If you’re a regular reader of this blog you probably love media, and have a passion to produce films, TV programming, or online content. But very often, that passion gets in the way of success, and it opens the door to the biggest reason most films fail:
The producer waits until the movie is finished to find distribution.
You have no idea how many desperate producers send me their film or TV pilot (after spending all their money), and beg me for the names of distributors or for distribution ideas. And in nearly every case, the investors are upset, the producer has run out of money, and they have no options.
It’s an ugly situation.
The perfect option is to find a distribution channel before you start production. That way, you can rest in the knowledge that you at least have a possibility for getting back your money. Obviously there are many reasons to start a film before a distribution deal is in place, but in those cases, never let up on the search.
Every day that ticks by without a distribution deal in place is another nail in your coffin. The only exception is that if your investor or donor has enough money to not only make the film but then take the time to find the right distributor. (But that doesn’t happen very often.)
But in the real world, I realize that independent filmmakers don’t have any distributor relationships so locking a deal in before production is nearly impossible. It’s a “Catch-22” situation. So what do you do?
Start the conversation. Talk to filmmakers who have been there and get recommendations. Approach distributors early so at least they know you’re on the map. Let them know you’re a force to be reckoned with and your film will be delivered no matter what. As soon as you get enough footage, start showing them a trailer or make a sizzle reel. Create a package that will help you sell the project while you’re still filming.
It’s the best option for keeping you away from the ledge later on.