March 24, 2015
SXSW 2015

23 Hacks That Will Help You Plan Your Film's Release

Windowing, DCP creation, pre-sales -- planning your film's release can be mind boggling with all the details involved. And with trends and technology changing every year, how do you know if you're doing everything right?

In the SXSW 2015 session Hacking Technology For Your Indie Film Release, panelists James Franklin (Founder, Assemble.me), Joseph Beyer and Chris Horton (Directors of Digital Initiatives, Sundance Institute) sat down to give a list of the top 23 hacks they could think of to help you. Below are a few highlights that No Film School picked up at the panel.

Hack #1: Schedule pre-order windows

From Paul O'Neill, Premiere Digital:

Offering a Pre-Order window (even if only off your own website) is the best way to capitalize on festival chatter and press reviews. It will put your film on the radar of the retailer marketing departments and will help to make the case for promotion.

Even at the film festival stage, this is something you should start thinking about. For some films, or until deals take off, this can be the only bacon you bring in all year!

Hack #5: Upload final DCP-formatted trailers on Dropbox or G Drive

From Toby Leonard, Belcourt Theatre:

USB flash drives are the independent exhibitor’s wasteful equivalent of the K cup for coffee drinkers. Upload final DCP-formatted trailers on Dropbox or G Drive and give us the option to download them instead. Your trailer can be on screen that night.

Hack #10: Be frugal

From Joseph Beyer, Sundance Institute Staffer and Owner of 121 “Primer” Posters in His Garage:

You will likely not need more than 250 theatrical one-sheet posters for a national run, and let's face it -- you'll still end up with an extra stack in your garage. Be frugal. Don’t go nuts.

Sure, sure, you can get a discount on the more postcards you order, but how many do you really need?

Hack # 12: Don't worry about print ads

From Mike Keegan, San Francisco Creative Manager, Alamo Drafthouse: "Digital ad buys are way cheaper and you can track your ROI (return-on-investment) very specifically."


To see all 23 of these extremely useful hacks, head over to #ArtistServices 23 Hacks For Your Indie Film Release. If you are currently, or soon-to-be releasing your film, this is a must read!

Do you have any hacks you've learned recently about releasing an independent film?     

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