Film Distribution

In a traditional distribution deal it is the distributor’s job to market the film. However, it is important that you involve yourself in marketing your film as much as possible. Unless there’s a good marketing campaign going, your film will not sell.

If you don’t go down the traditional distribution route, then you will be entirely responsible for marketing your film. Budget permitting, you could hire a person or company to do the marketing, but you’ll still need to be at the head of the operation. You can also hire a PMD (Producer of Marketing and Distribution) to look after marketing and distribution. You will want to use a mixture of platform theatrical release, social media marketing, partnerships and advertising, depending on the type of film.

Distribution is only half of the story, the rest is marketing. After your film makes it to market, it must be placed in front of the right audience; This is what marketing is for. Remember that nobody will be able to market your film as well as you do, so forget about outsourcing your marketing completely.

For the majority of films, festivals are a crucial for providing press and word of mouth, and a great stepping stone towards a distribution deal. Of course, there are many films that aren’t festival-oriented, and others which don’t play well to certain audiences, and others still that have budgets big enough that will allow them to skip the festival circuit and purchase media presence directly.

When picking festivals for your film, consider your objectives and what you’re looking to achieve by going to the festival. Are you looking to get a distributor, reviews, or word-of-mouth? If so, you will want to submit to festivals which attract buyers, press, and audiences. You also need to consider what type of festival your film is appropriate for.

Consider that some festivals may choose not to screen your film if you have screened it elsewhere, so make certain to plan ahead. Your film needs to be completely finished before submitting it to festivals. Make sure you screen the film for a group of people whom you trust and who can give you honest and informed feedback before submission.. On a final note, unless you’re confident that your film will be positively received, you might want to think twice about sending it to a festival.

Event screenings are one-offs used to generate awareness and word-of-mouth before a film opens officially, and are a great tool for many films. Rather than go for a full week run and have a handful of people each night, you might want to consider having a “one-night-only” screening and pack the theater.

Having an existing fan base can be a real asset, but the starting point must always be a great movie. You must also be able to reach the audience and give them a good reason to go watch the movie. You cannot just assume that they will come. The principles of getting the word out there are generally similar across the board but working with a small budget makes it a much tougher game to play.

Of course, thinking about marketing should never come at the expense of making a good film. Marketing is important, but a stellar film will garner stellar reviews which will really give the film the lift it needs. Good photography is also essential.