May 12, 2020 at 6:18AM
The most efficient moneymaker for indie film-makers might take you by surprise – DVD extra features.
Making money back on indie movies takes a hell of a lot of work and when you add up the huge amount of time you have spent on a film, it can be a pretty low return financially, even if it does quite well.
What has been the greatest earner for me, relative to time on my films has been the extra-features I’ve created for my DVD releases. I’ve added about 27-hours of high-value extras on the special editions of my last 4 DVD releases and it probably took me a total of 3-4 weeks of work combined to create them all. But when I add up the extra direct revenue I’ve seen back from the premium of those special editions compared to the standard editions, it will ultimately net me at least $100,000 extra. Not bad for 3-4 weeks work, especially compared to how small the return is from the huge amount of work making and marketing the movies themselves. In addition to that, it creates more DVD buyers too. Especially if you’ve had a pretty wide theatrical release like my last movie, and folks that saw it on the big screen are deciding whether to buy it on DVD and see it again or spend more on it on DVD rather than streaming it for less. I direct sell my DVD’s so other than a small PayPal fee, the rest comes to me.
My last feature Neither Wolf Nor Dog was self-distributed into hundreds of US cinemas, and sometimes was the number one film that week in multi-plexes even though it was made with an average crew of 2, and it had the longest first-run theatrical release of any movie in the US in over a decade. I cover every stage of indie film-making imaginable in my upcoming Ultimate Indie Film Masterclass. Look it up on Kickstarter if you want to find out more.