Do Filmmakers Need to Think About Marketing? Leaders in Distribution Say Yes

No Film School's Direct Distribution Roundtable at Sundance 2015
Is the line between artist and entrepreneur being blurred in the digital age? What makes a film project different from a start-up? The leaders in direct-distribution weigh-in on the subject at our Sundance 2015 roundtable.

It's a question that's constantly been on my mind since going through the process of releasing my own film online: is it worth it to spend time on the distribution side once you feel all your energy has been used up completing the film? VHX, Gumroad, Yekra and Vimeo joined us at our place in Park City to answer the question, "Should we even have to think about this stuff?"

A huge thanks to Jamie Wilkinson (VHX), Ryan Delk (Gumroad), Lee Waterworth (Yekra) and Peter Gerard (Vimeo) for spending a precious Sundance afternoon with us. Stay tuned for more videos from this roundtable session.     

Your Comment

13 Comments

Uhhhhh?? Film has officially become equivalent to snap chat in our society according to the "leaders". After throwing up in my mouth, this is how i interpret this video,,,, Hey kids, don't make a film because your a filmmaker, make a film because your a entrepreneur. I cant wait to see the great films these "entrepreneurs" are making in 5 years.

February 19, 2015 at 8:35AM

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johnny film
Artist
147

Having just started my own film business, I can understand what these guys are saying. The internet is full of information for us to learn our own ways of doing things, and this is going to include the marketing side of film. The message is the most important part of the film, however if you do not market then you will have no audience. We as the filmmakers should strive to want to have that kind of control of our creation. It helps us grow as artists and helps us connect with the people watching even better than we ever could have before. If you don't put your heart and soul into every nook and cranny of our projects (this including the business side) then I do not think we have put our full effort into the project.

February 19, 2015 at 10:54AM

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Brandon Burgett
Member of TriBeam Productions
83

Much better to have a benefactor from the King's court to underwrite my unique vision and expression of the motion image, I agree. The old ways of funding artistic endeavors are much better.

BTW, does anyone know any countesses I can "influence," if youknowwhatimean? Or a land baron. I'm not proud.

February 19, 2015 at 5:13PM

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I think you totally missed the point here, Johnny Film.
I graduated from artschool, so I know a lot of artist who feel reluctant to the business side of what they do. Reality is that someone needs to put in effort to get your work out there AND seen.
Just uploading a video is more or less the equivalent of a message in a bottle throw in the ocean waiting to be found.
So, if you don't have someone doing your marketing/promotion, you'll have to do it yourself or accept that chances are big only a few people will see your movie. That's what they are saying.
You should still make moving, because you are a filmmaker.

Art and business aren't necessarely opposites.
If you make what you want to make, do what you love to do, reaching a large audience isn't selling out.

February 20, 2015 at 3:55AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
10092

what is the point of making a film if nobody sees it

you dont have to diy but you better line up distribution before you go past the initial planning

and you need to support that with sufficient advertising and promotion

February 21, 2015 at 8:31AM

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We should have more articles like this that speak to the business side of things.

February 19, 2015 at 12:23PM

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Caleb Rasak
Camera Operator / AC
376

Here, here.

February 19, 2015 at 6:11PM

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Ron Dawson
Managing Editor | Frame.io Insider
290

Won't happen. Too many techies here who like to jerk off to new camera releases. Making money on films is apparently not a priority for them.

February 21, 2015 at 3:52PM

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Great panel and information! Just today, we started rolling out the launch campaign for my 3rd documentary in a particular genre. The 1st component is a Kickstarter campaign - not so much to raise capital (although that will definitely help) its about raising awareness and creating buzz for a uniquely designed World Premiere Event. http://kck.st/1Ju9IE8
We will then strategically use probably everyone of the platforms mentioned in this panel plus some to engage and transact with our curated audience.

February 20, 2015 at 12:49PM

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The problem is time. I finish a film and I want to get right back to making a new film. My movies take 4 or 5 years to make. I don't really have time for the marketing side of things. My ideal situation: 100% effort making the film, 2 or 3 months on marketing then hand it off and move on. Problem is that your film won't get watched if you don't market it. So how do you find the time to create and still sell? I had to give up on marketing Space Trucker Bruce www.spacetruckerbruce.com (see what I did there ) because it was taking way too much time away from making my new movie. Maybe the best thing is to find a partner who likes marketing and works for free.

February 20, 2015 at 2:58PM

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Anton Doiron
Creator/Filmmaker
1017

I guess you don't expect to actually make money from your films do you?

February 21, 2015 at 3:53PM

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No I don't. There isn't any money to be made with what I do. I'm trying to come to terms with that. Not enough people watch movies on services like Vimeo On-Demand. Maybe that will change in the future.

February 25, 2015 at 2:06PM

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Anton Doiron
Creator/Filmmaker
1017

I didn't get their point...If we talk about business, bringing some concrete figures and numbers would make more sense than just throwing words around. Kinda pointless video.

February 24, 2015 at 8:54PM

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Einar Gabbassoff
D&CD at Frame One Studio
1438