From Script to Distribution - Part 2

Following some interest in my notes on the workshop about film production process, I decided not to miss the second part of this event run by Rebekah Smith at  01zero-one.co.uk for filmmakers.  This time the speakers included producer Enrico Tessarin and social media expert Jonny Bunning.  This gave a really good mix of two diiferent perspectives - director/producer and distributer points of view.  Here are my learning points:

  • Do not postpone social media work till you finished the film.  Distributors advise that you should start promoting your film before you started shooting.  Engage early.  Grow audience organically.  Be creative and interesting - invite people to contribute to the film development, play back the fans' content, get people involved - and they are more likely to support you and see your film when it is out.  

 

  • Don't underestimate the importance of posters whether they are online, on the tube or on buses - you have to have budget for it.  If people do not see a poster, how will they know that the film is on?  

 

  • Jonny also stressed the importance of engaging with critics/bloggers in non-traditional ways - some PR agencies go to great lengths to raise awareness about new film by sending out weird stuff, just to attract attention.  You can have an amazing social media engagement, but bad reviews can kill your campaign.

 

  • Think Big.  It often takes as much effort to produce a low-budget film as to make a really expensive film.  The difference is that you get on board more expensive, more experienced and, more importantly, famous people to do the same thing.  However,  the right crew and right cast will dramatically increase the odds of commercial success.  Enrico highlighted that making a few successful low-budget shorts might enhance your career, but when it comes to doing a feature, his advice it to go big, hire a Casting Director and try to get stars. 

 

  • Think Global.  Enrico highlighted the importance of new markets.  Did we know that Turkey is the 6th largest cinema market in Europe?  Will people in China, India and Russia want to see your film? These are rather significant markets which cannot be ignored.  It is important that the film idea appeals to different cultures.  A good example is the TV series Sherlock Holmes which is the most commercially successful British series. I have to say that, being a Russian, I can confirm that these series have been incredibly successful in Russia - everyone knows and loves the character, the Russian series of Sherlock have been very successful in the past too.  But having a modern twist to the story and the way of filming plus internationally famous stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman make it totally irresistable for any audience.

 

  • Finally, Be Prepared and Don't Rush into Deals.  Enrico talked about agreements/contracts you can have with various parties - investors, agents, actors - and how important to have documents drafted, ready for signature and reviewed by lawyers and accountants.  Rebekah started a discussion about what a good distribution deal is, and advised not to rush into deals which limit your distribution potential, but instead, split the rights for VOD, DVDs, airline, theatrical etc distribution into several packages and sell these to different distributors.

 

Hope this is as useful for you as it was for me.

To read article on the first part of the event CLICK HERE