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Hacking International Distribution
How to leverage a brief moment in time in indie distribution PLUS why we need to innovate on the traditional film business plan
Welcome to August :) The last stretch of summer before our fall ‘busy season’ kicks in. But with so much up in the air these days, it’s hard to say what a fall season will actually look like!
To recap - In my previous newsletter I talked about the studios pushing their fall releases due to the actors strike, so that leaves a nice potential hole in the market for Indies to swoop in and not only grab release slots, but capitalize on attention that would have otherwise been targeted elsewhere.
I saw this come into sharp focus this week when a client’s film I negotiated a distribution deal for, suddenly moved up two months in the release schedule and is even getting a ten city theatrical release next month Wait what? That might have been unheard of if circumstances weren’t what they are in the land of strikes. What an amazing deal for the filmmakers though as they have been blessed with ‘right place at the right time’.
Speaking of right place at the right time….
I’ve expanded my Distribution Consulting services during these high demand times to include international distribution where it makes sense. For one of my films, we’re skipping the sales agent middleman model entirely for international, and I’m running it myself…. just like the old days lol!
We’re also taking a step back, zooming out, and establishing an overall strategy first that includes festivals, theatrical tours, event releases, impact campaigns, and long tail strategies. Think Barbie but on a smaller level :)
If you want to explore working together on distribution of your film or series, whether it’s completed or in post, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with details on your project.
With MIPCOM and AFM on the horizon, you’ll want to get a head start on all this now. Look forward to speaking!
We Need To Innovate On Film Business Plans
I was having a discussion this week within the FS Pro group about film business plans. As several of our members are at the stage of pitching equity investors to close their financing, it’s an important topic and one I’ve been thinking about myself for a while.
In short, there was a time when a traditional film business plan made sense. These days, honestly it feels like a dinosaur of a document.
I think a better approach is to use:
A short pitch deck + a thoughtfully constructed finance plan (I include samples in the FS Pro Resource Hub) + realistic sales estimates from a major sales agency who is actually out there pre-selling your film. And that’s your ‘business plan’.
For example, if you’re out trying to raise $1 million equity on a $3 million project that has the balance of the budget covered in tax and soft money incentives, how are you proposing to your equity investors that they’ll see that $1 million back in distribution revenues? If your sales estimates account for that on the ‘take’ column, that’s what an experienced film investor knows to look for (minus breakage).
I had an experience recently where I was in discussions with equity investors for a project and the two documents they asked for were:
A finance plan
Projections from our sales agent.
I keep those two handy dandy items on my desktop at all times for ease in sending.
They were able to see in an instant how the budget was coming together, what was needed from them, and where the money would come from back into their pockets. Very simple. No wading through 20 page old school b.s. documents with pie-in-the-sky box office numbers that have no relevance to today’s market, the film in question, or their bottom line.
I have seen some business plans lately come across my desk that wildly overstate distribution revenue and potential profit for investors. Even for micro budget films that somehow think $500K-$1 million in revenue is guaranteed. It’s not. And it’s sad that people are still perpetuating these false scenarios and are operating from a place of what they think they can earn back in the market without an actual sales or distribution professional providing them with real life numbers.
And this is my case for going to film markets like AFM and MIPCOM! That’s where you have the opportunity to 1:1 with sales and distribution professionals, engage in real talk on your project, and spark up relationships with companies who will provide you with trusted sales estimates for your finance plan and investor package that you crucially need.
What’s been your experience lately with film business plans? I’d love to hear any questions you have in the comments section below….
And on that note, I’ll wrap things up for today. Have a wonderful day ahead and speak to you again soon.
To your success,