Film Independent just recently published this list of “Five Misconception of Self Distribution”. Following their list is our list of “Five Misconceptions of Traditional Distribution” as a response. Please read. Both topics are valid and we at White Hogan Pictures want to help you navigate the waters.

Five Misconception of Self Distribution (from Film Independent Blog)

1. “I have to do this myself!?”
No you don’t! Like making a movie, distributing a film is all about collaboration. Finding the right partners means everything.

2. “Selling my film to a traditional distributor would make me more money”
The windfall deals that are reported in the trades are few and far between. Many filmmakers who make rights deals on their films find the numbers disappointing and don’t see payouts beyond the initial advance. In many cases, the deals coming from traditional distributors don’t cover the negative costs of the movie they are looking to buy. But that isn’t their problem, it’s yours.

3. “There is a right way to do things”
Actually, there are a lot of avenues to take when it comes to releasing a film. With changing technology and emerging platforms there are no hard and fast rules. Figuring out what is best for your particular movie and customizing a strategy is the key.

4. “It costs a lot to distribute a movie”
Not always. Filmmakers are doing some pretty creative things to get their films to audiences and you can too. Like making an indie film, it isn’t always about how much you spend, it’s about how you spend it.

5. “Distribution isn’t my job, I just want to make movies.”
If you want to make another film, it makes sense to concern yourself with who saw your last one. No one will care more than you about the release of your film, so best to prepare yourself, think about how it’s going to reach an audience and roll up your sleeves to make sure that happens. Besides, connecting directly with your audience can be an enriching experience- after all, this is who you made your movie for!

Five Misconceptions of Traditional Distribution

1. “Distributors and Sales Agents will rip me off”
Unfortunately in this world we live in you have to look out for number one and it seems someone is always trying to take advantage of you. That’s not always the case, but you do have to keep your eyes open. Read everything. Know what you are entitled to and what your recourses are. Usually the “rip off” is because the producer was not prepared and went in blind. There are exceptions to every rule, but emotionally charged words usually are based on emotions and not facts. Interview and get to know your sales agent. Ask around. Make sure people are working in your best interest and are a PARTNER.

2. “I will make more money if I do it myself.”
This is partially true. Your margins are MUCH higher when you self distribute, but you are also going to continue to work long after your film is done. Think of the smaller margin as the salary and overhead of paying someone to do it for you. In fact, most of the time, you couldn’t pay someone to do all the work required for the amount you “lose” to a sales agent or distributor.

3. “I can do it myself.”
To a point this is true, but after the direct to consumer sales are done where do you go? Do you know buyers around the world? Foreign sales are potentially very lucrative, especially to genre films. If your film is a very niche, indie film or documentary, maybe foreign isn’t for you, but if there is a chance: take it. International sales on your own is very difficult, time intensive, costly, and, more than anything, almost impossible. There are over 190 countries in the world, how are you going to reach them all, sell to them all, deliver to them all, and collect your sales dollars? Do you even know what the going rate for a film like yours is in Australia, Thainland, or Cyprus?

4. “Ok, foreign is one thing but I can handle domestic sales.”
Really? So beyond a “create on demand service” and iTunes how are you going to exploit your domestic sales? Do you have a deal with Netflix? Redbox? Blockbuster? Do you know someone at Showtime, Starz, or HBO? You are either going to have to license to someone that has output deals with these guys or you just will leave it on the table. Yes, there are a myriad of ways to make it to your audience and you should make plans to do that, but don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.

5. “Its my movie and I know what’s best.”
Sometimes, but sometimes emotions get in the way of good business decisions. Your ultimate business decision needs to be about “How do I get my investors money back?” even if you are your only investor. Its a business as much as it is an art. If business isn’t your cup of tea (or you don’t have time) then finding the right partner means EVERYTHING.

White Hogan Pictures wants to be that partner.

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