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The Insider's Guide to Independent Film Distribution Paperback – Feb 8 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press; 2 edition (Feb. 8 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240817559
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240817552
  • Product Dimensions: 22.4 x 15 x 1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #30,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

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!

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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: 33 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
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.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Very Outdated, Not Very Helpful Nov. 23 2013
By Dave - 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
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.)
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
You will LOVE film distribution after reading this... April 1 2012
By Adam Daniel Mezei - Published on Amazon.com
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. What Parks seemed to be doing here was to supply a handy blueprint for her fans, her readers, and her Film Specific clients.

Presented here are all the tools you'll basically need as you go about self- (DIY) or hybrid-distributing (DIY and traditional elements) your film once it's in the can. Only thing left for filmmakers to do is make the best movie they can with the time they have available. The distribution part, if you listen to what Stacey and the various professionals in her book are telling you (FULL DISCLOSURE: I am featured in it), is the least of your worries. And you know what? It makes sense.

Hardly an exhaustive list, here are some things you're going to be shocked to discover:

** we already know US distributors aren't buying pictures or paying out formerly lucrative minimum guarantees (MGs)...but Stacey explains WHY this remains the case in 2012.
** reasons why indie filmmakers should begin looking at theatrical runs as MARKETING EXPENSES rather than REVENUE.
** why signing all-important distribution contracts are only the FIRST STEP in getting at your money. Reasons why your money follows only MONTHS LATER, down the line.
** the critical need to PINPOINT TARGET AUDIENCES PRECISELY and why those who fail in this -- from inception -- may as well NOT have made their films in the first place (yes, you read that correctly!).
** why you need to start looking at your AUDIENCE as allies in your film's cause rather than targets of mere marketing "campaigns."
** reasons why having a single A-list star or four B-listers in your CAST enhances your film's marketing cachet by multiples.
** why it's not only about having a FACEBOOK FAN PAGE and/or a TWITTER handle, but the things you're UNDERESTIMATING about social media by not leveraging these to their fullest capability.
** why CROWDFUNDING doesn't work for all films, even yours.
** the right way to cut your TEASERS and TRAILERS (spoilers: don't use your film's editor for that, and why).
** why raising too much EQUITY FINANCING can be hazardous to your film's prospects.

As you turn the pages, you'll be taking extensive notes.

Lessons reinforced for me throughout the read:

** for those going into distribution uninformed, distribution can be a VERY expensive, very time-consuming, and potentially very harrowing proposition. Get educated as much as you can while you have the time.
** marketing your film by 2012 is at least HALF (or more) as important as the process of production.
** for those lucky indies who sign distribution deals, why the work has only just begun (Stacey explains why filmmakers need to remain fully-engaged throughout the marketing process).

I'll be carrying it around over the coming weeks because I can already see I'm going to need to refer to it often.

Five stars for utility.
Five stars for readability.
Five stars for making a potentially "dry" subject very enjoyable.


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