Post Production and distribution

Most consider postproduction a time for editing. It is also time to focus on making deliverables so you can shop your film around. Potential distributors will require these before considering your film. Unless all these items are present, distributors will refrain from paying you. Save yourself time in the future and do the following during post-production.

Hearing is obviously one of the most important senses needed in film. A Music and Effects (M&E) track will prove this. This disc will provide distributors with sound mix without dialogue. It can be costly but when a distributor requires this disc to make dubbed version of your film, you will save time and money having already done it during the editing phase. Not to mention that during the time you waste making one, you may be dropped by your distributor.

The editing process is also an important time to add music to the film. Remember: you need clearances from the artist/label for any music you use. Know the music you want (or at least the type of artists you will use) before postproduction so you budget enough money for music clearances. This amount can change depending on who the artist/label is.

A distributor assumes that music is already cleared. You can do this several ways. One is to hire a music clearance professional. They will know their way around the business (and legal requirements) but again, this may be too much money for your budget. You can also hire a music supervisor who can work with your music from beginning to end but this costs money, too. However, with the rising popularity of soundtracks, it may be worth the investment to have a professional fit your movie with the perfect music. You may also consider selling the soundtrack rights to record labels.

You will need masters of your film and they should be nothing less than perfect. Have a lab run them through a Quality Control (QC) test to make sure. These masters should be with either Digibeta or HD. When you get a distribution deal, they will run your master through a QC process. If it doesn’t pass, you may lose your chance with a distributor. If you run your own test, you have the time to fix it and show the report to the distributor.

Don’t forget the importance of a photograph! This is something you should have done during production and use your postproduction phase to pick the best ones. A CD-ROM or DVD is typically accepted.

Producer Buzz McLaughlin offered a few tips on deliverables: above all else, he stresses the importance of planning for deliverables that seem so distant when in the preproduction and production stage. But he offers warning of the problems that arise from oversight of these key deliverables. He also stresses the amazing effect of hiring a professional to help you with these deliverables. With these in mind, starting making your deliverable package now!