Screenwriting Blog
Posted on by Victoria Lucia

How to Self-Distribute a Film

Self-Distribute a Film

There’s no denying the exciting and often quicker (than traditional Hollywood) production process of independent filmmaking. While making a film independently is no easy walk in the park, it is empowering and immensely satisfying to create a film on your own. But once an independent film has finished production and post-production, then what? How does an independent filmmaker go about landing a distribution deal without a sales agent or traditional distributor? Keep reading because today I’m talking about how to assemble a distribution strategy and self-distribute your film!

Hold your place in line, screenwriter! We’re getting closer to launching SoCreate Screenwriting Software to a limited number of beta testers. , without leaving this page.

Find Your Audience

Finding your core audience is a crucial aspect of your film’s distribution plan. You need to narrow down and figure out who would be interested in your film, willing to pay to see it, and eager to spread the word about it. Is there an aspect of your film that relates to a specific audience? For example, say your film is about senior citizens breaking out of a retirement home for a day. This film might interest people who belong to senior centers, retirement home residents, or residents of retirement communities. Understanding who your audience is, as well as how and where to reach them, is crucial.

Start a Funding Campaign

Distribution can get expensive quickly. Whether it’s renting theatres for screenings, paying for promotional materials to be made, or needing to pay for additional help in the form of a publicist, graphic designer, or an editor (to cut a trailer), the distribution fees can add up. So, start up a campaign on Kickstarter or a similar platform to raise some cash! Use your knowledge of your target audience to reach out to those you believe would be interested in supporting your film.

Use Social Media

A cheap way to aid in film distribution is via social media, so time to get on all the socials and start posting! Post your artfully designed movie poster, eye-catching flyers, and your attention-grabbing trailer. Network and interact with your audience! Also, post pictures and videos from the set or film festivals where you screened your movie. The important thing with social media is to stay both active and interactive, making sure to engage with your audience.

Theatrical Release

While many people jump to the thought of releasing their film via some sort of online channel, having a theatrical run is still a possibility through self-distribution. Despite being costly, the experience of screening your film in theatres may make it worthwhile. Back in the day, filmmakers would often go on tour with their movies to save money on film prints. This concept of touring a movie is still relevant to independent filmmakers today. Touring your movie around the country, or even just to a few select states, can mean making a strong connection with audiences, especially via post-screening Q&As and engagement of that nature. You can also go the festival circuit and tour alongside your film to any festivals to which it is accepted. Festivals will give you a built-in larger audience. 

Streaming 

With a plethora of streaming services now in existence, there are tons of platforms to turn to for distribution. While landing Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Video (upload films at Amazon Video Direct) can feel like landing a whale, there are smaller, more targeted platforms that may be more accessible to you and your film.

ShortsTV is a well-known company that focuses specifically on short films from filmmakers across the globe. ShortsTV airs these shorts on their cable network channel as well as streams them online. They pay a couple of hundred dollars per short.

Indieflix supports films with screenings, streaming, and promotion for social impact films that create a positive change in the world. They’re non-exclusive and have a revenue per minute system that pays filmmakers for every minute their film is watched.

Get an Aggregator as Your Distributor

An aggregator is like a middleman or a gatekeeper between you and major platforms like iTunes, Tubi, Amazon, and Google Play. Think of them like online self-distribution companies or distribution centers with pipelines to make certain distribution deals for indie filmmakers. An aggregator has relationships with VOD platforms and will handle the encoding to the platform’s specifications and delivery of your film to them for a one-time fee. You then get to keep the revenue that your film makes. Here’s more information on aggregators and a list of some of the top-rated self-distribution pipelines.

Distributing your own film is by no means an easy feat. It requires a lot of work, effort, and determination. The advancement of technology means it’s definitely possible to build a self-distribution model to get your movie out there on your own. You just have to buckle down and be prepared to do the needed work to get it done. Good luck, filmmakers!

 

You may also be interested in...

Get Discovered as a Screenwriter

How to Get Discovered as a Screenwriter

Being a working screenwriter in Hollywood is a career to which many screenwriting hopefuls aspire. Suppose this is a dream that you can relate to. In that case, you likely have the following – an indelible passion for film or television, various completed scripts that you're dying to get out into the world, and career goals in mind for what you're interested in accomplishing with your writing. You feel like you're well on your way! But the recipe for success includes that intangible step: breaking in! How the heck do I break into this industry? Keep reading for tips on how to get discovered as a screenwriter. Writers are ...

Make Money with Your Screenplay

How to Make Money with Your Screenplay

You’ve finished your screenplay. You spent time painstakingly planning and plotting it out, you did the hard work of getting the first draft down, and then you came back time and time again doing the necessary rewriting. Congratulations, finishing a screenplay is no small feat! But now what? Do you sell the thing, enter it into competitions, or try to get it made? Don’t let it sit on a shelf collecting dust. Here’s how to make money with your screenplay. The first thing that probably comes to mind is selling your screenplay to a production company or securing an option. How do you go about that? There are a few possibilities ...

Sell a Screenplay to Hallmark

How to Sell a Screenplay to Hallmark

Hallmark is much more than just a greeting card company. Whether it’s the holiday movies, the romantic comedies, or even its mysteries, many of us know and love the Hallmark channel. The stories just have this certain addictive cheesy quality to them, in the best way, of course! Think you’ve got the storytelling chops to match the movie style on Hallmark? Here’s how screenwriters get their stories in front of the network for consideration. Much like Netflix, Hallmark doesn’t accept unsolicited script submissions, which means that you can’t just send in a screenplay for consideration. The network will either forgo ...