sponsors

Sponsor Spotlight: EggUp on the sunny side of DIY

Today’s spotlight is on one of our DIY service sponsors, EggUp a company providing secure downloads of independent films and the associated extra content usually found on DVDs. Orly asked a few questions via email of Chris Lucero, EggUp’s Marketing Director. So here’s a bit about them:

Eggup is a media distribution and piracy solution for online viewing of films

Eggup is a Do-It-Yourself distribution platform that allows filmmakers to sell their films securely online.

OR-What is an Egg?
CL-An Egg takes a .mov or .mp4 file and and encrypts it into a secured “shell.” Within that shell, material can be uploaded such as epk’s, added bonus materials such as mp3 movie soundtracks, jpg movie posters, information on live screenings, text files like ebooks or educational materials. Up to two advertisements can also be inserted and viewed if the filmmaker has sponsorship that they need to highlight. The Egg file can then be passed around to anyone interested in finding out more about the film. The film contained within it can only be viewed in full once it is purchased and a customized player must be downloaded in order for the Egg to be viewed. Our application (Fried Rice) that only the content owners have access to, enables them to create an Egg, update the Egg and they have ability to global pause, global resume and even global delete from a consumer’s computer. The creator can choose how long the film can be accessed (1-30 days) and on how many computers. So if the individual purchases the Egg for 2 days viewing and 2 computer transfers, they will have the ability to make a copy of that Egg and move it to another computer. By logging into the Egg, it will allow the individual to view it on that computer. However if the individual transfers the Egg to a 3rd computer, the Egg will prompt the individual that they would need to make another purchase,

OR-What do you think is special about it as a DIY platform?

CL-

• Provides top notch security for your film to prevent piracy.
• Secured film available to consumers by download, instant stream, iPhone, iPad, Android.
• Full control of your film. Add, edit, delete pricing, content and images in real time.
• Marketing tools for filmmakers such as embedding films securely into 3rd party websites.
• Affiliate feature: Allow filmmaker to add affiliates and build an army of salesmen to sell their film securely. Affiliates get paid by per transaction %.
• Country Restrictions Feature: Half of the films using Eggup’s platform got distribution deals before they signed up with us. However, the distribution rights are only for certain regions. The filmmakers simply uses our platform to do country restriction. So it’s available in other parts of the world. Not only that, some of the filmmakers received distribution deals after using our platform and they simply login to our platform and restrict the countries where the rights have sold in real time. This really compliments the distributors and filmmakers.

OR-What success stories do you want to share about films on EggUP?

CL-

• We’ve recently won the Living Labs Anti-Piracy Competition held in Stockholm, Sweden. We will now be partnering up with the government of Nigeria to utilize our platform with Nollywood films; the 3rd largest film industry in the world. They want to focus on distributing their content to the world securely.
• Major Bollywood distributors and film studios are signing up because they are frustrated with piracy and unable to distribute their content out of their country. They see our platform as a way to cut major expenses and obstacles to make it easier to profit and not worry about being pirated.

Here are a few of the many happy filmmakers using EggUp: Stu Dodge – Nerd of the Living Dead (Atlanta, Georgia); Marco – Squatter Town (Hong Kong); Edgy Lee – MMA808 Inside Hawaii’s Fight Game (Hawaii); Solomon Mac-Auley – Nollywood Hustlers (Nigeria)

OR-What are the best ways for films to use EggUp?

CL-Current filmmakers are embedding their secured Films into 3rd party websites such as blogs and online magazines that generate heavy traffic whenever they do reviews or interviews. They’re savvy enough to ride the momentum to convert viewers into sales.

OR-What are the fee structures and terms for filmmakers who use EggUp?

CL-

70% filmmaker | 30% EggUp  (per transaction)

• Pricing Options: $0.99 – $999.99

• Filmmaker and Eggup are paid instantly for every transaction

• transaction fee: 5% + $0.05 (paypal micro payment)

Terms:

• Non exclusive

• filmmaker controls their content

Media Available for Consumer:

• iPhone

• iPad

• Android

• Stream on computers

• Download on computers

 

OR-What type of films work best via EggUp?

CL-

1. Filmmakers who want to profit from their passion (film) vs. giving it away for free or don’t care about being pirated.

2. Films that appeal to both domestic and international market.

3. Films that target consumers who have basic internet knowledge.
Currently, more than half of our signups are indie and foreign distributors because they themselves are frustrated with the traditional distribution model. They would hear about us from their filmmakers. Film Festivals are approaching us to team up and allow them to distribute their festival films online securely since many filmmakers are looking into other methods of distribution to generate multiple streams of income.

Big thanks to EggUp and all of our sponsors for believing in our book and being dedicated to helping independent filmmakers get the knowledge they need to make beneficial decisions. You can find more great information and real experiences in Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul Presented by Prescreen and Area23a Movie Events releasing in September 2011. Also like us on Facebook and follow our Twitter stream #syfnotsys.

Sponsor Spotlight: Gravitas Ventures

One of our Affiliate Sponsors is Gravitas Ventures and we are very happy they are willing to support our initiative of bringing experience and knowledge about the world of independent film distribution today to filmmakers worldwide.  Here is some information about how Gravitas is helping to make independent films succeed in digital and cable VOD distribution.

What services does Gravitas provide to independent filmmakers?
Gravitas is one of the largest distributors of independent content to the Video-on-Demand (VOD) marketplace.  The company is solely focused on VOD and all of its windows and business models (transactional, subscription, and ad-sponsored).  Gravitas can place a film into more than 100 Million VOD homes in North America all at the same time while focusing on marketing tactics that work to move the sales needle.
What factors determine a good film fit for Gravitas to work with?
Gravitas is looking for independent content that is well produced and recognizable cast always helps.  The company would like to see that the film has a built in audience already or one that can be captured.  Gravitas handles VOD on dozens of films every year that have a theatrical release either before VOD or increasingly at the same time or “day and date” with VOD release.
Name recent film successes that your company has helped?
On the narrative side: Alabama Moon—family film starring John Goodman and Jimmy Bennett; A Matador’s Mistress an epic period romance starring Penelope Cruz and Adrien Brody,  IP Man  and IP Man 2—outstanding martial arts films out of Hong Kong starring Donnie Yen; My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend—a well produced romantic comedy staring Alyssa Milano and Christopher Gorham that is a Top 20 mainstay on Hulu and Page 8 a sexy spy thriller starring Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz, and Ralph Fiennes.
On the documentary side: The Elephant in the Living Room—will be in more than 100 million homes at the end of August and tells the story of the tens of thousands of Americans who keep exotic pets—lions, bears, tigers, poisonous snake, etc.—at their homes; Fat Sick and Nearly Dead –is an uplifting docu about two men who fight disease with unconventional methods that has been a Top 10 renting documentary on iTunes all summer; and  America the Beautiful 2: the Thin Commandments—second in the series from director Darryl Roberts about America’s obsession with image and being skinny, will be available day and date across  North America VOD and in theaters in October 2011.

Alabama Moon's page on the Time Warner cable VOD menu

Do you work directly with filmmakers or do you prefer submissions come through a sales agent? Do you visit markets or festivals in search of titles or are titles usually brought to you?
We’ll take submissions from the filmmakers directly or from sales agents, producer reps, talent agencies, or other distributors.  Gravitas will look at over 2,000 titles each year.  Some of these are sent to us by people we know, but many are also unsolicited.  Gravitas also covers the major markets and festivals to actively look for product including, AFM, Sundance, SXSW, Cannes, Toronto, Berlin, and Tribeca.
Is Gravitas willing to work with other vendors to coordinate a release? How far in advance of release do you need to be involved?
In situations where rights are split among different distributors, coordination is key.  In 2011, distributors need to work in concert to manage windows and territories.  The sooner we can be involved in a project the better. We’re working on films now that won’t be in the VOD marketplace until 2Q 2012—we like to get involved at least 6 months before a films VOD/DVD debut date.
After a film is accepted, take us through the process of getting it onto VOD and other platforms. About how long does it take, what elements need to be created or provided by the filmmaker? What elements are created or provided by Gravitas?
Each film is different, but to have the best chance for the widest carriage and distribution, we need to license a film at least 6 months before the desired VOD debut date.   Cable operators and online VOD platforms schedule their programming well in advance.   Generally we don’t have our Licensors create deliverables until we know exactly what the VOD opportunity is—as we are very cognizant of costs.   We will have our Licensor work with one of a handful of labs/post houses to ensure work is done right the first time and so that our Licensors can take advantage of volume discounts labs will afford them because it’s a Gravitas title.   The burden of deliverables is on the Licensor, but there are very little to no distribution or marketing expenses taken by Gravitas.

The Elephant in the Living Room is on pre order status on iTunes which is normally reserved for studio films. The film launches August 23.


Do you work with international filmmakers to access the US market? Do you work with domestic filmmakers to access any overseas platforms? if so, which countries/platforms?
We work with any and all filmmakers and rights holders foreign and domestic to access the N.American VOD marketplace.   We are increasingly working with US based VOD platforms that have an international footprint to distribute our content to Canada, UK, New Zealand, Australia, Latin America, Europe, Asia and other territories as the VOD market abroad continues to mature.
Can you name typical terms for working with you?
We are happy to have business term discussions with any potential Licensor. Given our five year track record in VOD,  we are confident that on a per transaction basis, we are returning more money to our Licensors than through other avenues to the VOD marketplace.
What is the best way for a filmmaker to get in touch with you to submit a film and get the conversation started?
1.      Filmmakers can either send us screeners directly:
209 Richmond Street, El Segundo, CA 90245.
2.      Contact our Director of Acquisitions, Mel Miller: melanie [at] gravitasventures.com
3.      You may also submit a film or trailer through our website: www.gravitasventures.com
Thanks again to all at Gravitas Ventures for sponsoring our book so that we can bring you tons of information on what is happening in the world of independent film distribution. Keep following our posts here for more information on the book Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul Presented by Prescreen releasing in September 2011, like us on Facebook and follow our Twitter stream #syfnotsys.

Sponsor Spotlight: Dynamo Player

Our Official Sponsor is Dynamo Player and we are thrilled to have them. The tool they provide to independent filmmakers is amazing and renders the whole notion of needing a distributor to handle your film’s digital rights obsolete. With Dynamo Player, filmmakers can reach worldwide audiences on the internet by embedding the video viewer on their own website and by having a film’s fans embed it on their websites or blogs. Prices are set by the filmmaker, payment is immediate via Paypal and a monthly statement is sent letting you know how many streams were sold, geographic information, and where the traffic originated. Better than waiting a year to get a statement from a traditional distributor!

Recently, I talked with Rob Millis, CEO of Dynamo Player, about all of the capabilities of the player.

Explain a little about what the Dynamo platform does? Why is it a benefit for filmmakers and film audiences?

“Dynamo enables any filmmaker to immediately upload their film, set a price, publish the film on their own site and elsewhere with no up-front costs or monthly fees. Filmmakers receive 70% of every transaction, every time, with no hidden costs, no matter what features they use and they get paid immediately by every viewer, no matter where they watch the film. They can include a free trailer, supplemental videos, multiple language versions and other bonus material at no additional cost. You no longer need a DVD to include all of your great content!”

Filmmaker Edward Burns uses Dynamo Player for his film "Nice Guy Johnny"

Does Dynamo take any rights over the work?

“None at all. Dynamo is a completely non-exclusive service. We believe strongly that filmmakers should not have to give up rights in order to reach their audience directly.”

Is your platform difficult to access for the majority of filmmakers? Are there special qualifications needed to use your service (ie, prestigious festival inclusion, favorable major publication reviews, large web traffic or social media presence)?

“Dynamo is as easy to access as any online video platform, with no restrictions or qualifications and is available for any legal content you own the rights to, excepting pornography.”

How does a viewer pay to watch a stream and how does the rights owner get paid?

“Viewers pay easily with PayPal, Amazon or credit card in just a couple of clicks. A single-click auto-debit option is coming soon as well. Payments are made to the rights holder by PayPal or Amazon, on-demand, at any time. Some filmmakers get paid every week if they want and we are happy to write checks for high volume publishers. Dynamo accepts all currencies and works in any country.”

Do you send statements to the filmmaker to show number of sales and if so, how often?

“We provide sales numbers and a range of related data by day, week, month or by a custom range of dates. Sales statistics are immediately available, so there is never a need to wait for a monthly report to see your sales performance, but a formal downloadable or printable monthly report will be available in July. Filmmakers can also see statistics for trailer views, player interaction, payment follow-through and more, so they can gain insight into viewer behavior and tweak the presentation of their film to boost sales.”

“Dynamo provides geographic data and an opt-out list of viewer emails. Early feedback made it clear that film sales would suffer if we required viewers to share their emails, but a majority of viewers are willing to share their email addresses with filmmakers they love.”

Can one put the viewer on other sites, including Facebook?

“Absolutely, and they should! The key to great sales is presentation and an excellent viewer experience, so filmmakers consistently see better sales on a well designed home page with a large, attractive player. Dynamo Player puts filmmakers completely in control of presentation, with a clean, scalable and understated player that can look good in any context. The vast majority of online film sales come from filmmakers’ main film sites and fan blogs though. Facebook restricts player size and presentation, and is not typically a destination for viewing. While Facebook is a great buzz machine and marketing tool, most sales we see for films published on Facebook still tend to come through clicks back to the main film site where filmmakers can present films in a more appealing way.”

Is there a special format the film needs to be in to upload to your service? Is the technical aspect of access easy to understand or is it better to work with you or someone with technical expertise?

“No special expertise required! Dynamo accepts all digital video formats and has no stringent file format restrictions. For best results, we recommend uploading a video file that is 1920×1080 in h.264 or a similar codec, but this is not necessary.”

UK filmmaker Chris Jones uses Dynamo for his short film "Gone Fishing"

Can one restrict sales by territory if a filmmaker has sold digital rights in some areas or if their theatrical/DVD distributor doesn’t want digital access to the material in some places?

“Absolutely. Filmmakers can control access by DVD Region, continent or country with a simple set of checkboxes. Dynamo enables geo-blocking at no cost because we consider it absolutely necessary for independent filmmakers to have this option while shopping their films in different markets.”

Does Dynamo help in any way with marketing or promotion of titles?

“Dynamo often includes films in public announcements, blog posts, tweets and other marketing efforts. Dynamo filmmakers have been featured in stories on IndieWire, GigaOm and other media sites, and have earned new sales when their films have been embedded within the articles.”

How long is the streaming rental period?

“Filmmakers are completely in control of the rental period and can set it to be anywhere from 6 hours to 30 days.”

Thanks again to Rob Millis and Dynamo Player for sponsoring our book so that we can bring you tons of information on what is happening in the world of independent film distribution. Keep following our posts here for more information on the book Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul Presented by Prescreen releasing in September 2011 and like us on Facebook.

 

 

Sponsor Spotlight: Prescreen

In addition to highlighting material that will be available in the book, we will be publishing information on the sponsors who are supporting our efforts to bring this information to you, especially giving us the ability to provide the free copy version. All of the sponsors are resources and tools for the indie filmmaker and we hope after learning more about them, you will seek out their services.

Today marks the launch of our Presenting Sponsor, Prescreen. Thus far, if you visited their web page, you were asked to submit an email address to be kept informed of their activities. Even I wasn’t quite clear on what they are offering until I did this interview. Prescreen curates films and distributes them via a daily email to an opt-in audience. Today, they will start accepting applications for films to be showcased on their site, but they will not accept every film. “Unlike some of the other services that currently exist, we will not be a sea of titles. We will do our best to try and create signal out of noise,” said founder and CEO Shawn Bercuson.

What will PreScreen mean for the indie filmmaker?

“For the indie filmmaker, Prescreen means you now have a viable alternative to distribution. That said, we do not intend to replace any of the existing channels, we are merely a tool to help make the marketing and distribution efforts much easier. Being featured on Prescreen means revenue instead of marketing spend, analyzing demographics of *your* audience instead of looking at the audience of comparable titles, and increasing the potential to go ‘viral.’ We give the filmmaker and distributor relevant information that they can use to maximize the success of each title.”

“We believe there is a lot of great content that exists that never finds a home or has a hard time reaching the right audience. As we all know, movie distribution has historically been a very arduous and risky endeavor for filmmakers, distributors, or studios alike; however, we now live in a world with exciting technology that enables us to communicate in real time with…everyone. If you use these tools correctly, the supply vs. demand curve can be shifted. Whereas, before content was created, money was spent, and hours of work were completed prior to the release of a film trying to create demand for a title; we can now gauge demand at the beginning of the process such that the entire endeavor is more efficient.”

Will the service cost anything, either for filmmakers or for audience? If so, what?

For moviegoers, it is free to signup to receive the Prescreen daily email. If a movie catches your eye, you have the opportunity to ‘rent’ the movie to stream. Each movie we feature lives on Prescreen for 60 days. On Day 1, the movie costs $4 and you’ll have up to 60 days to view the film; while on Days 2 – 60, the movie costs $8 and you’ll have 60 – (x days) to complete the film. Though a moviegoer has up to 60 days to complete the film, ‘renting’ on Prescreen is similar to that of any other the other mainstream steaming services and you’ll have 48 hours to complete the film once you start the stream.”

“Why 60 only days? Movies live on Prescreen for 60 days for many reasons. First, to allow a film to capture (and capitalize on) the word-of-mouth exposure that organically ensues throughout the social graph. Movies are inherently social. If all my friends are talking about a specific title, I don’t like to be left out of the conversation and I’ll want to partake. 60 days allows people to join the conversation. The second reason is piracy. As iTunes has successfully proven with the music industry, people are happy to pay for content as long as they have access to it. For example, if a movie is screening in 6 cities not named Omaha, Nebraska and I live in Omaha, my only option is to illegally download that title. 60 days allows access to content that people might otherwise be forced to get through illegal means.”

“For filmmakers and distributors, there is no out of pocket charge at any point throughout the entire Prescreen process. Prescreen is only successful if the movie is successful. Prescreen will send the filmmaker a check for 50% of the revenue generated from the sales on Prescreen along with a ‘Prescreen Performance Report’ that details all of the relevant information a filmmaker or distributor would need to continue to reach the targeted audience including: a Prescreen performance summary, detailed demographic information, the size of the addressable market, and suggested continued marketing plan.”

*NOTE*: Prescreen has a strict privacy policy that protects all of the personal information of its subscribers. All information shared with the filmmaker or distributor is aggregated and does not compromise any personal or contact information that could lead to any unwanted use or abuse.

“At any given point in time, Prescreen has up to 60 films featured on the site: 1 featured film and the 59 previous featured films. As one movie enters  our library through their feature, another one leaves. After 60 days, the filmmaker should have enough data points and insight to continue to market their film effectively and reach the right audience.”

How does one sign up for an account?

“For filmmakers and distributors, visit prescreen.com/submit. Here, you can submit your film to Prescreen to be the ‘Featured Film.’  The featured film is the highlight of our daily email that goes out to all of our subscribers and will also be the only film on our homepage for 24 hours.”

On what devices is the service geared toward viewing?

We believe that movies should live where moviegoers want to see them. Because of this, Prescreen plans to be platform agnostic and live on the web, mobile, and other connected devices like streaming TV’s, gaming consoles, and set top boxes. However, as any Prescreen engineer will tell you: ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ so we’ll start on the web and prioritize platforms based on where our audience is telling us to go.”

If you are interested in having your film considered for the service, you can start submitting today.

Keep following our posts here for more information on the book Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul Presented by Prescreen and like us on Facebook.