By John Forrest
Once your film is complete, you have to decide how it is going to be seen. Are you going to send it to festivals in hopes that your film stands out from the hundreds of others? Are you planning to self-distribute? Understanding the cost and time it can take to market your film may become overwhelming and do you realise that cost can be far more than the budget put aside for the actual filming process? Are you going to attend one of the many markets (AFM, MIPCOM, etc.), in the hopes that some distributor will look at your film and decide that yours is the one that will increase their company revenue? While all, or some of these may be your choice, you still must understand the politics of these particular roads. As a first time filmmaker, I found that the best path to success for my film was to find a Producer Representative/Sales Agent.
I believe that having a Producer Representative/Sales Agent for your film accomplishes two very important keys to a film’s success:
1) The agent knows the latest tastes, and has an inside track to what each distributor is looking for. This makes it easier for filmmakers, like myself, who live in the middle of the country, to access companies that might not otherwise ever take a look at a small indie film.
2) A good agent will push your film; will make sure their contacts understand the importance of showing your film at their festival. They will work with you to structure a game plan; addressing which festivals you should and should not apply to. They will also be transparent with their goals for your film and allow you to make the final decision with regards to festival submissions, and/or sales deals.
The first step I took in finding a Producers Representative/Sales Agent was to do massive amounts of research. I often felt like I was researching the biggest thesis paper I have ever done. I found quite a few companies that were willing to look at anything sent their way. Many of these companies have loud web sites claiming all of their sales, the amount of films they have sold across the globe, how they know people the others don’t. On closer look at some of these companies, I found that some of the films they had picked up had indeed been…