Screenwriting and Indie Film Distribution

There are different distribution avenues to consider when looking at marketing your film. Film festivals have been long known to provide filmmakers’ exposure to distributors. However, this kind of exposure is considered ‘dependent’ film distribution. Filmmakers are dependent on the exposure to distributors and eventually become dependent on what the distributor will do for them. The chances of the right distributor screening your film at the right time at the right film festival are not good odds.

Fortunately for us, times are changing and indie filmmakers are not waiting around hoping to get a distribution deal.

Indie filmmakers are finding themselves at the forefront of an online distribution revolution. Considering online distribution for your indie film? You’ll want to weigh the pros and cons in regards to selecting an online distribution platform. Approach an online distributor with the intent of making some $$$ but don’t necessarily expect that you will. Think of this avenue of distribution as a long-term investment. There’s a plethora of new and barely heard of platforms and services for selling your film. Regardless of which platform you choose, you’ll want to consider several things.

  • Startup cost
  • No up-front costs
  • Long-term cost
  • Delivery to mobile devices
  • No mobile devices
  • Exclusive agreements
  • Non-exclusive agreements
  • Percent of profit
  • Tax implications

Also, if your film is under 20 minutes, this may be an issue as far as preliminary qualifications of being accepted as media for distribution on some sites. For example, Amazon’s VOD store requires that content titles be at least 20 minutes long. Most short films would not qualify for this service.

Amazon does appear to be ahead of the curve when it comes to partnering with independent artists of books, CD’s and films. Amazon provides well laid out Features, Pricing and Submission Requirements on Amazon’s CreateSpace.

As far as Apple and iTunes, it’s difficult to even locate information on how to get an indie film into the iTunes store? That in itself is reason alone to not pursue distribution through iTunes. Give it another year and the wizards at Apple will see the revenue generated from streaming indie films from sites like Amazon and indieflix.

Indieflix appears to be a good choice for digital distribution for indie films. They accept short films as well as features, they have a considerable presence across the web and they are based here in the big filmmaking hub of Seattle Washington. Indieflix is an online marketplace and distributor that offers over 2,500 film festival-selected independent films screened from countries worldwide. Indieflix provides a platform for independent filmmakers to market their films, and is notable for being non-exclusive.

Prior to setting up VOD distribution with any company, you would want to know the distributors current customer base, understand their marketing strategies, and have a good understanding of any revenue that could be generated or not realized from hosting your media with such company. If the numbers just don’t add up, it may be a good industry move to get your film out to the masses, views vs. dollars.

The current market for indie filmmakers pursuing revenue generating distribution for an indie film is very bleak at best. Finding an audience for your independent film has never been easier. There are many platforms for digital distribution to choose from, it’s just a matter of dollars vs. views. What route makes the most sense to each filmmaker?

The bigger payoff for indie filmmakers may be the old-school route… Put your work out there and create some buzz!

You have the power to dream. Let the inspiration flow and your creativity will take shape.
– David Spies

This entry was posted in Business, Distribution, Film Festivals, Film Production, Filmmaking, Networking, Screenwriter, Screenwriting and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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