DIY Film Distribution

One of the biggest questions we get at the DIY Film Fest is "How can I get my film distributed?"

Believing in the do it yourself philosophy, doesn't mean that you can't make a living doing it yourself.  And part of making a living is making sure that your film gets in front of your audience.

But here are a few tried and true methods of self distribution.

1. Use a distribution platform to sell your film.   At the DIY Film Fest we're happy to be sponsored by FilmHub (formerly Kinonation) a successful digital film distribution company.   The process is fairly simple; once you've finished your film and are looking for distribution, you sign up with their film company at Film Hub and follow their instructions on how to upload your film.  They do the rest.

(One of the perks of our film festival is that the winners of each category are invited to distribute their film through FilmHub to their various entities that they sell the film through (saving the filmmaker the time and effort to try and contact each of those companies individually).

2. Use a direct distribution entity like   Amazon places your film on their searchable site, and it's easy to link your blog or your film to their company.  They insist that films a subtitle track so that they can have them subtitle (or use one of their subtitling bots) but it's a way of offering a film worldwide.  They have a minimum for how much it costs to view the film, and generally they set the film's price.  But it's a way of submitting your film for direct distribution. (The amount of money your receive would be higher than going through an aggregator like Film Hub, but again, it might be easier to have one entity distribute it across all platforms.)

3. Youtube Filmmaker's account.  If you have at least 1000 subscriber's to your youtube account, you can charge a fee for people to view your content. Once you've attained the magic number of 1000 subscribers, you can offer you content worldwide and charge any fee that you think the market will bear for your film. 

4. Adsense. If you've signed up for adsense through Youtube, and are approved, you make money based on how many views (or minutes) people view your content. The move views you receive, the higher your paycheck.

4. Vimeo on Demand.  Vimeo is now offering to allow filmmakers to sell their content online for a $20 per month fee. The advantage here is that the first month is free, and while you're building viewership, you can also be putting up clips or trailers on your filmmaker account at youtube, vimeo and other places.

5. Itunes. Follow this link for a list of all the aggregators who work with Itunes. (And you'll find FilmHub as well.)  Itunes insists that their aggregators process your video and follow their guidelines, so if you want your content on itunes, you have to use an aggegator.  

The second most important item to focus on in your search for DIY distribution, is marketing and promotion.  If you can afford a promoter or marketer that you trust, that's the easiest way to go, as they will know the ins and outs of the marekt you're trying to crack.  But if you want to be a DIY promotion and marketing exec yourself - then the best way to do that is to research the field.

Look up other films that you might have paid attention to, or that you think are similar to yours.  See what kinds of methods others have used in social media.  We assume that by the time you're going into distribution, you've already exhausted the film festival route, but perhaps your title is so unique that it needs to be seen directly by the audience its intended for.

Find out where that audience is.  Is it online?  Is it part of a community? Is it something that you could advertise in a college newspaper, or in some other outlet that reaches your target audience?  (One filmmaker we know said "Most of my titles only play in prison, so it's hard to market that audience.  But I'm happy to know that they're trapped somewhere being forced to watch it."  We hope he was kidding.)

We live in a world where you can sell directly to your audience - you can market things directly to those people who would like to see them.  It's a matter of figuring out where your audience might be, and how to reach them.  It's best done in the hands of professionals, but if you're not financially able to reach out to those individuals, then the only thing you must rely on in your own intuition and ability to wave the flag for your film.

When all is said and done, no one cares more about your film than you do.  (Hopefully) So that makes you the best candidate to see it across the finish line.

And don't forget to thank us in your Oscar speech.

-- The DIY Film Fest team.