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Advice for newbie (first time doc just finished) as to how to distribute it

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  • Advice for newbie (first time doc just finished) as to how to distribute it

    I am a newbie filmmaker and just completed a two-hour historical documentary.

    Here's a link where you can watch the first 15 minutes:

    FirstDayoftheAmericanRevolutionDocumentary.yondo.c om

    (Highlight link and right click and select open hyperlink OR select GO TO. If link does not work then simply copy and paste the link exactly as it is - into your browser)

    I have been in sales for 20 years (but not film sales) so I am pretty good at marketing however I realize this is a totally different type of thing. I'm thinking about mailing the disc around to different tv stations, and various outlets - including educational outlets. I already emailed a few stations the link to my website but they said they wanted to get it in disc format.

    I also - as you will see - already have it available for live streaming.

    What advice do you seasoned, experienced, expert professionals have for me?

    I emailed it around to a few distributors and got sent a contract by one of them but then I found this - here on filmmaker forum so I will advoid this pitfall BUT just wondering what advice you seasoned, experienced, expert professionals have for a newbie as far as marketing/selling my documentary?

    Ok - yes - I did all of the reading where many people say that making money w a doc is a long-shot - so I understand that but want to give it shot anyways.

    "Hi I signed with them since I had a film prepped and ready to go? having made 6 features and gotten really ROBBED blind on my first one! I think I know a thing to two? Try to keep some rights and only give either domestic or foreign for limited times, minimums they seek are 5-7. If you can keep electronic rights but many won't go for that. I did the 100% deal with NAME DELETED, and they are nice guys who did a great job packaging the film. If you try to make deals yourself I can all but BET your film will be stolen by unscrupulous distributors that bundle it in packages and sell it with 100 others at the big film markets like AFM or Berlin etc. they find ways to add expenses on your tab so you never see a dime? I got 225- total from my first film that cost about $30,000 to make. It was everywhere on TV, pay per view, stores, streaming etc and the bastards looted me! Its a losing deal and I say after six films, if you can't afford it or you!re not blowing up like. Paranormal Activity etc, you're not going to make $$! I made a high quality feature with a connected industry guy and we will be lucky if we get $30,000 total after he sells it worldwide, that will cover our costs but no big profit. The market is fixed against indy films, and studios control all markets etc. hate to be a party pooper but there's the reality? a wealthy associate of mine spent 7 million on a quasi horror with name talent and it sat for 2 years with no one interested in it! He lost the money and is suing the director and co that made it. Fat chance right? he knows the Weinsteins! di capris, F if ty Cent and still could not break in the fixed market, so again unless you just love the art and have $$ to blow, get another career, or just work as crew on films, at least there's a paycheck! Best of luck."

  • #2
    Welcome to Filmmaker Forum! And congrats on finishing your documentary - that's damn impressive.

    Do you have it listed on IMDB? I couldn't find it.

    I've completed and released 2 indie features - Surviving Family and DETOURS. I had several distribution offers on them, but opted to use Distribber to release them (FYI - this site is run by Nick Soares, who is also the CEO of Distribber).

    My conclusion was - and still is - that I will do better retaining the rights and receiving the revenue, as distributors are simply not going to do a whole lot to promote a low profile movie.
    Screenwriter and script consultant:


    • #3
      Congrats on finishing your doc! Documentaries are a labor of love, but in the modern Film era, there are many more avenues to release your film and people have accessibility at their fingertips to find new and exciting content. Documentaries are more popular than ever.

      I suggest you talk to a distribution expert at Distribber and let them give you more information not only on the company but on self distribution as well.


      • #4
        Ok thanks Alex. I am only just now starting to market my doc - I haven't made an effort yet, other than sending an email to about 10 distributors. I will definitely check ouit distribber. This is the first time I heard of them - well of course, I saw their ad at the top of this thread. I'll be contacting them!


        • #5
          Thanks. I'll check out Distribber. What were YOUR result w Distribber? What were your results w IMDB? I just took a quick look at their website. Looks like it's 149 to sign up w them? IF you tell me you sold lots of your work through them - or even a little - I will join.


          • #6
            The $149 is the cost to join IMDb Pro - you don't need to do that. You just want to have your film listed on there - it's very much the "go to" place where people look for the basic info on any movie.

            There are a few different ways to get it listed - probably the simplest for you would be to do it via WithoutABox. That site is mostly used to submit movies to film festivals, but WAB is owned by IMDb (which in turn is owned by Amazon FYI), so by setting up your film info on WAB you can get a page on IMDb.
            Screenwriter and script consultant:


            • #7
              OK - thanks. Do you mind if I ask - are you generating sales off of Distribber and IMDB? I don't mind listing my doc on IMDB but only if it generates sales. I can't tell from what you said if its more of just a place to list your movie of if it generates sales?


              • #8
                IMDb has nothing to do with sales except in the sense that people expect every "real" movie to be listed there. I strongly recommend that you do it - and it shouldn't cost anything - if you want it to be taken seriously.

                I used Distribber to get Surviving Family on iTunes and Amazon Prime, and to get DETOURS on Amazon Prime. I do generate sales from those, yes. But you should certainly investigate the various options that are available to get your movie out to the world before choosing what's for you.
                Screenwriter and script consultant: