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The Insider's Guide to Independent Film Distribution [Paperback]

Stacey Parks
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Feb. 8 2012

Innovation in technology means that almost anyone can make an independent film these days. Although this may be good news for aspiring filmmakers, it also means that the oversupply of independent films on the market has caused acquisition prices to dramatically decrease. As a result, producers and investors rarely recover their initial investment in the films they make. But don't be discouraged! Use this book to learn the realities of the market in advance and map out a winning distribution plan.

This comprehensive manual for filmmakers and producers dedicated to film distribution and the marketplace could mean the difference between getting your film out to the public and keeping it "in the can.” Learn how to sell your movie to a studio, a cable network, a video distributor, or an international buyer. Self-distribution and other alternatives to traditional distribution are also considered. In addition, you'll hear some success stories from producers and hear exactly what buyers are seeking.

Stacey Parks has worked with hundreds of hungry filmmakers to get their films a distribution deal and knows how frustrating the whole process can be. Let her show you how you can take control of your filmmaking career and start getting your work seen by audiences with a few little-known distribution secrets.

Features include:
. Interviews and case studies with producers and distributors
. Ten ways to market your film for self-distribution
. Sales projections per territory
. Distribution resources listings
. Negotiation tips for distribution agreements
. Sample distribution agreements
. What you must know to get your independent film distributed
. Written by a distributor who knows the process inside and out
. Interviews with buyers and acquisitions executives from every sector of the business on what kinds of films they look for, what they're sick of seeing, and how their acquisitions processes work
. Website features sample distribution agreements, budgets, and more!

New to this edition:
. Completely updated for modern distribution practices (broadcast, DVD, VOD, and other kinds of distribution deals)
. New coverage on crowd-funding, social media, film marketing, and deal memos
. Get the best inside distribution secrets from brand new interviews with an international cast of directors, producers, and distribution experts who share their experiences
. Companion website features helpful downloadable forms and templates, sample distribution memos, and a great resource section


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Review

"Well written, concise and (most importantly) honest! A must-have for indie filmmakers."--Kate Pearson, SVP, Programming, The Documentary Channel

"Finally, a contemporary and practical book about film distribution that explores this often mysterious and misunderstood part of the industry. As an academic text the approach is both classroom and reader friendly, providing information not easily found elsewhere."--Sharon Badal Faculty, New York University Tisch School of the Arts Kanbar Institute of Film and Television

"The book is well worth a read especially for those filmmakers who take the business of filmmaking seriously." - Karen van Schalkwyk, SCREEN AFRICA

 

 

From the Back Cover

Innovation in technology means that almost anyone can make an independent film these days. Although this may be good news for aspiring filmmakers, it also means that the oversupply of independent films on the market has caused acquisition prices to dramatically decrease. As a result, producers and investors rarely recover their initial investment in the films they make. But don't be discouraged! Use this book to learn the realities of the market in advance and map out a winning distribution plan.

This comprehensive manual for filmmakers and producers dedicated to film distribution and the marketplace could mean the difference between getting your film out to the public and keeping it "in the can.” Learn how to sell your movie to a studio, a cable network, a video distributor, or an international buyer. Self-distribution and other alternatives to traditional distribution are also considered. In addition, you'll hear some success stories from producers and hear exactly what buyers are seeking. This second edition features the most prevalent developments in distribution practices today.

Stacey Parks has worked with hundreds of hungry filmmakers to get their films a distribution deal and knows how frustrating the whole process can be. Let her show you how you can take control of your filmmaking career and start getting your work seen by audiences with a few little-known distribution secrets.

Features include: . Interviews and case studies with producers and distributors . Ten ways to market your film for self-distribution . Sales projections per territory . Distribution resources listings . Negotiation tips for distribution agreements . Sample distribution agreements . What you must know to get your independent film distributed . Written by a distributor who knows the process inside and out . Brand new interviews with buyers and acquisitions executives from every sector of the business on what kinds of films they look for, what they're sick of seeing, and how their acquisitions processes work . Website features sample distribution agreements, budgets, and more!


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Paperback
I have the benefit with this Review of not having read the first edition of Stacey Parks's indie distribution primer of "The Insider's". What it basically boils down to is: I have little else to go on other than the easy-to-read practical helpfulness of this 2012 second edition. Whatever "missing pieces" may have existed in Version One are all but blown to smithereens by this latest cut.

Frankly, as a PMD/Producer of Marketing and Distribution who comes deals with this sort of material/contracts/boilerplate on a daily basis for his own clients, I was less amazed by the comprehensiveness of this edition than by the presentation of the information overall. What Stacey succeeds brilliantly with her sophomore effort is to make indie film distribution actually LIKEABLE! You actually want to head out and share what you've learned with your friends and colleagues ASAP. This guide actually makes you *want* to swim with the sharks!

Insider's is easy to read also, which, compared to some of the film books I've read in the past -- especially from the "fluid" early part of last decade -- is an achievement on its own.

Here you've got checklists.
Interviews.
Case studies.
There are heaps of takeaways.

For the price, you're getting a wealth of "free" information (under twenty bucks?!). Even if you spent the $15,98 and didn't read a single page, it's still worth keeping a copy on your bookshelf because at some stage -- whether you distribute your film today, tomorrow, or later, either for your current film or a future one -- trust me, you'll make use of it. Some of Stacey's Film Specific clients have even referred to it as their bible.

No section came off as overly academic. There weren't any pandering sections, either.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  30 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid Reading and Information March 31 2012
By Quantum Media - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The insider's guide to independent film distribution by Stacey Parks is an up to date informative guide on distribution for the new independent film maker. The only thing thats very important in this day and age which is left out is the topic of VOD/DOD which is a very powerful way to distribute indepedent films these days. For traditional distribution this book is excellent, but don't buy it if you want to learn about Video On Demand or DVD on Demand.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Topical Overview, But Lacks Credible Data July 7 2012
By Stephen Stough - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is actually a come-on for the author's $25.00/ month newsletter subscription service, which promises to provide the "real data" that is missing from this book. Anyone reading this book is probably an unknown producer with an unknown cast and unknown director. Although a decent topical overview, on the subject of distribution itself, it contains very little quantitative data. For example, aside from family and friends, how many unknown films with unknown talent by unknown directors written by unknown writers made for under $1M that receive 'distribution' via DVD actually have any theatrical, TV or DVD sales at all? A recent survey of one of these small film distributors, who offers a catalog of 133 titles, shows that the highest-ranked film achieved a blazing Amazon.com rank of 99,152. Other important data that are missing, but which might be available for an additional $25/month from this author are things like relative sales or Amazon.com rankings for small films by genre, how much a family picture might earn for the distributor (or directly from the producer) for Lifetime or Hallmark channel airing, or what is the correlation between small-film budget and potential sales (is there a profitability threshold as a function of budget as exists for studio films with general theatrical distribution)? There have been enormous changes in the numbers of feature projects funded through the AFM since the first edition of this book, as well as changes in the distribution of budgets of completed projects by genre, as well as the ratio of which pictures received distribution by 'negative' budget by genre, but none of that is mentioned here; even though it would seem to be essential information for someone planning on producing a film that would receive distribution.

Where the book provides useful quantitative information is in accounting for marketing and marketing collateral expenses during pre-production for a low-budget film.

The book also provides model distribution and sales contracts which, if they are up-to-date, could prove very useful.

The book is worth the purchase price in the anecdotal interviews alone, which are fun to read, although, again, neither quantitative nor dispositive. That is, they aren't very helpful in making a once-in-a-lifetime decision to mortgage one's house to produce a low-budget film.

All in all, quite enjoyable to read. But when you consider that only 140 or so feature films receive general theatrical distribution each year but yet 50,000+ screenplays for same are registered with the WGA, numbers mean a lot more than vague, qualitative claims.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Outdated, Not Very Helpful Nov. 23 2013
By FaveDave - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is one of the many books that's part of the Industry Built Around Getting Into the Industry.

In other words, this is not for serious professionals. Only for wannabes.

Here are the cons:
-- Writing style is stiff, awkward. And no sense of humor, devoid of wit.
-- Outdated material, especially with technical stuff. She actually talks about sending a VHS tape screener! I'm not kidding. And the date of this book is 2012. Who the hell uses VHS tapes in 2012? And she also talks about the virtues of shooting on HD instead of MiniDV SD. Yeah, pretty shocking that she thinks someone in 2012 is using an SD MiniDV camera.
-- The projects she discusses, and the people she interviews, produce (without exception) terrible films. Look them up. They are all action/horror crap. Bad actors, bad scripts, terrible directing. Just watch the trailers or look at their IMDB pages to see the super low ratings these projects have. There is not one single artistic or commercial success referenced that uses her techniques! Not one.

So, if you aim low, this book will help you hit your target.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every Filmmaker's MUST Read Nov. 7 2013
By Nadia Sarmova - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As a film Producer, I am consistently surprised by the sheer will and cooperation necessary to make a film. Filmmaking is not a one man's job...and neither is distribution. To make and distribute a film successfully (each equally important), you need a team and a strategy. The Insider's Guide to Independent Film Distribution offers an in-depth look into the industry so formulating your strategy is no longer an enigma or a scientific experiment. In addition to breaking down the distribution process into simple and understandable concepts, the book is sprinkled with case study after case study of real filmmakers (like you and me) who have tried out Ms. Parks' advice and succeeded!
Despite its invaluable insight, what makes this book stand out is the author's palpable sincerity. From the first page to its last, one thing is evident - Ms. Parks possess a genuine desire in bringing value to an industry notorious for making the next kill.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read to become successfully independent! Feb. 22 2013
By RJGlman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
THE INSIDER'S GUIDE TO INDEPENDENT FILM DISTRIBUTION set me off down a path that I barely knew existed. It was essential to achieving the goals I had set for myself as I transitioned from writer/actor into producing.

It helped me understand large chunks of truth that almost all filmmakers I have worked with (as an actor and writer) didn't seem to know or understand. It is so crucial to giving your career a fighting chance. Stacey Parks truly gives you an insider's look at some of these truths such as casting for distribution, realistic sales projections, and the dos and don'ts while attending film markets.

It was quite an eye opener on foreign distribution, especially the nuances on splitting distribution rights and distribution cash flow structures - this knowledge can save you headaches in a lot of areas. Along with the filmmaker's case study's which is crucial for gaining as much knowledge as possible before you get your nose too bloodied. Experience is the best teacher and that's what THE INSIDER'S GUIDE offers.

The updated edition also extensively covers such areas as, the disappearance of distribution advances and a further in-depth analysis of financing strategies for distribution.
And plenty of sample contracts.

One of the things I've learned from Stacey Parks is that there are always exceptions to the rule but with those exceptions there's ALWAYS a back story.
Thank you for sharing your expertise - it is helping me change my career (and life.)
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