Idiots' Diary #2: Indie Distribution is not Self Distribution
Many people think that if you can't get the Weinsteins or Sony Picture Classics to distribute your film then it must be crap. Perhaps for some films that may be the case, but let me talk about the differences between indie distribution and self distribution.
I showed Idiots & Angels to all the big guys in indie distribution and they all passed on it. They said they liked the film but weren't sure how they could distribute the film. Valid point. All of the indie distributors are geared for films that are live action, have name actors, and have big talent agencies behind them. I have none of those: it's animated, no voices actors, and no talent agencies or investors involved in the film. I simply made it myself. So a lot of distributors are reluctant to handle a film with so little going for it, in traditional terms.
So if no one wants to take my film to the cinemas, what options do I have?
- Put it on the internet for free and got a lot of publicity but no money.
- Put it on the shelf and forget about it.
- Find a distributor who will get your film out to a good number of cinemas, but because it was so expensive to distribute the film, all the royalties that I was to receive end up being spent on publicity.
- Self distribution. Now, I know that's a dirty word. It's supposedly for filmmakers who have crap films. But hold on Bucko! There are a lot of wonderful films that have done quite well with self-distribution, and sometimes it's really the only option if you want to make your investment back.
Here's the downside: it's a helluva lot of work. You have to learn how to become a distributor. You must make trailers, posters, flyers, postcards, press kits, hire a PR person, take out ads, make personal appearances, talk to all the press that's available and on and on. It's a never-ending chore that consumes all your time and most of your money. But you know what? If you want your film to be seen, and hopefully make some money, it's the only way to go!
Next Idiots' Diary, I look for a cinema.