At long last, our book trailer is live. Thanks to filmmakers Casper Andreas, Nicolas Alcala, Ari Gold, Hunter Weeks, Nina Paley, Ben Niles, Josh Bernhard and Bracey Smith for allowing us to do video interviews. The full interviews with them will be available in the iBook premium version releasing on September 13, 2011.
Co authors Orly Ravid and Jeffrey Winter wrote a chapter on niche audience films, many that incorporated the festival circuit as a theatrical screening tour, implemented grassroots outreach to fill the screenings and book new ones in local communities and used self distribution or split rights distribution to get their films out to audiences.
One very enterprising filmmaker is Casper Andreas, producer/director of Violet Tendencies, who has released all of his films himself. Casper believes this is really the only way he will be able to repay the investors he has so they will repeatedly fund his projects.
“I never wanted to be a distributor, I never even wanted to be a producer, but in order to be able to direct films, I had to produce and in order to keep making films, I had to be sure and get the money back to my investors. When I would get some distribution deals that are frankly insulting, it was very hard to say yes to that for me. I put all this work into making the film and why should I just give it away? For very little upfront and sometimes for 25 years, with very little chance of ever making more money on it? That made me take charge and figure out a better way to do this.”
“I would love to sell my next film to a distributor and have them take that work off of my hands, but unless they are offering me enough money for it to make sense, I am not willing to do that. I have received some fair offers before, some like 50/50 split, but then why am I being charged all of the expenses for it? They will end up making more money on it than I will and it just doesn’t make sense to me. To give up my rights, I want an advance bigger than my budget was so that I can pay back my investors in full with the interest I promised them and for me to make a small amount. I make my films with practically no money for myself so for me to just let someone else have it, I have to make something for that.”
“With digital becoming a more important part of distribution, distributors now don’t want to take on DVD rights unless they also get the digital rights. Really, they still want all rights. Unless they have amazing relationships that I don’t have, why do I need that extra middleman? I want to keep the control and make my own deals. It is a lot of work and it isn’t for everybody. But it is a big consideration if it is important to you to make your money back for your investors and having the film be financially successful.”
“For my latest films “Violet Tendencies” and “Going Down in La La Land,” both were made for about $200,000 which is very little money for a film, but a lot to get upfront from a distributor. When you don’t have stars in your film, it is very difficult to get that upfront money. Before you sign any contract with a distributor, do your research. Speak with other filmmakers they have worked with even ones that are off of the list they give you. A distributor can have a great, well regarded name in the industry, but still not pay their filmmakers. A lot of people are afraid to speak out, they don’t want to burn bridges, but I think it is important to speak up and filmmakers should help each other to make this a more filmmaker friendly business.”
That happens to be our mission in writing this book!
You can find more great information and real experiences in Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul Presented by Prescreen releasing in September 2011. Also like us on Facebook and follow our Twitter stream #syfnotsys.