Looks like you are a new visitor to this site. Hello!

Welcome to Hope For Film! Come participate in the discussion, and I encourage you to enter your email address in the sidebar and subscribe. It's free! And easy! If you have any suggestions on how to improve this website or suggestions for topics please don't hesitate to write in to any of the blogs.

You can also follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

(If you keep getting this message, you probably have cookies turned off.)

May 27 at 12:24pm

Jon Reiss on Proper Prior Planning Prevent Perplexing Problems

By Jon Reiss

Today’s guest post is from filmmaker / hybrid DIY distro guru, Jon Reiss.

Over the last several months an argument has arisen within the independent film community as to how much (and whether) filmmakers should focus on the distribution and marketing of their films.

I am rather surprised that there is an argument.  I am very surprised that lines have been drawn in the sand, armies joined and deployed.  I feel that the discussion to date misses two very important points.  First – there is no one kind of independent filmmaker.  There is no one kind of filmmaker.  Never has, never will be.  Thank god.  Each person who is involved in independent film has his or her own desires, interests, passions, loves, hates.  Each filmmaker has different motivations for making a film.  Some want to make a statement, change the world – whether it is social or artistic.  Some want to make money.   Some want to express an idea or emotion to as many people as possible.  Most filmmakers want it all.   However if push comes to shove, filmmakers will prioritize what they want from their films.  And these desires are different for different filmmakers.

Similarly not everyone in independent film wants to be a director, or a writer-director, or a writer-producer-director.   Some filmmakers just want to direct and prefer to collaborate with scriptwriters and producers.  Some filmmakers don’t want to direct, but want to be producers, DPs, editors etc.

Second, the debate implies that directors or multi hyphenate writer-director-producers should be primarily responsible for these new tasks.   I will always be among those that directors should not be solely charged with the distribution and marketing of their films.  As a filmmaker, I know how incredibly difficult this is (especially while making a film) – Frankly one of the reasons this blog post is perhaps a bit late to the debate is that I have been involved with shooting Bomb It 2.

However, I do believe that distribution and marketing should be woven into the filmmaking process just as preproduction planning, casting, scriptwriting, editing, sound mixing are all a part of the filmmaking process.  Just as you don’t consider the sound for your film when you are about to mix or even when you are editing dialogue.  If good sound is important to you as a filmmaker, usually you are considering the sound for your film no later than the tech scout, and often from the script stage. Similarly I feel that filmmakers will be helped both logistically and creatively to incorporate distribution and marketing into the entire process of making their films.

It should be understood by our community that distribution and marketing are not about tailoring your film to an audience that you feel you can capitalize on (however if the sole goal for your film is to make money – perhaps this might be a path for you).

A better way to view this process is that distribution and marketing are about finding the audience that already exists for your film, your vision.  (I credit Marc Rosenbush with this keen perspective).

This process of audience engagement takes either a lot of money or a lot of time.  Most independents do not have much of the former, and so must rely on the latter.   It also takes knowledge.

Knowledge can either be learned through experience or through education or a combination.

A year ago, I felt compelled to write a book about distribution and marketing for my fellow filmmakers as a guidebook to this process.  I did this  so that they could learn from my experience and the experiences of others and so that they wouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel each time anew.  (How awful would it be that every time we shot a film we had to relearn how different lenses, different lighting, different editing affected the emotional quality of a scene).  It is time to compile our knowledge and share it with each other so that each new filmmaker does not have to waste his or her time to relearn tools and techniques that have been tried by others before them.

I have begun a number of other educational initiatives to which I will devote most of the next twelve months.

I do this not to load more work onto the backs of my fellow filmmakers.  The work frankly exists even if you are one of the lucky few to have a distributor swoop down with a check to relieve you of this burden.

I do this for five reasons:

1. To provide a systematic way to train a new cadre of crew people to be responsible for the distribution and marketing tasks on a film.  I call these new crew people Producers of Marketing and Distribution.

I gave this crew position a name because only with a proper name will the work be recognized, rewarded and most importantly trained for.

Few directors want to do every job on their films.  Many don’t want to be multi-hyphenates.  They are happy to find a brilliant script to bring to the screen.  They are happy to work with a brilliant DP or Production Designer.  They are happy to collaborate with a creative producer who will help them realize their vision.   God knows I am.

Just as filmmakers are eager to collaborate on what has been previously thought of as the work of film, directors and producers should be eager to collaborate with additional crew people who will carry out the numerous tasks of distribution and marketing.

I hope by the time I make my next project, I can put out a call for a Producer of Marketing and Distribution on Shooting People, or Mandy and I will receive a flood of emails.   I hope this for all filmmakers.

In order to create these new crew people, we must provide a way to educate them. Toward this end, I am now working with film organizations around the world to create a variety of educational opportunities to teach this material in the form of classes, labs and workshops.  I am also in the process of creating an online tools website so that filmmakers can share information about distributors, screening networks and the like (kind of a marketing and distribution yelp for filmmakers).  This website will eventually grow into an online academy to teach these tools to filmmakers (especially to create a cadre of PMDs for filmmakers).

I applaud the others who are engaged in this teaching – Peter Broderick, Lance Weiler, Ted Hope, Scott Macaulay, Sheri Candler, Scott Kirsner, Tiffany Shlain, Marc Rosenbush, Thomas Mai, Sandy Dubowsky, Caitlin Boyle, Stacey Parks, IFP, FIND etc.  We should embrace this education as a community – not eschew it.  (I do agree that panels are a poor way to educate.  Go to any university (or any school) and you find very little education being done via panels. )

2. Filmmakers who have no intention of shooting their films still take classes in (or read books about) cinematography so as to understand the art.   Similarly, I feel that filmmakers should at least have a sense of what is entailed in distribution and marketing a film so that they can understand that process.  This does not mean that they have to devote their life to this education (or to the work).  But with knowledge comes power.   I advise my film directing students at Cal Arts to learn the basics of budgeting and scheduling, even if they never intend to produce, AD, UPM or line produce.  I believe by learning the process, they will however acquire the tools to look at a budget and schedule and understand where resources are being allocated so that they can have an informed discussion with their line producer about said resource allocation.

3.  As independent filmmakers, we need to be prepared to take on any task in the filmmaking process, because we are never sure if we will have someone else to do that task for us.  You might not be lucky enough to have someone shoot your film, edit your film, help you with the distribution of the film.  Hence any of these roles might fall to you.  I can’t afford to take a DP with me around the world to film Bomb It 2 (or a producer or sound person) – so I am doing it myself.   Independent filmmakers have always been Jacks and Jills of all trades.  Distribution and marketing is one of the trades we thought we could hand over to others.  We know now that this (fortunately or unfortunately) is not always the case.   As I learned from my odd 7th grade math teacher: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Perplexing Problems.

4. Maybe, just maybe, in learning about distribution and marketing you might discover some new creative way to express your vision that you did not previously know existed.  I love feature films.  I love great shorts. I even love great television of either conventional length.    But these are four forms that have become ossified in the filmmaking world for too long as the only forms.  I feel that great creativity will come from expanding filmmaking – nay media creating – forms.   Why slaughter your babies in the editing room?  Find new life for them.  Why not create multiple babies in the script stage to express your thoughts in a myriad of new directions?  And still make a feature film if that is your passion.  Why not collaborate with other filmmakers to help you create these new forms of content and reach those audiences, if your goal is to focus solely on making the feature?

5.  Maybe, if you are interested, you might create a long-term relationship with a core audience, that might help to sustain you as an artist.

The central point is this: Don’t limit yourself.   Open up your arms to the vast amount of creative potential that awaits you, and do so with the collaboration of others who are eager to help you.  I believe this should be the model for us as a community to face the new financial realities of our world.   There is too much work to be done for those in our community to vilify others.  It is a time ripe for great opportunity to create and engage with audiences as we have been doing as a species since we first sat around fires telling stories.   The form will change, the meaning to us, as human beings will not.

I am doing a workshop in conjunction with IFP on June 5th and 6th. Instead of panels, we are having a cocktail party for participants to meet with distributors and other distribution and marketing service providers.

I will be doing another workshop in Vancouver on June 12 – 13th.

Finally for June I have collaborated with the LA Film Festival and Film Independent to create a three-day distribution and marketing symposium.  A day and a half boot camp for the competition filmmakers, and a day and a half open to the public focused on 1. Tools instruction  2. Exploring the potential available to us all.

For more information:  www.thinkoutsidetheboxoffice.com

Or www.jonreiss.com/blog

  • Digg
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • Print


leave a comment
  1. Jackie Pipe / May 27 at 12:24pm

    I¡¦ve recently started a site, the info you provide on this website has helped me greatly. Thanks for all of your time & work.

  2. Kurt Stubbe / May 27 at 12:24pm

    I have not checked in here for some time because I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are good quality so I guess I¡¦ll add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it my friend :)

  3. gt-americas.com / May 27 at 12:24pm

    The web has truly changed the way we communicate
    and made it far easier to stay informed about the lives of
    our loved ones. Then consider yourself one of the
    few, true internet marketers. It’s probably some mix of the two,
    so I have to give him props for not going too far in either direction.

  4. Eric / May 27 at 12:24pm

    Normally I do not read article on blogs,but I wouldd like tto say that this write-up
    very pressured me to take a look att and doo it!
    Your writing style has beedn amazed me. Thanks, quite nice post.

  5. Hi every one, here every one is sharing these kinds of experience, therefoe it’s pleasant to read this web site, and I used to pay a quick visit this web site every day.

  6. The Single Moms Club / May 27 at 12:24pm

    It’s going to be finish of mine day, except before
    end I am reading this fantastic paragraph to improve my know-how.

  7. Kourtney / May 27 at 12:24pm

    We stumbled over here from a different website and thought I might as
    well check things out. I like what I see so now i’m following you.

    Look forward to looking at your web page yet again.

  8. I am now not positive where you arre getting your info,
    bbut great topic. I must spend a while learning more
    or figuring outt more. Thanks for great information I was searching foor this information for my mission.

  9. Eric Becky / May 27 at 12:24pm

    Great post and straight to the point. I don’t know if this is in fact the best place to ask but do you guys have any ideea where to employ some professional writers? Thanks :)

  10. Madonna / May 27 at 12:24pm

    Hello it’s me, I amm also visiting this web site regularly, this site is truly nice and the users are in fact sharing nice thoughts.

  11. Evangeline / May 27 at 12:24pm

    I am in fact glad to read this website posts which consists of tons of valuable data, thanks for
    providing these kinds off data.

  12. loans for bad credit / May 27 at 12:24pm

    Hello, yess this post is in fact fastidious and I have learned lot of things from it on the
    topic of blogging. thanks.

  13. great videos / May 27 at 12:24pm

    If you want to obtain much from this article then you
    have to apply such strategies to your won blog.

  14. Kraig Lehne / May 27 at 12:24pm

    Rise above plastics! Do it now, it should never have started

  15. Judy / May 27 at 12:24pm

    What’s up everyone, it’s my first pay a visit at this web page, and post is really
    fruitful designed for me, keep up posting these content.

  16. Wiley Honeysucker / May 27 at 12:24pm

    I conceive you have observed some very interesting details , thanks for the post.

  17. Our Site / May 27 at 12:24pm

    Its not my first time to pay a visit this web page,
    i am browsing this web page dailly and get fastidious information from here daily.

  18. sugar daddy websites / May 27 at 12:24pm

    It’s difficulot to find knowledgezble people
    inn this particular topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about!

  19. sextant coffee / May 27 at 12:24pm

    These widespread grownup toys might be very relaxing when used
    on sore muscle mass. Dildos are non-vibrating grownup intercourse
    toys which have a number of uses. If you want palms
    free sex expertise search for a toy with suction cup.

  20. usuwanie znaiom / May 27 at 12:24pm

    It’s awesome in support of me to have a web page, which is useful designed for my know-how.

    thanks admin

  21. www.wright-1.com / May 27 at 12:24pm

    Touche. Sound arguments. Keep up the great effort.

  22. andrew / May 27 at 12:24pm

    It’s really a nice and useful piece of info.

    I’m satisfied that you just shared this helpful information with us.
    Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for

  23. MCITP Enterprise Administrator training courses
    teach students the knowledge and skills needed to design Windows Server infrastructures,
    evaluate and. The switch from Microsoft to Black – Berry and its QNX operating system could happen as early as later this year.
    This can abort database mirroring session, which you cannot resume.

  24. Actor Movies / May 27 at 12:24pm

    Spot on with this write-up, I truly think this amazing site needs far more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read more,
    thanks for the information!

  25. location dj mariage Sherbrooke / May 27 at 12:24pm

    I think the admin of this site is genuinely working hard in support
    of his site, for the reason that here every data is quality
    based stuff.

  26. mellisa rauch hot / May 27 at 12:24pm

    Its not my first time to visit this website, i am visiting this web
    site dailly and take fastidious information from here every day.

  27. She seems not so so nasty, although we’ven’t attained Amanda
    nevertheless. I’ve just mailed more updated images at the demand
    of Amanda so I’m hoping that we may get some castings even a straight job!

  28. Dillon / May 27 at 12:24pm

    Hello, its nice piece of writing on the topic of media print, we all understand media is a wonderful source of facts.

  29. Argentina Mcelhaney / May 27 at 12:24pm

    wonderful issues altogether, you simply received a new reader. What would you suggest in regards to your publish that you made some days ago? Any sure?

  30. Fish Finders / May 27 at 12:24pm

    People always talk about how they never understand something.

    You can find this brand at many leading stores, as well as online.
    Nicer pieces of equipment include, a fishing hut, a space heater, cleats for easy ice
    walking, flashlights and lanterns, lighters and matches, and something to check
    the thickness of the ice.

  31. giftscollection.weebly.com / May 27 at 12:24pm

    Invariably those of them that are successful share one
    of not all of a small set of characteristics, so what is
    this magic formula. The proven stress relieving qualities
    of frolicking like animals creates a wonderful sanctuary amidst
    the hectic schedules of play dates, school,
    and extra-curricular activities, as well as the many fearful encounters children face.
    If you spend a lot of time in one of these small facilities, then you’ll find using an outside furnace to be really beneficial.

  32. Stacie / May 27 at 12:24pm

    Stay of the Facebook improvements that are latest on top!

  33. www.youtube.com / May 27 at 12:24pm

    The lively and alert Papillon is never snappy, but tends to
    become over protective of its owners. They are prone to megaesophagus or regurgitation, which can cause aspiration pneumonia.
    Their hair sticks to carpets, upholstery and clothes with the same tenacity with which it performs the activities of its

  34. best home management binder / May 27 at 12:24pm

    Nothing can really replace these – wrist watches look decent and elegant.
    If you are decided already, get some colored threads.
    Another consideration is Lenovo Ideapad S12, which has a
    12 80 x 800 resolution much like me Samsung.

  35. clothing labels at staples / May 27 at 12:24pm

    Awesome post.

  36. Dewey / May 27 at 12:24pm

    Not surprisingly, using the latest technological assets to teach what can be complex skills and techniques, with a
    high level of success. Are you getting the proper number or pages from each toner cartridge.
    After all, these are devices that are great investments as long as you get
    the right device for you and your lifestyle.

  37. best audio visual job / May 27 at 12:24pm

    There is a variety of modes and menus to control the AVR 1611.
    The next stage in dealing with estimated tax for
    your clients is explaining what estimated tax payment amounts are required to avoid
    penalty. However during the training itself many individuals do not find the training suitable
    for them and decides to quit and individuals find that their job profile and experience is not exactly matching for what they are trained for.

  38. durable tree stand for hunting / May 27 at 12:24pm

    Along the Montana Idaho border you will find exceptional bush flying.

    You should make adequate effort to convince the interviewer
    with your skills, abilities and accomplishments with a view to convincing him that you are a perfect candidate for the position on offer.
    The wild is not an easy battleground especially when humans do not naturally
    dwell in the said place while the targets are born, raised, and probably die as well
    in the area, depending on the skills and preparations of the hunter.

  39. read more / May 27 at 12:24pm

    This paragraph presents clear idea in favor of the new viewers of blogging, that truly
    how to do running a blog.

  40. alkalinewaterplus.com / May 27 at 12:24pm

    Be sure to look for a unit that is large enough to
    serve your volume needs, a unit that is energy efficient, and a unit that is set up for
    the correct type of utility. The soft and soothing
    sound of flowing water greatly helps to sooth your soul and mind.

    It’s all about cleansing your digestive tract and purifying your blood.

  41. Cosmetic Dentist / May 27 at 12:24pm

    The selection of procedure to be applied is based on the type of problem
    you are suffering from. With traditional metal braces, you have to restrict your eating habits so that
    you don’t chew any foods that may harm the apparatus.

    Share your blog post on Twitter & your Facebook page.

  42. Slough PPC / May 27 at 12:24pm

    More revenue – To generate more revenue and to take business to new heights of success,
    you need to give it sufficient time. In order to put this powerful credit repair tool to
    work you must provide the credit bureaus with a police report
    listing the fraudulent accounts, your identification, and a signed statement that none of these accounts are the result of
    any transaction entered into by you. Everyone has their fair share of visionary complements to set their flyers apart from
    their competitors.

  43. goodreads.com / May 27 at 12:24pm

    edu domain usually has a higher domain value because in order to qualify for a.
    You will find, particularly if your relatives have common names, that narrowing down the search will save you large amounts of time in the long run. What helpful things did you learn from
    your last manager.

  44. bingo play real money / May 27 at 12:24pm

    Hi, this weekend is nice in support of me, for the
    reason that this time i am reading this wonderful informative article here at my home.

  45. publicize / May 27 at 12:24pm

    He slept soundly even as his head bounced and bruised my
    shoulder. Sraboni Ghosh, 14, a class IX student of Pathabhawan, was some of those who ready shake Rahul’s
    hand. He protected them for 25 years from Roman invasions.

  46. Tayla / May 27 at 12:24pm

    Your lab has taken and imported it from New Zealand.

  47. Arnulfo / May 27 at 12:24pm

    Your laboratory has sourced the highest deer
    antler velvet extract and imported it from New Zealand.

  48. Frank / May 27 at 12:24pm

    Your laboratory imported it from New Zealand and has
    procured the very best deer antler velvet extract.

  49. Your research has sourced and imported it from New Zealand.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Resources
  2. memeio
  3. contents insurance
  4. courier insurance uk
  5. sugar daddy dating
Leave a Comment

This site could not have been built without the help and insight of Michael Morgenstern. My thanks go out to him.

Help save indie film and give this guy a job in web design or film!