Innovate or die! That’s the mantra in every industry. In 2004, Blockbuster had 9,000 worldwide outlets and $5 billion in revenue. Six years later they were in bankruptcy court; Sears is hanging on by a thread; Kodak is no longer in the film business; and Warren Buffet is predicting that just three of the nation’s 1,400 newspapers have a chance of surviving (The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post).
Many Indie filmmakers are facing huge challenges today. They, too, must innovate or die: distributors are accepting fewer films, raising money is getting harder, and marketing and advertising expenses are budget-breakers.
Even the most seasoned filmmakers are beginning to realize that self-distribution is the way to go. It’s the way to select the markets they feel are most beneficial to their film, control their costs, and, most importantly, maximize their income.
Despite the swiftly moving changes in film distribution and new technologies—and despite the doom and gloom spouted by negative journalists—success is possible. You need only focus on 5 strategies:
- THEATRICAL RELEASE. Get that film booked in a well-known theater in New York or Los Angeles. These two cities are the ones the film industry watches the most. And it’s the least expensive way of promoting your film.
- PUBLICIST. A well-connected publicist will get your film reviewed, get write-ups in the media, set up interviews, and prepare and distribute comprehensive production notes.
- DIGITAL PLATFORMS. Work hard to get your film listed on a few of the majors: iTunes, Amazon, Hulu, Fandango Now, Vudu, TubiTV, and Hoopla.
- CABLE VOD (video-on-demand). The big players are Time Warner Cable (Spectrum) and Comcast (Xfinity).
- DVD SALES. It’s still a billion-dollar business. Retail chains, schools, colleges, libraries, and military installations are ordering thousands of DVDs every day.