What you need to know before contacting a distributor

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Before you start to contact film distribution companies to sell your movie, you will want to be prepared to answer specific questions you may get from them.

Below are a few tips to keep you sharp and ready.

Rights management

Do you have all your contracts in place? Is your music legal and do you have permission to use your sound effects? This is a sticking point for distributors and you will be fully liable should they get in trouble from labels. Make sure you have this covered.

Credits

Are your credits in order? Do you give mention to all members of your crew, the people who made this film happen? Is there a Special thanks you need to give to someone. Who produced the film? What is the company behind your masterpiece?

Materials

Do you have your film on VOD, DVD, or mini DVs? Do you have your synopsis in hand? Is there a press kit you can send them? Did you win any festivals, and which ones did you get a screening at? These are all useful things to have in mind and know before you contact anyone. Distributors may ask you for a brief synopsis on the phone so be prepared!

Technical

What format is your film shot on? Do you have the right formats/ DVDs ? Are they PAL or NTSC? Which genre? What is the length? How long ago was it made and where was it made? Do you have subtitles in French, English, and Japanese? If you know the answers to these questions you will save a lot of time as different countries and regions have various specifics. Distribution labels can sell your film to different territories or a distributor can buy it from you directly but you may need to create a BETA tape or have another language subtitle.

Confidence

Did you have too much coffee this morning? You will get much better results if you build rapport with their sales agent/ acquisitions department person. With all your materials prepared, you shouldn t have a problem, and you will be able to use this next time round.

For more information about distribution:

UK Film Distributors

How to sell a short film

Negotiating a distribution deal

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