30 minutes speed consult on each – with all the other teams present so that they can learn from each other.
Thanks Jon, and we look forward to more tips. Remember, our workshop is fast approaching… Check it out here.
Onwards and upwards!