The Indie Film Exhibition Masterclass: A Guide to Film Festivals, Marketing, & Distribution | Andre Joseph | Skillshare

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The Indie Film Exhibition Masterclass: A Guide to Film Festivals, Marketing, & Distribution

teacher avatar Andre Joseph, SI, NY Award-winning filmmaker

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (1h 27m)
    • 1. Trailer

    • 2. Class Project

    • 3. Prepare Early

    • 4. Social Media Marketing

    • 5. Marketing Materials

    • 6. How Film Festivals Work

    • 7. The Right Distributor for You

    • 8. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Congratulations! You have succeeded through the tedious task of making your first film. Now what do you do? How do you get your movie seen in front of an audience? The Indie Film Exhibition Masterclass will take you through the variety of options you have to release your movie, how to expand your reach through marketing, and how you can potentially make a profit in the process. The host is award-winning NYC filmmaker Andre Joseph of AJ Epyx Productions and director of the indie thriller VENDETTA GAMES now available on Amazon Prime, Tubi, and on DVD at most available retailers.

This class is for anyone who has completed a film and has struggled to find a way to get it out into the world. Whether you want to maximize your views on YouTube, seeking a legit distributor who will get your film worldwide, or you want to plan to self-distribute your own work, the 13 years of experience I have as an independent filmmaker will offer a great deal of insight and tips on how you can build a following which could lead to a lasting career.

Meet Your Teacher

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Andre Joseph

SI, NY Award-winning filmmaker


Award winning NYC-based filmmaker and educator Andre´ Joseph had a love for movies from an early age. He began his career making short films with family and friends on home video. Andre´ attended the New York Film Academy summer program in 2001 where he first gained experience working with 16-millimeter film and later graduated Magna Cum Laude from Emerson College in 2006 where he received a bachelor’s degree in Film.

In 2008, Andre´ formed his own indie film production company, AJ Epyx Productions. Since then, the company produced three professionally made feature film projects as well as four award winning short films. Among the company’s most successful projects include the crime thriller VENDETTA GAMES (Winner for “Best ... See full profile

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1. Trailer: Hello everybody. My name is Andrea Joseph. You probably remember me from my previous class. No budget filmmaking for beginners. And here we are today because you want to take your career to the next step. And this is the indie film exhibition masterclass based on my own 13 years of experience as a struggling filmmaker and the success that I've achieved over time. I use this class as a way to get my experience on what it takes to separate bad distribution deals from the positive distribution deals that will get your film out there and potentially have you see some profit at the end of the day. We also go into what a proper marketing strategy can be to make your film get the widest reach possible. How to get your movie into a film festival. I give you insight tips on how to make a really good trailer or really visually stunning poster that will get your viewers to be interested in seeing your work. And how do you build your social media following so people can get that word of mouth going around in order to have that word of mouth become your core base of followers. By the end of this class, you'll be able to take on this new class project in which you'll be able to create your own movie trailer. You're on poster and or create your own marketing strategy, outlining through a document form. And I'd be happy upon submission to give any insight that I can provide that will help you along in your journey. So as I always like to say, well, let's make it happen and myths make that dream come true. This is the class for you. If you want to go to the next level, apply today. 2. Class Project: So if you're watching this video now, hopefully you've gone through all the lessons in this class and you're ready to take on the cloths project. There's a couple of things you'll be doing here. One is you'll be able to do your own movie trailer or your own movie poster. You had the option to do either one or you can do both if you have the availability to do so. For both projects, you could use any editing software for the trailer and preferably for the poster. I'd like you to use Adobe Photoshop if you have it available to you. And with these items, you're going to use the tools and the lessons from this class to create some compelling marketing materials that will be focused on what your film is, who you're targeting two, and what will be eye-opening enough to get people to see it. The third thing you'll be doing in this project is your marketing plan. So just using a simple document in Microsoft Word, just write out your entire marketing strategy of what you plan to do. And you don't have to be limited to any specific format, even though there will be a template that you can follow if your kids or you're a little confused. And you could do it as a dot file, you could do it as an XLR. Just have a solid plan of exactly how you intend to release your movie and your entire strategy. Once you're done, you could put those items into the project gallery or you could privately send it to me and I'll be happy to review those materials. So have a good time doing this. It should be a lot of fun and it should make you think, because all of these things will matter for the very success that you need for your film to have. 3. Prepare Early: Welcome everybody to the Indie film exhibition master class. Your teacher, Andre Joseph of AJ Epyx Productions. And I thank you for taking part in this brand new class. And todays lesson will be how to prepare early. So from the very beginning of my career, I was always focused on the creative aspect of movie making. I used to get together with my friends, my cousins. We would write little scripts. We get together in my neighborhood or at my house. And we would just start filming our movies. And we didn't care about who was seeing it or film festivals. We weren't thinking so much about how to make money. We just did it for fun. And my creative spirit in high school is what prompted me to take my career to the next level. As I started to take classes at the New York Film Academy. And eventually when I went to college, Emerson College up in Boston, that's when I really started to understand the difficulties of making a movie, as you probably would imagine when it comes to working with the crew, when it comes to equipment, editing, sound, and the logistics of running a smooth production. So, you know, when I got out of college, I decided I wanted to start my career as early as possible. And that's when I made my first movie called Priceless, which was about a jewel thief who goes back to his hometown and Staten Island, New York and tries to reconnect with his ex girlfriend while he's on the run from the mob. Now, this was a film that I really put my heart and soul into. I wrote it when I was in school. I took some personal experiences and kind of punctuated it into this sort of romance, heist dramatic type of story. And I worked with some amazing actors, many of whom have gone on to work on major films and television shows. And I had an amazing crew on that than I will never forget. And that was really one of the first times I ran a production where I had to raise my own money. I got support from family, friends as well as my own family. And I've really went the extra mile to make something unlike anything I've ever done before. This wasn't a movie that I was just like pick up a camera and going out. I had to really plan does to the t and to really make something that I believed was going to make a splash in the film festivals and become one of those most talked about movies of the Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity or Napoleon Dynamite like that in the splash that was going to be huge. That didn't quite happen. To be quite honest. You know, we did a big premiere at Tribeca Cinemas when we finished the editing and post-production work. And we had a great response from people that were there. And I felt pretty good about the film that I thought it was gonna go places. But what happened? While a siphon effect that there was an economic crash. There was also the fact that when I started to do to film festival scene, nobody was taking it. I must have entered into ten of the biggest festivals that I can think of within my area of New York and the big ones everybody talks about like Sundance and Toronto and try BAC, BCA. And they all rejected it. And I started feeling very discouraged to the point where I just thought maybe it was, I don't know. Maybe it was just a quality. Maybe I just didn't go far enough. I put all my heart and soul into it. I'm spending all these moneys on the film festival entries and it's just not getting me anywhere. So what else might supposed to do? And then I tried to look at distribution. And I had some connections to people that knew a number of companies that were put out to straight to DBD. And back when we used to have Blockbuster Video that you'd be able to get your movie out on the video store shelves. But the same thing, nobody would take the film. And it was maybe down to quality. Maybe it was that I was acting and directing in it, which tends to be a bias to some people. And, you know, baby was just the bunch of wasn't high enough. But I think one of the issues that I had even as I approached it, was I was so fixated with the creative aspect of it, of just trying to get the picture made. And I was taking it a step at a time. As I thought I was taught in school. The thing I never understood and that I never quite grasp was marketing. And I could tell you a number of different horror stories from other independent filmmaker friends of mine, who must have mortgaged their own houses and tried to make that big, expensive indie film. They may have spent almost close to a $100 thousand out of their own pocket to make it happen. And maybe they got into the festivals, but when it came down to actually trying to make money, they barely saw even a dime from it. And then we have sold maybe 14 DVDs at a convention. And the reason we all fall into that trap, if we're trying to do this on our own without a studio, is that we don't have the reach or the messaging that would get the people to see your work. And that's the thing I realized very quickly as I started to take priceless to a number of different film festivals. And rather than, you know, being able to be accepted, I just decided I was going to network where people and I'll hand out the DVDs and see what happens when you all look down and I'll amine executive. What I found was that the people that I met who were in the industry or were just kinda like make a neural connections themselves. They would watch the DVD and then I run into them later on at the festival. And they would actually be really impressed. It would really compliment me on how well the movie was made and the quality and the storytelling and the performances. And they were really impressed for the kind of money that was spent on this. That it actually was something that they can watch. It didn't feel cheap despite the low budget that we had. So that always made me wonder, what would it have taken for me if I just went the extra mile, if I actually went back to that film. And knew ahead of time what I was going to do differently to get this thing out there. And so, so much of what we do as independent filmmakers is yes, we're caught up in the art. We want to express ourselves, want to tell our stories. At the same time, if you're looking for a career, if you're looking to build an audience, if you're looking to eventually make this a career where you're going to make money and God willing, you'll be able to make a living out of it. Do we have to understand that other aspect of business end of it. And a great actor named Blair Underwood, who you probably know from a lot of Tyler Perry movies. And he was recently in the Netflix series When They See Us. He the best advice to me when I went to the American black Film Festival when he said that we need to treat this as a business. It show business. There's a reason why businesses in the title of the name. And it's so important for us to understand that this is what the schools don't teach as much, which is how you get a job. How do you get your work to be seen to people? And not always completely depend on the festivals. But the great thing about now is there's a whole lot of options to get your movie out there and have people see it. But no matter what you do, even if a film festival accepts you, you still gotta find a way to bring an audience to go out SR screening because you can't control that unnecessarily most of the time. So you gotta find a way to get those people to see your work. And so this is what this class is designed to teach you, which is the best way to have a success with your film. What is your first film or most recent film, is start as early as possible. Know exactly in the beginning who your audience is, who you're going to target to. What kind of materials and ideas can you come up with it or out of the bugs that will grab people's attention for social media, for print, for podcasting, and every other form of marketing networks for getting your film out there. And just to kind of leave off where I did find success for myself was when I did my most recent film, Vendetta Games. And even though it was a sequel to a film that I had done previously, I knew that I was going to treat it as if it's a movie on its own and not have to totally depend on the first film for people to understand the story. So right from the beginning, I knew exactly how I wanted to promote it. Like there was a casino setting in the film. So I knew my marketing materials are going to be cosine obeys. I was gonna make playing chips. I was going to make a card and the actors faces on it. I was gonna do a poster that was in the form of a playing card and having like characters and symbols that were represented as an action movie. And I also had a great editor who was able to make a trailer that sort of played into the casino aspect of the story and how to gambling could lead to your demise, shoot dev and excitement. And, you know, we, we really had a sense of that and also knowing we weren't gonna win over female fans. So if this was going to be an action film, you're most likely going to get a male audience. So we targeted to a younger demographic like 18 to 49 and made sure that the images were eye popping enough that for any young person loves, you know, a similar type of movie or TV show, like what we're doing. They're going to be interested in this. And so we would try to target that specific group of people and then hopefully word-of-mouth would spread to other audiences with different cultures, races, genders, and so on. And we've had a lot of success on it from this point. And I'm going to talk a little later in a future class about film distribution and what that takes to avoid the pitfalls of the bad deal. So, by advice here is everything that you're going to learn in this class rarely involves learning and knowing as early as possible. How are you going to plan to release your film? Whether it's going to be on YouTube or if you're going to put it in a festival, or if you're gonna do your own distribution or find a distributor. These are tools that are going to need to ensure your success and your reach. 4. Social Media Marketing: Hi and welcome to our next class, social media marketing. So I often get asked when I start a film, do I start marketing when I begin my production, or do I wait until post-production has completed and I'm ready to release my work. It's a complicated question, but I would say from my own experience that it's usually best to begin at the early stage of your production even before you get your funds and you know exactly the kind of movie that you want to make, you should have a sense of how you're going to promote your work for people to see it. So let's just say, for example, you've got your script. You kinda know who your cast and crew is going to be. You have you locations, you know, basically out of production is gonna go. But then you gotta figure, try to figure out, well, where are you going to release this thing? And we're gonna be talking more about that in a bit. But more importantly, how are you going to get the word out and once your films completed. So what I tried to do is write down an entire marketing plan of how I'm going to go about it. So I'll write down all the social media sites and I'm going to use where I'm going to promote who I'm going to reach out to. And you know, basically what kinds of materials to create to generate some interests through merchandising, through apps, may be some jpeg pictures that I could show. And there's a whole variety of ideas that you can do. But the most important thing is to know how you're going to go about it to build up word of mouth. Now I know for me when I began, and it was the early stages of the social media phenomenon. On my first movie, priceless, which I shot back in 2007, I used Myspace when MySpace used to be a big bang. And what I did on there was right from the very beginning of my shoot, I started posting pictures from the set, any kinda artwork that I created for the poster. I did Journal blogs, so I would update people on my day how to production went, maybe announce a new cast member, crew member, and try to build up a following from there. And hopefully they would follow through all way. Freudian did the shoot. Now there is the draw back in which you gotta keep them engaged as much as possible. And I can definitely tell you for a fact that for me, when I did the film, I finished in the summer, but then it took me an entire year to get post-production done, took months to edit. It took maybe two months to do to music. And then it took an entire summer just to get the entire sound mixed completed. So in that time, I really just didn't think I had anything more to say until the film was ready to go. And I kind of lost some interest from people. You know, they would just every now and then I would get the message, oh, you know what's going on with the movie? When is it coming out? And other times it would just be, you know, I'd see my follower lists kinda drop off. So the trick here in answering that question, you have to keep your audience engaged as much as possible. And I think it's good to start early because you want to build up your base. You want to build up your following through the various ways you could go about on social media. But you have to keep them invested throughout the shoe, throughout your post-production process, it may require you to maybe. Do video blogs, maybe show people your editing process, maybe have an interview with your composer, anything just to keep the content going. Because the more interest you generate and the more people following your journey, more likely than not, they will check out the final product because they'll have that high interest in what you're doing. Now. Then you may also ask, well, what kind of social media platforms should I use? Because you have Facebook, you have Twitter, you have Instagram. I said use everything that you got. And I would even go as far as to say, for example, with Facebook, to do exactly what I said here in terms of keeping your audience engaged. But you can probably go beyond just the film itself. Like let's say, for example, you're doing a western which I'm actually trying to do as we speak. And it's gonna take a while to get going. So maybe you want to find some things that are western unrelated to kinda engage with your followers. You might want to post your favorite western movie clips. Talk about, you know, who's your favorite movie Star of the old school Hollywood era of Western movies. You know, I mean, you're talking about John Wayne for day mutant Oakland use would for a day. You might even post up pictures of horses. Maybe get into engagement with your followers about horses, for example. And you never know, you might even find somebody that's willing to supply you horses on the set. You know, anything that's related to the genre of your picture, you want to try to see if there's any little thing that would get anybody interested. And also because you're being more personable, that separates you from the Hollywood elite who just put them over. Yeah, but they don't really engage with anybody publicly. You know, they they do their press tours and that's that just to get people to go out and see to film. But as you, as an independent, you want to build your audience. You want to build your fan base. So go out and try to engage with the people that you expect to be your consumer. Because that will go a long way to build the word of mouth and to find a success that you need so that once your movie is out and if it is successful, that same follow-up will come to the next project that you do. Well, not a way for social media to be effective in your marketing campaign is hashtags. So I never understood the reasoning behind it. Like I remember when I used to go on Instagram and Twitter and I'd see you like, you know, motivational quotes or hashtag, TBT, you know, all those things that you see all the time. I didn't never understood in beginning until I started taking these courses and go into different forms, a film festivals where they talked about the importance of a hashtag. The trick is if you're using something like say Twitter or Instagram, you want to have your project trend as much as possible. You want to get people that and have no idea what you're doing, no idea who you are to come out and check out whatever it is that you posted. So come with unique hash tags that are related to your project. That could be all film related. They could be related to the story. And you want to even find some unique ones that you could get your friends and your family to also use for their own pose. The more people you get engaged in your work through to hashtags, then it's likely you'll bring in more people that have no idea who you are to. There may be that 1% chance they'll be willing to say, okay, I'm going to follow this guy. Does he looks interesting. She looks interesting enough that I want to see what it is that they're working on because this is very unique. And also I also advise, go on to the search sites on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and see what's trending that day. Because you never know the oddest things tend to trend worldwide at any moment, at any time. And I still don't get it myself. But I also realize if he could find something that's capturing lightning in a bottle, and it's relatable to your work. Use that hashtag. Because let's say it's something Marvel related and you're doing a comic book related project, maybe put down marvel that day if it's trending. So that way anybody that's a Marvel fan might have that percent, percentage of a chance to say, Oh, they, they come across your post and they may actually be engaged by it somehow. Find ways to capture everybody's attention, no matter how unique, no matter how out of the box it is, Hashtags do work. And as long as you keep a consistent enough, you never know, you might just find the right person willing to spread the word about your work. Another viable resource for getting the word out about your work is emails. So that seems archaic in this day and age. But here's the drawback When it comes to social media sites. There are algorithms. And those algorithms do in fact affect the amount of people that do see what it is that you're posting. Unless of course, you go and you pay for ads on Facebook and Twitter or pay for some kind of a boost on your post to try to get more engagement into what it is that you have up. And that can get expensive. And, you know, it's, it's a lot of money out of your pocket just to try to get people to follow your stuff and there was no guarantee of success there. But e-mails are definitely the number one direct way to reach your audience. Now you might say to yourself, well, most of the emails that I send out r to family, to friends and, you know, just people that I know personally and maybe it'll help. Maybe may not, maybe it'll just delete it. Sure. But you want to keep everybody update if they support you enough, then they'll be able to open up that email, check out what it is that you've got going on the latest update on your work and try to support you as much as you can. And don't forget to like sometimes you get those emails from accompany or maybe like a casting director because if you're in the industry, you're gonna get bombarded with all kinds of requests to connect. And you know, a, we got this business and we think we could help if what you're trying to work on, maybe tried to engage with those people, put them on the e-mail newsletter list. And even if they just, they might delete the email, they might, you know, from the spam folder, but you never know. They may look at it and they might actually be engaged by what it is you're trying to do. But it's the direct the most direct way aside from calling people up, which I don't totally advise in this day and age is the most direct way to try to reach out to people to let them know exactly what it is that you're working on and and you compile that list over time and try to let it grow. So every time you have something new, you put it out there and also be sure to blind copy some of those other emails that you get to send because you also don't want to invade everybody's privacy as well and get bombarded with all kinds of replies to people because I know how annoying docking get. So just be mindful of that as you're going along in that process. And the most, Number One important recommendation that I make with any kind of social media marketing. Try to work in a team. Don't work by yourself. I find the most successful projects that get made are ones that have a team of maybe 34 or five people involved in the production. If they supported enough, they're gonna spread the word to the people that they know who follow their social media outlets. And that will also continue to build even bigger word of mouth. To do it on your own requires a lot of work, a lot of time that you have to put in, especially if you're doing a crowdfunding campaign and you're trying to get people invested into what it is you're doing and make them contribute financially. You know, crowdfunding sites. It's like a 24-hour job to keep the momentum going. And the same goes with few trying to release a movie. So the best thing to do is find the right people. Usually it's your producer, your executive producer, associate producer, the key people eating your talent. If they can reach out to their connections to build that word of mouth and make it a much larger circle of followers to the work that you're trying to do. And I think that's very important simply for that very reason to get the most views possible. And I just, I think it's the right way to go. It's the best way to go because this medium is a team effort. It's not just a one man, one woman operation. You know, everybody has to put in their effort if they want to see it succeed. At the end of the day. 5. Marketing Materials: Welcome to the next class, marketing materials. I want you to think about the movies that you grew up watching. Think about the posters to those films or even what was on the video box are. And think about what it was that made you gravitate to that film to want to watch it. Whether it's the original 1989 Batman with the infamous Batman logo that you probably saw all around New York City back in the summer of that year. It could well be, you know, Independence Day with that famous shot of the space ship over Manhattan, Everything is so important in terms of the visual that captures the interests of the public to the movie that you're trying to put out. I know for me personally that when I did priceless my first film, I didn't concentrate as much on the marketing materials. I think I had a sense of what I wanted to do. But I said to myself, this is a love story, so I want to really make that the forefront. And my original poster for the movie was myself and my leading lady standing in front of the Verrazanno Bridge in New York. Because the movie's sentence, none Island, New York. And I wanted to try to reflect that, hey, this guy's gone back to get back with his ex girlfriend. He's on the run than the mob. We feature this Faberge egg that he's after and use it as the period over the eye in the word price list. And I thought that was good enough. It was cool and, you know, try to emphasize it in that perspective. But it didn't work. To be honest, I think because the movie itself, in terms of tone and I'm critical of my own work. There, there were times I don't think I got the tone correct on the movie because you had a little bit of action in it. You had a lot of comedy, but you also have to dramatic elements. And I never really had like an even doubt tone to be able to sell that movie properly. And that's probably one of the reasons why it was hard to make that reached go longer. So when I did my second phone, dishonorable vendetta, I knew this was an action film. This was a crime thriller. It's dealing with drug enforcement agents. They're going after drug dealers. So I took inspiration from the lethal weapon poster, which was Mel Gibson and Danny Glover standing together and you see them posing with their guns. And what was that trying to say? This was trying to say that this was a thriller. But it's about these two guys. It's not going to be anything more than that other than the fact he gets an action movie, it's a thriller it or cops. But it's going to be about them. It's going to be about their personal lives as well as the plot. So that's what I tried to do here. So I did a second poster for this MOOC for my second film, where I had myself and the actor playing my partner posed almost like we ever guns out and making it look kinda tough, make it look like a rap album. And I created almost like my old little batman symbol, but it's a di, a badge covered in cocaine as sort of the infamous symbol of the movie. Right there, you know, for a fact of what you're gonna get. You're gonna get a cron broiler. You're gonna get a lot of action and you're gonna get a whole lot of chaotic stuff happening. So it's so important. We're, if you're putting out a post or for your movie, you kinda wanna emphasize who your stars are. And you know, even if you don't have named talent, you can still emphasize the people that are going to be at the forefront of the story or something symbolic of that tail that will gravitate people to want to see it. It's always about what's going to be visually pleasing to the eye. So if you're a post or can have those exciting elements that tell the story just in one image. That's all you need to get people to go out and to see your work. And more importantly than that, you want it to be eye popping. You want to be unique. And you know, just try to make it in such a way that they know what they're getting. One when they see it in whatever it's in the theater where it's on a video POX or just on a social media site, they see that thing, they know what they're getting, and they wanna go and they want to check it out. Now when it comes to movie trailers, this is also another most important selling point to the work that you're trying to do. So think about famous trailers to movies. Whatever you have, independence day, which I'll make an example of again, where you never saw any of the main actors in that first teaser, you only saw the shadows of those space ships coming down until all the major cities. And that big money shot at the end when the White House gets blown up. I remember seeing that as a kid and being like, oh wow, I want to check this out and I have no idea who's in those movie, let's say the original Back to the Future, where if you remember the teaser for That, you only saw very little Michael J. Fox and the DeLorean. You only saw like just the little insert shots of his shoes walk into the car. You see the door open, you see the flux capacitor C, you'd put on sunglasses. You hear some voiceover Of a girl asking Michael J. Fox, hey, where you going in any lifts up and sunglasses and says ALU and back 30 years. And then that last shot of the DeLoreanfrom the back, going back in time. You don't know anything about this movie other than the fact that it's a kid traveling through time. It's only when you see a movie, when you know what time he's going to, what else happens in the story, how he meets his parents and so on. And of course, that's where secondary trailers come in that you explain the plot in more detail. Now, when you're doing a trailer, It's just like the poster. You're trying to capture the tone of the movie or you're trying to sell. So if you're gonna do with thrower, it's gotta be thrilling. If you're doing a comedy, you want it to be a laugh out riot. And it would be funny enough that people would want to check it out so that they can really have a good time at the movies. It'd be human action movie. It's gotta be a lot of action in it. If you're doing, let's say a drama, then you want something intriguing enough that people will pay to have their heartstrings played it. So those are the key things that you would need. What doesn't work is when you have a trailer that tells you to much of the plot. And I could tell you for a fact that there is a lot of movies like this, like let's say for example, men and black, which I thought the teaser trailer for that was really cool. But when they did the main trailer for the movie, they basically told you the entire story within two minutes of what was going to happen, that Will Smith was gonna get recruited to the MAB. And it was all going to build up to him and Tommy Lee Jones taken on the big Ellie. And at the end, you know, and really if you see all that, then you've already seen the whole film. So it's very important that you don't reveal all the elements of your twist and surprises that you really want the audience to really be excited to see once they actually see them move. If you spoil it early on, that word of mouth spreads and it's not a good thing at all. And then there's also the kind of trailers that will mislead the audience. So I'll go back to an infamous a bomb, a movie called Geely with Ben Affleck. Now here's a movie that had a lot of production troubles and your two stars were dating each other at the time. So the studio decided they wanted to promote this movie as a romantic comedy. You know, like something that I'm Matthew McKenna, hey, would do. And they tried to really emphasize, hey, okay, he's a gangster, she's a cop or enforcer. I never seen the movie to be honest. And they're on this particular mission. And they fall in love with each other and they play up the comedic elements. But when you see the movie itself, it's pretty damn dark and not exactly the romantic comedy that it's projected to be. So you'd never want to insult your audience by doing false marketing because that will turn them off in a big way once they actually do see it, and there'll be very disappointed. Another bad example of bad marketing would be to Adam Sandler Movie. Click where again it look like it. Adam Sandler movie with a lot of comedy and it, but then you see the movie. And then by the third act, he takes this dramatic turn. And I can tell you a lot of people including myself were very turned off by that. They want to see a movie already going to have a good time. They don't wanna seem ordinary to get depressed and sad. And so you've got to be mindful of those things when you're trying to capture the right tone of your trailer. 6. How Film Festivals Work: Welcome to the next class, how film festivals work. So you have your movie completed and now you want to take it to the next level and you want to start to get it to the public. And typically for anybody that's starting out, or even if you're at the professional level, film festivals are obviously the great way to get your movie scene to the public, to those in the industry. And if you're lucky, maybe even an ala celebrity might even check it out if they have a chance. Does a whole variety of festivals out there, all with different ranges of illegitimate festivals that take anything and typically do not screen films very well. And then there are the prestigious brand name festivals that you've probably heard about, such as the con, Film Festival, the Toronto Film Festival, Sundance, Tribeca. And the list goes on and on. So when I started out, that was my dream, which was to get my film into one of the top tier festivals in the world. And the reality was, I just wasn't prepared. And on top of that, there's a very limited amount of movies that actually make it into dose brand name festivals. So that makes it quite challenging for anybody, no matter what your skill level is or what type of known actors you might even have. But it's not hard to navigate. Everybody has to start somewhere. And all it takes is just a right amount of preparation and research to figure out where your film fits best. As I went along in my career, I was getting to the point where, you know, in the beginning I tried to go for those big festivals that all said no. And then decided, or my short night stream that I was going to just go all out and I'm just going to find every festival available and I'm just going to spend my money and get in. And I did that. And, you know, some of those vessels, I actually got screening and I got some awards out of them. But not every festival was necessarily the best, not the ones that we get the industry talking. It would just be great. Oh, my IMDB resume to have it. So, you know, that's really where I think research is so important to know. Orders you want to go. So the great thing about the internet is you have a number of websites, including the festival websites that break down what criteria we're looking for and how to enter. And one of the best sites that I look at when I entered any festival now is a cycle film freeway. So this started out many years ago. Before that there was withoutabox, which is also co-owned by IMDB and in the case of both sites, but I'm going to stick specifically to film freeway. You can find basically any festival in the world and have your movie listed as an entry and be able to submit. Now, there's a couple things you need to know and this is a great way to start preparing today. The biggest mistake that I made, and I know a number of filmmakers have made is just to say, enter into any festival that's out there. And just God willing, you're getting accepted to at least one. And you do end up spending maybe too much money to the point where you don't see that money back. If you get rejected, you don't see it return. And if you get accepted in the festival's not great. You're not going to really get a refund. This is why something like film freeway is great because first off, all the festivals are listed based on their location in the world. What types of movies they tend to screen. If it's a sci-fi oriented festival, if its horror, drama, maybe even more global. And you know, you look at these sites and they tell you all of what they're looking for in terms of the quality, genre, and the running time, which I'll talk a little bit more about in a minute. But the one thing you really want to hold on to when you're on a site like this is to reviews. Because you're going to see a number of filmmakers who will write reviews and give feedback and tell you straight up if it's worth the money or not. And you gotta kinda separate the two because there are going to be those that will say wonderful glowing things and you want to kind of pay attention to that. But also pay attention to the negatives. Pay attention to the ones that tell you if that festival is not the greatest for networking opportunities or if they mishandle your screening times, anything like that, that might be a red flag. And of course you could go on Facebook, you going all these forums sites, go to read it and talk to other people who may have had that experience of those festivals and really tried to see their take on it and decide from there if it's worth your money or not to enter into those festivals in trying to save money, you also need to be mindful of the deadlines that come up. So on the right side of film freeway, you'll see a number of different deadlines and the numbers for the entry fees go up with every deadline that gets missed. Some of them may just have one. And that's that just a one day. This is the cost and that's that. And I think those tend to be a red flag to because those are types of vessels that just take anything as long as you pay the entry fee. Typically I say go with the early bird deadlines, which are usually the cheapest. And as they get later, they can run up close to 75 to maybe even over a $100 for the entry fee. And that becomes a bit too much unless you feel like your project is worth doing so. But I personally don't recommend it. So bear in mind where you want to save and you know, it's going to be determined on the quality of those festivals, the people you talk to, if it is legit to do so, you know, do your due diligence ahead a time so you can figure out what fits for your budget in terms of entering. The festival's will also ask you for a number of materials. Obviously asked for your movie as a screener copy. Now, usually to two ways to do it would be a screen or on a streaming site like Vimeo or YouTube and listed as a private link, film freeway has their own uploading so you could just put the movie up on your profile page. And only the festival will see it. And those are usually the best way to go because, you know, it will work out fine. You don't have to worry about any kinda describing or anything like that, but we shorter check your movie to make sure there's no digital errors and export in a proper format so it could stream properly for the judges to look at. They also may or may not ask for a Blu ray or a DVD copy, which I think got me in trouble in the beginning because in the early days when they only accept the DVD copies, there was always a 50, 50% chance that the DVD would work. So more than likely you might get rejected if your DVD skips. So be sure if you're gonna put on a hard disk, double-check it before you mail it out. And you know, a film like a flash drive also is fine. I think it's just as good as having the stream or copy up on the websites. And again, same deal. Check your phone before you send it out. And try to even see if you can get the programmers to send your material back. If you're sending it on a drive, ask them if it's possible to have a returned and leave your mailing address in the package so that way they don't get lost. There'll be like a tracking number once you submit and used that as the basis for anything related to your movie, you're tracking numbers on it so it doesn't get lost if you're going to get those materials returned to you. They also alas for many of the things that we talked about in this class, such as a digital poster. They may want the trailer, they may want a number of production stills. They could be stills from the actual movie or it could be behind the scenes stills. And they also tend to ask for a director statements. So that could just be a couple of paragraphs of you talking about your personal experience making the movie, why you did it, why you want to present it to the world and, you know, keep it kind of short and sweet. And that will just give more of a personal face for these Festival judges to kinda know the vision behind the picture. Now as you research these festivals and decide which ones you want to do, does a couple of things you also need to keep in mind. One is yet to look at where they're running times cutoff. So if you're gonna go into a festival that short films, you gotta make sure it's under 30 minutes or less. Sometimes he may do longer shorts that are under an hour. But you want to kind of make sure shot. If your movie is of a certain length, then just make sure that it matches with the criteria that they're asking for. And there's also a tendency that if you're living in a particular area, like for me, I live in New York. Those festivals that are likely to be the ones you submit to debt or within the tri-state area may take a better chances of accepting you because you may have a better chance of actually traveling to those places and persons they like when the filmmakers are local and have that ability to be present at the festival, to present their film, to do the question and answer session. And also just a network, especially if you're going to get an award or if your film is going to be like the featured movie. They like to have the filmmakers and even the actors present. If it's possible. If you're going to try to enter some place on the west coast or some place overseas. It's much harder to do. And you know, there, there's always a chance you will get accepted. But generally they don't go for people that may have to overextend themselves to fly. Or even if there's a chance that they're not going to come out, then they may not want to take that chance over somebody that's little bit more local to their area. So that's something to also keep in mind about. So now Let's bypass the submission process because I think basically I laid out everything that you would normally be asked to do. Now what happens if you get accepted? So usually you get an email that tells you, congratulations, we accept your movie and you have a certain amount of days to get now your official film out to the festival. They'll usually ask for a digital copy. Again, if the, if it's on film freeway, they'll just download it direct. Or you could just find some way from we transfer or any other site where you can upload videos and email them out. They'll usually ask for a digital copy because that's just the world that we live in today. They will sometimes ask for a back-up copy on a disk or on a flash drive in case something goes wrong with the digital file. And on the bigger festival scenes, they will ask you for a DCP. And that is where you have to take a master version of your film and you have to export it out in the highest resolution possible onto a large external hard drive that could carry maybe over a terabyte or more. Those are the ones that obviously you're going have to pay a little bit more to get them out. And nothing wrong with. It just means like they're going to have the best quality in the theaters that they have selected for the festivals to have their film screenings at. So usually for like the major multiplexes dot host those events. They usually asks for that format as the main screen or copy. So there's obviously classes here on skill share or even other tutorials you could check out to see how to do DCP. And there's even places she could go and actually have it done for a fee, of course. But, you know, post-production houses that allow you to do just that. So you don't have to do it on your own and overextending yourself. Also pretty much ask for all those same materials that I talked about in some sort of hard form. So if you want to send out postcards of your poster already actual poster to have it. The festival's available. Then you could do that. You can mail that out. And once you get all that together, then the next major thing you're going to want to wait for is your date and time and you're screening block. Now this is something that typically filmmakers cannot control. Once your movie is submitted and it's accepted, the festival will decide based on the length of the movie, the genre, or just generally their discretion of when they think it's a best fit. But they will have your movie put out. And unless you're like a big name person with a big name talent, you're likely to get your screening. You know. Probably in the day time or sometimes in the evening before the big main event of a film. But that's not a bad thing. So whatever you get, you wanna make sure you want to prepare everything around it. You don't want to just say, OK, my film is into Festival and that's that then your work is done. Now you guide you to work to get the audience out. Because obviously, if people don't know you, there are least likely to go in to see your film unless of course your luck out and your movie is blocked with another film that's going to have a crowd. And your movie is fortunate to have that audience already built in and they gotta sit for your film. What you have to do is promote as much as possible. You know, go on blog sites, post on social media, your date, your time, your block, and do it as frequently as possible so people can remember the exact day in time and where to get the tickets, the ticket information, you know, the festival's will usually get the filmmakers one or two free passes and then everybody else has to pay. So kind of be in mind about that. And also do radio shows, do podcasts, do everything that you had to do to pound the street, get the people to know that your movies playing at this event and haven't come out. Now of course, if it's a virtual event due to the exact same thing. So your movies coming out on this website that the festival is hosting. And you want to do same thing. We want to get as many eyes on it as possible. Same process. It's all about marketing, building up word of mouth, and to let people know that you exist. That's how it all works. The festivals are not gonna do that for you. They will offer the incentive of having your poster or all your information into the programs. But typically if you want to have it like big and bold on like the back of the program cover or like a page. Then they'll probably ask for a big fee for that and you could do it or you can't. Either way, you gotta find ways if you want to try to save money and still build word-of-mouth to use the resources available to you to get a right to know your movies coming out on that day, date, time and that this festival. And the more people you get to see it, then that builds what more word of mouth and you built your audience pretty much from the next movie. So that's generally how film festivals work. And, you know, there's obviously always a question of, you know, will the festival's be done in a way where I can get a distributor or to see my movie and, you know, make my money. That is possible. But you have to also kind of be mindful of which festivals you're going to that are likely to have those people there. And you know, if you can make connections with them, which is one great thing. If you'd go to certain film festivals that there are those marketing and networking opportunities. There are formed discussions where you could go listen to other filmmakers and people in the industry and have an opportunity to try to network with them, to try to let them know you exist. And if they could get to see your work, that's even better because then they'll be willing to take a chance on you. So, you know, do your due diligence with every festival that you decide to look at. Beak mindful here, money, be mindful what you're going to spend and take your chances. Anything can happen at these festivals if you're lucky enough to put in the work to promote your film. And, you know, you never know you may end up having a movie that does well, wins awards in agencies it. And then next thing you know, you're in front of some big Hollywood producers, but it's a one-in-a-million chance. So you just keep doing it for every film that you do, either just for the fun of getting the exposure or just simply because you're trying to build yourself to the next level, it's up to you what your objective is. So now for the next and last class, we are going to be talking about film distribution. 7. The Right Distributor for You: Welcome to our final class, the right distributor for you. So little disclaimer before I begin this class, we're not talking about major studio film distribution. Obviously that's a completely different animal that requires a lot of luck, a lot of work, and God bless you if you can make it happen. I'm only going to focus on my own experience in independent film and having to films of mine that actually did get distributed by smaller companies. So that will be my focus here, not on major studios. When you jump into this business, the expectation is that you make your film, you get it out there, you go to festivals, you want awards. And then you're hoping that a major company that puts out films in theaters or on DVD will be able to take your movie and put it out to the world. And if it's hugely successful and you've got the next Blair Witch Project or the next paranormal activity than you're expecting to make some big box. It's a one-in-a-million shot at that ever happens. And the reality is that the rivers of film distribution are very treacherous. And I've known that from the very beginning because I've experience dose bad deals at the start of my career. And then eventually got smarter and learned how to navigate those waters well enough that Windows deals came about. I could separate the two between what was illegitimate and what was going to get me where I needed to go in my career. You know, obviously you want to have that plan, as we've mentioned all throughout this class of knowing where your movie's gonna Go ahead of time. So if you're looking to get a major distributor to put your movie out, whether it's on DVD and Blu-ray or in the theaters, or just NAD streaming platforms that we have today. The best place to start is the American film market. It's one of the largest film distribution conventions in the world. Were all the major companies, both from the studios as well as the independence come out. And they do their presentations and are also out there to make sales and to meet with people in the industry who have films that they can sell that they feel will fit their market. And so to various different outlets. And for me when I got started and I had my last feature film in the process of being looked at. I went on to the American Film markets website where they have a list of all the vendors that go to the festival every year. And one by one, there's links to their websites so you can get their information on where you could contact the people who handle acquisitions and get a look at their catalog to see what kind of movies they've put out. Films that may have stars, maybe no stars, maybe they have a preference to a specific genre. These are good sites to go and check out and see what's best for you. And contact these people, you know, write a query letter or make a phone call, tell them you have your movie out there. Maybe try to see if he could present the trailer and see if they're interested. You're likely to get quite a few responses from people that will either say, We're not interested, we liked the idea, or maybe say, hey, we want to check out the screener and send it to us when you can. So what happens if that comes to be if you do get somebody to look at your movie, well, make sure you have all your stuff together in terms of getting your movie copywritten. I suggest if you're in America to do it with the Library of Congress, make sure your script is copyright and make sure you have all the protections for your film before you send it out to anybody. Just to protect yourself and avoid the risk of getting your movie potentially pirated or potentially the idea being stolen. And then that becomes a whole mess that you don't want to deal with. Okay? So now you're gonna probably get bombarded with a lot of different deals. And nine times out of ten, if you're in the industry, sometimes you might get a certain company that will email you directly and say, Oh yeah, we saw your movie somewhere. Maybe they really haven't. But they probably saw like the listing on the Internet Movie Database or some other website. And they're going to tell you, hey, you know, we're interested in seeing your movie. Now, I say, do your due diligence with any company that comes to you directly because more than likely they have not seen any of your work day, just maybe heard the title, maybe they notice genre. And ultimately they go and say, well a, you know, just send a movie to us. We want to make a deal with you. And that's the dangerous pitfall that everybody falls into. Or they think that all of a sudden a distributor wants their movie that badly that they contact you, add a blue. And usually that's not always the case and that's where you end up in that trap if you don't know the business well enough. I know for a fact that on one of my earlier films, I had, through my producers, gotten a contact through a company all the way out in the west coast that apparently saw our trailer and wanted to pick the film up. And they sent us a contract. We didn't have a lawyer look at it. We just thought, oh, you know, it just looks good enough. And they're gonna do their job. And they showed us a catalog of the stuff that they put out and we unwisely signed it. And then the next thing, you know, we didn't hear anything for a while. And by the time we found out that the movie had been released, it was on a platform that nobody could find. And if you could find it, you had to pay a monthly subscription in order to see all the movies on this particular channel that no one could find. And I'll be honest, a lot of my fans did not want to pay one price per month just so they could see my one filling get locked into something that they have a hard time getting out of. So we weren't really successful at that and we didn't see any money from it. And so that was a big mistake that we made in the beginning. And, you know, again, that was the problem that we just did fully vet that particular situation. So anytime you get o contract or any kind of agreement, make sure you have a really good lawyer that looks at all the fine print because your lawyer is going to know if that deal is going to benefit you with your objectives. What if you're looking to make money or if you're looking just to get your career going and get the exposure. If it's a deal that your movie's gonna get locked up in a library for several years and not get, not be seen in the light of day. Then you'll Lori is going to tell you just that if it's a bad deal. So be sure that you do all your research, find out what kind of movies they've put out. And more importantly, when you look at those titles, check to see who the filmmakers are and see if you can find them on social media. And which I didn't directly, there's no harm in it. Just try to find out, you know, hey, you know, you've got your movie release for this company. How did it work out? Did you see any money from it? Did you get exposure? And I'll tell you the truth if the if it's worked out for them or not. And I think you have to speak to as many of them as possible before you make it to any agreement that you think will be beneficial. And that helped me a great deal with my last movie, vendetta games, where I actually did go and speak to a number filmmakers through the distributor that offer me the particular deal that I got. And nobody really had a bad thing to say about them. And I spoke to enough of them to really have that confidence between that and speaking to my lawyer to make the go-ahead. I have no regrets about it up until this point. So what you get faced with these contracts as you're negotiating with your distributor, you're going to see two different types of deals depending on who is approaching you. There's the gross deal and node knows the net deal. Now, I'm going to try to do my best in layman's terms to explain the difference between the two, a gross deal is profit of film makes after deducting costs associated with making and selling the film. So for example, in the case of my movie vendetta games, I didn't have to spend anything in terms of getting my movie sent out to accompany maybe just a little bit in terms of getting a hard drive to put the movie on and then having to ship it out. But I didn't have to pay extra expenses on marketing materials or having to do anything extra to the movie like color correction or new sound mix. Basically, you hand them the movie. And then whatever expenses that have to go into the marketing and promotion, the company will take care of that. Now, how do you make money? Well, that's the tricky part, because different companies will put a cap on the exact amount that they're willing to spend with marketing your movie and going out to the different festivals and film markets to try to sell your film to outside distributors in the world. And so you don't see any funds directly to you until doze expenses that they do are recouped fruit a sales with the movie. You might think, well that's kinda risky. But if your movie is successful enough and if it's promoted, right, you may see a return a lot faster. And in other cases, you would have to wait a little while before you see anything. But the thing is, the company has to make their money back with what they spent to promote your movie before you start seeing any checks. A net deal is the total earnings calculated by taking rather than use and subtracting costs of doing business, IE, interests, taxes, and other expenses. The company will say, hey, we want to take your movie. But if we're going to accept it, There's a, B, and C it you have to do. And so they will in all likelihood make you go out and have to basically spend extra money on things that they need, like legal fees and E and O insurance, which is basically if you have logos or things that are copywritten that appear on your movie, they have to have a special type of insurance to make sure that if those companies tried to come after the film production, that this insurance covers you on that and other little fees, as I mentioned, like they may have you pay for color correction and are things that come out of your pocket. And even after you agree to the deal, it's very likely that even morph those expenses that go into promotion are going to be sucked up by whatever moneys get made. So, you know, if you're going and you're company is again, having to spend all this money, then likely you may not see much of anything because it's like, hey, we got your movie. But we just spend lake an extravagant amount and we're really having the socket up in terms of the income, is now going to have to be used to pay for all of these additional expenses. And chances are they may fit you with the bill than if you have a gross deal where it's all taken care of by it down, and then you get your check. Now, you may ask me, In my opinion, was the better deal, the gross dealer to not deal? Well. I've encountered both contracts and I can tell you for a fact that usually if you get approach with a net deal ten times, nine times out of ten, those deals are going to be the ones that, for one day didn't look at your movie. They just want to have another movie into integer library. Secondly, those net deals I could offer to you are the same ones that Dale and give you a limited amount of time to sign the contract, which means you don't have troubles on time for your lawyer to look at the paperwork. And I've seen that before where I had been approached with contracts that they say, hey, you got ten days assigned to us or to Deal's off. But you may not know exactly all the exact terms. And also to just the idea that they may fit you with inexpensive bill after everything is all done and then you have more money having to come out of your pocket just for the distributor to put the work out there. That's a little unfair. Now, Gross deal for some may not be much better either because you would have to obviously wait for a movie to recoup whatever expenses that the distributor caps and back and take time. But there is the reward if in fact your movie is pushed and it's successful enough that you do see money rolling in after a couple of months to a year, maybe two years. But the trick is to be patient. Now, many of you might also ask are dare deals where you can get up from money? The answer is yes. But that too will take a lot of vetting a lot of time and research. To. First of all, you have to have a quality film that a distributor will look at and say, hey, we think this is amazing. We think this can go to cons. We think this can play in theaters. That's where you really want to have the upper hand in negotiations to get whatever little upfront money that is possible. And I've heard usually to cap is about 15 thousand on some occasions. And then of course, bigger indie films that get into the major festivals will probably get even bigger deals and Nat, but on a smaller scale, expectations would have to be a little bit more realistic. Which is also another aspect of this. Which is when you get into this, you have to understand one thing that not everybody is going to become a millionaire overnight. So just because you made the movie and you think for a second that you're going to be the next big in the splash that's going to kick the door down. I think that ego's gotta be dropped right away. Be realistic about exactly what you want to accomplish with your movie. So if you're looking to make money, hold out until you can get the best deal possible and work with legitimate distributor dot. You know, we'll get your film on major platforms, in theaters, on Blu-ray and DVD and stores. And push your film as hard as possible, even if it is in the midst of a large library of catalogued movies of the may own. On the other hand, if you believe in it enough that you're willing to hold off on it. Then keep waiting, but you also don't want to miss the boat and your movie ages out either. So it's all about timing, patience, and doing your due diligence throughout this whole process. When you look at these deals that you get off for, there's also other things you want to look at. First of all, how wide world or reach B. Well, thankfully, my movie vendetta games was able to get out into a number of different platforms, not just in the United States, but also in the United Kingdom and Canada, Australia, Belize and God knows where else, because they've put my movie out on a bunch of Amazon platforms. And it's so that was the biggest thing was for my film to be translated all over the world. And to see some, you know, some might come at it from it. So that's one thing you'll wanna do is to see how wide is the reaches. It only going to be in one territory or is it going to be expanded into more? Because I feel like the wider reach you can get to build your audience and any continent in any language. The batter. I think that's why horror films tend to do to best, because that stuff, you don't have to really rely heavily on dialogue. So those type of movies that are more visually stunning will probably translate the best with outside countries as opposed to a film like a comedy that may work well in the US, but the humor may not play well. And other places where they don't get the joke. That's just my opinion on that matter. And another important thing goes, we want to keep in mind about what distribution time limit. So you'll look at these deals and they will tell you that if you signed as deal, your film is going to be exclusive to that one and only company for term, typically seven years, and you could get out of it. But that requires you to bring your lawyer and legal fees that you have to pay for. And that becomes a whole gigantic process. If you feel like you're unhappy and you want to get out of your contract. So be mindful that if you lock into a deal, you're gonna probably be stocked with it until that deal rolls over. By which point you'll either take action and you pull out as it's about to close up, or you just automatically let a rollover. That's what you have to decide between yourself and your attorney on our thing to look out when you see these deals is, will they do anything to control the movie creatively? So if you've already done the editing, you've done the music, you've done the sound effects. Then the next thing you know, you have to make sure that they're not going to alter your movie in any way. So if you have your vision intact, make sure I didn't define parent unless you talk to these people that they're not going to alter your movie in anyway, possible. There may be, you know. It's broadcasts on network TV. They may have to censor things. Of course. They may even decide, you know, to, to cut up bits and pieces of the film and maybe try to market it in a different way. But just know what you're getting yourself into before you get into those details because you don't want to suddenly go surprise where all of a sudden you see your movie on a streaming platform and voices are dub music spam replays, and that's not what you had intended to do. What they will do is probably redo your trailer, redo your poster, and probably some other changes and materials in terms of the marketing. And sometimes you'll have a little bit of this hay on it, but only to a degree, because ultimately it's the platforms and the retailers that are going to make those decisions on what they're willing to put up on their shelves, what they're willing to put up under sites. So just be mindful of that. And that's also a place where you have to sort of keep your expectations realistic and not have a big ego about it. So now, if you do sign your deal, what are they going to ask for? So the distributor is going to ask for a couple of items and these are the basics, the last for the film in two formats. They'll ask for a master copy, which will probably be like, as I mentioned, like a DCP. And that's going to take them an entire hard drive. So make sure you have one that's completely blank and has enough space that you can export the movie onto it. They'll ask for just a regular screener copies so that could just be lower than the master copy. They will ask for your audio tracks added. They have to be separated so you have to make sure that the audio you send will be to dialogue, to music, the sound effects, and anything good or anything additional lake narration. They'll probably also asked for proof of your films copyrights. So once you copyright with your local government, then you have to get a certificate and they're going to have to want that as part of the delivery. So this way, it proves your ownership of the film, though also asks for a dialogue cue sheet. Now this is also important. So basically, let's say if you follow the script or you didn't, you still go back through the movie and you have to write out every single piece of dialogue, every single piece of sound effects that play on screen. And write down the time codes one-day start when they stop. The reason being is every distributor has to have their film in closed caption for the hearing impaired. So they have to take if to a captioning company already do in a program where all the dialogue has to be translated into that. And then ultimately habit available for closed caption option when the film is released. So that has to be sent to them for that very purpose. There's no way of avoiding that. And also a music cue sheets. So whatever music you use, you gotta write out one that music plays the name who'd artist is their publisher, and any other important legal details. So That's why it's also kind of critical that whoever your composer for your movie is or any artists that you have, allowing for their music to be used in a movie, makes sure that your deals are set in stone with them in advance. So there's no catches later on. Because they, they probably will get a trick or two at the movie cells. But at the same time, it's still their property. So that becomes a whole big legal issue that you have to make sure you talk with your lawyer and narrow lawyers to make sure that that soul properly cleared. And I'll probably also asked for any other materials like you're still pictures, your posters, or at least the posters that you may have wanted to use them or not. But the stills will be important because if they do want to redesign your post or then I'll want to use DO stills and use Photoshop or whatever program they have to create new materials for the marketing. And There's probably some other small things without those are the basics and the polyester to square up and other materials. Just again, to prove this is the product, this is the finished film. Decides who owns it, who stars in it. They'll want the credit sheet which will put onto the posters and all the descriptions on any streaming site. And that's that. And then they pretty much do to work and it'll take a couple of months before you see your movie out. And when it happens, it's a very exciting thing. And you just pop it proteomics money or get exposure to get your face out there and hopefully you build your career and get more work out of it. 8. Final Thoughts: The most important part of any deal that you ultimately enter into with a film distributor is transparency. And the most important thing to me when I made my deal for my film Vendetta Games was that I could speak directly to the people who are running the company. Because it's one thing. If your corresponding through emails and you really don't have a face to match with the very people that you're dealing with, that you're handling your baby to. And for me, it was important that for the company that I made to deal with, that, I had a chance to meet with the CEO of the company, which I've managed to do because fortunately, I had a film festival that I was accepted to in Las Vegas. Word accompany happens to be located. And I arranged a meeting with the CEO just to talk to him for about an hour about what my objectives were, what I wanted to do with the movie. And just so he could put a face to me and I'm not just another filmmaker dot is just from my movie out to them. So it's always important that any of these deals that you do, that the company is honest with you and you're honest with the company and try to see eye to eye with them as best as possible. Because that is the only thing that will help you really sleep at night. If you're going to enter into a deal that will require you to make some sacrifices and roll the dice. Everything is a crap shoot. There's no guarantee of any level of success once your movie gets picked up. So you just have to make sure that you know the people and what their reputation is. And this way, you have a better sense of your reach, your audience and you know the chances of the success that you could have. What ROP moderate, or if it's going to be huge. But you never want to set yourself so high that you end up having a huge disappointment on your hands. And don't be afraid to make mistakes in the beginning, you know, it's a learning process and it's taken me years before I was ever able to really figure all this out and I'm still learning every day. You know, I still have not honestly gotten the upfront money deal for any of my work, but I feel like SIM prove in the business that that day will eventually come. And so there's only so much I could say about film distribution. And one other thing that I would probably be asked is, What about salt distribution? Why just bypass all that craziness and just put your movie out yourself? Well, yeah, you could totally do tat. Self distribution is becoming more and more of a common thing for filmmakers who don't trust any company and believed that they could saw the movie on their own. Thankfully, companies like Amazon have the ability to let you just submit your movie. And as long as you have all your materials in place, then they'll put it up. For streaming through selling it on a DVD and Blu-Ray. As long as everything is packaged properly. And you can make sales and you could totally even make your own copies of your films and use PayPal and set up a website where they can make the order or put it up on YouTube. And if you're have specific subscription or Vimeo OnDemand, you can try to sell your movie for a couple of bucks, for a rental fee, or just to own. So there's other ways you could do it by yourself. But everything that I talked about in this class is still very vital. You still gotta do your own marketing. You're still going to have to probably pay their own expenses to promote. And you gotta, gotta, have a team. And that's the only way that you're going to have that level of success. You're going to build an audience and build your brand. It's all about all those keys to build that word of mouth that get your film scene. You know, and I'll be honest, distributors can only do so much because they're pumping out, God knows how many movies a year. So they're not going to always make your movie to priority. You have to do it out on your own. And so anytime that you're gonna consider destroy the self distribution route, That's what you're going to have to do. You have to make sure you got a strong marketing plan. That means your reach and what you're willing to spend to make sure you build that word of mouth and get your movie out there. And, you know, you go beyond your friends and your family to do so. And you can be very successful at it. I know people that have done it and so yeah, take that chance to there is no limit to what you can do in the self distribution world. I would say that I've only cover maybe 50% of what Indie film distribution knows all about. Because it was still experiences I've not had yet. And other things I've only spoken about in layman's terms that are far more complicated once you get lawyers involved and once you talk to certain people in the business. So I'm only talking from my own experience of what I've encountered as something of the basics of what you encounter in the world of film distribution. I highly recommend a book called What Film Schools Don't Tell You by Kelly Schwarze. Kelly Schwarze is a filmmaker front of mine based on Las Vegas, who runs the indie film Factory, which is a small studio out there in the Las Vegas area that allows you to print out their space for making films, doing photo shoots and so forth. I consider him a little bit of a mentor to me in terms of navigating the waters of film distribution. And I think honestly his book not only gives you some really good insights on how to make a film on a low cost, but also how to navigate those waters in film distribution at film festivals. So I highly recommend checking out his book, which is available on Amazon and other retailers out there. He's a great guy and I think he could also expand on a lot of what I discussed here in this class than fortunately anybody that I know to be quite honest. And so I highly recommend it. That's all I gotta say there. So that's all the points that I can make about indie film distribution. And my hope for this class is that my experiences, what I've been able to offer a knowledge will be at least the foundation for your journey. To have your warm get out there to be seen on the world. And there are plenty of other great filmmakers out there, Monitor on skill share or he could find a month or YouTube or anywhere in the social media sphere, will get probably go even beyond what I've been able to experience. They give you even greater insight on how the whole entire industry works. And so hopefully this will beat out Launchpad for that. And to inspire you to say Listen, it's treacherous, it's tough, and it takes a lot of hard work and a lot of patients. But if you believe in your work enough and depending on how bad you want that success, based on your expectations, possibilities are limitless. And I encourage you guys to just compete making movies, keep doing your thing no matter how short it is, no matter how long it is. Get your work out there and just be cautious as possible when you're right against the distribution world, but also be as motivated to succeed. So thank you for taking the time to take this class and please leave any of your materials for your trailers, posters, and marketing materials, all in the project gallery. And I'll be more than happy to give feedback and thoughts and comments to guide you through the entire process as best as possible. So thank you again, man, and keep on making movies. See you next time.