Every year thousands of sales agents and distributors meet at the American Film Market in Santa Monica to make movie deals.
But as the sands of distribution rapidly shift, many filmmakers are getting the short end of the stick with out-dated distribution deals. How can you avoid the typical pitfalls of deal-making at one of the biggest film markets in the world? Jason Brubaker of Filmmaking Stuff has written a guide with useful information for hopefuls, first-time, and veteran filmmakers alike.
Not familiar with AFM? Allow this corny video to get you privy:
Video is no longer available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=CT262cwfNMc
The majority of modern distribution deals DO NOT pay much money.
Traditional distribution is murky territory for most filmmakers these days because, well, most filmmakers these days haven't been doing it very long. Many of us started in a post-2008 landscape (or the post-5D Mark II landscape) and during this time the distribution world has been flipped on its head. As I just experienced releasing my first feature online, distribution isn't easy — no matter what side of the industry you come from. Traditional theatrical deals are still best for some, but online is clearly the future.
Jason offers his perspective in a well-written blog post, using fun and colorful phrases like "a painful bout of distribution chlamydia" and "I couldn’t help but puke a little bit more in my mouth." It's a good read, really. If you have a few minutes, check it out. if not, here's a snapshot.
Jason Brubaker's 5 Tips for Navigating AFM:
- Have an objective. Create a list of people you want to meet, and why.
- Refine your pitch and make sure it sounds interesting.
- Only pitch your movie to people looking for your type of movie.
- Have a nice business card. But don’t give it out unless someone is interested in your pitch.
- Don’t do a deal without due diligence. This helps you avoid the bottom feeders.
Jason is out there fighting the good fight in terms of empowering filmmakers with knowledge. Head over to Filmmaking Stuff to check out all the other resources he has for filmmakers looking to distribute their film. He is an active speaker in the distribution space and also does live Webinars on selling your movie.
AFM takes place from November 5th-12th in Santa Monica, California. Will you be attending? Share your own strategies and experiences from AFM in the comments below.