Monthly Archives: September 2014

Make movie merchandise that people will actually buy. (Special for Indie Filmmakers)

Toys Movies

In the old days, indie filmmakers were insecure about selling movie merchandise because they were concerned they would look like Hollywood sell-outs.

Nowadays movie merchandising is a different story. The concept of selling film themed items used to be that it was a cheap way to make more money. Audiences now see movie merchandise as collectibles to remember a film they enjoyed a lot. Even people that didn’t see the movie can enjoy merchandise that is good looking and useful. Now, in order to be able to make a profit from movie merchandising, you really need to take in consideration what qualities will make people actually buy your merch.

The following are some tips for having a more successful film-merchandising sell:

Function: The items you want to sell need to be useful to lots of people, so that when they ask themselves whether they should purchase an item or not, the final push will be “Yes I will buy it, I need it anyway…” Think about how many popular it is for people to drink tea or coffee in a daily basis. Now think about how much potential there is if they could drink it in a super cool mug like this one:

2010-04-23 12-27-19 Coffee mug for Superman - IMG_3309

Cheap: Let’s face it, not a lot of people will buy merch that costs more than $20, especially if your film is not a blockbuster. It’s better to seel items of lesser value, and since they are cheaper, chances are that you will sell more.

Cute: T-Shirst and Tumblrs, sure those are awesome. But there is also big market on selling push dolls or making everyday items cuter. If your film is an animation or appealing to kids and teenagers, then this consideration is a must. Check out how cute this “Grease” legos are:

Grease

Wearable: Selling T-shirts always sounds like a good way to go. And sure, your mother and grandpa will wear a shirt with your film logo and name on it, but really who else will buy it? Well, a good way to increase your apparel sell is by making it actually wearable. They need to look good on people and there needs to be different sizes available. A los of possible buyers will pass on buying clothing item because they are only sold in “one size only,” or because they come in a weird fabric won’t fit them nicely. It is a good idea to hire a designer that could come up with an impressive and more appealing design. Is not about just putting a movie poster on a tee, or having the faces of their actors floating on a short. Instead, be creative and make conceptual designs, ones that people will be proud to wear in the streets, not only when they are sleeping.

 Quality: Would you be happy if you buy something that breaks the minute you use it? No. Will you recommend people to buy it? No. Then don’t sell bad quality merch, not only it will be bad for your selling, but it will also give you a bad reputation among your audience.

Negotiating a good deal for your film’s licensing.

“Let’s shake on it”

Just in case.

DISCLOSURE:   THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR PROPER LEGAL ADVICE”

In order to negotiate properly and not find yourself in a face in palm situation, here are a few question to ask yourself when creating a film agreement.

What is the price of the license?

Search minimums for licensing films in general so you have an idea of how much to ask for.

How long do you want that license to last? One year? a million? Set a date that will benefit the buyer and yourself.

crocheted_world_map_by_catflyhigh-d66x9hpWhat Territory is the License effective in?

Do you want to sell it domestically or world wide?

harry-wormwoodTo whom will you allow that license to translate? Do you want it to be exclusive or have more than one buyer?

If you have a partner, how will the earnings be divided?

Ideally, you should have a lawyer to deal with these details. But, before going into business it’s good to identify and know a little more about what you’re getting into in order to be satisfied with the deals being made.

These questions are just the starting point of agreements to take in consideration before marketing your film. If you want to read a more elaborate breakdown of potential negotiations check out this website:http://www.filmspecific.com/public/680print.cfm

For much more information about legal terms and documents for filmmakers heres a really good book to get you more knowledgeable about the subject:  http://www.amazon.com/The-Pocket-Lawyer-Filmmakers-Independent/dp/0240813189

3 essential tips to sell your film yourself.

You have finished your first feature film. Do you sit back put your feet up? No. Money doesn’t grow on trees kids so get those shoes of the desk and start calling some people.

movie-distribution-flow

Selling your film is an essential process of the film. Not only do you want your film to be seen by people, it would be great to make some money too. In the old days you would have a film and get in touch with a distribution company in order to get your film to the masses. Fast-forward to today and a few things have changed (no luck on flying skateboards yet) the middle man is starting to be jumped. Filmmakers are going directly to their audience via social media. Online social networking has opened a gap of communication to go directly to the audiences. Here are a few things to help you distribute your film yourself.

  • Create a website that’s minimalist and informative. Fireworks and balloon animals are distracting and seem desperate.
  • Create a uniform look. Stick to a specific color palette and the same typography for all your work. This helps the audience identify and recognize your promotional stuff with ease.
  • Keep the audience up to date. Maintain your social networks with your latest information about the film all the time. Create share buttons, tweets and bookmarks so your audiences can get their friends on board as well.

If you want to know more. Visit http://www.filmmakingstuff.com/how-to-sell-your-movie-25-part-checklist/  for an extensive checklist for distributing your film.

Also, If you are interested in learning about the lies and myths about film distribution, you should definitely check this article by Jerome Courshon, http://www.writersstore.com/6-lies-of-film-distribution/

Now go make some money!

Applying to film festivals successfully without going broke.

1) Screen your film.

The most important tip is to make sure that you are applying for the right film festival. Although film categories are very clear, there are many films that incorporate more than one genre into them. For example, a drama piece could have hints of comedy, and an action film could have hints of suspense. Screen your film for others and you will be able to determine if your film fits in one genre or another.

2) Ask for feedback.

Ask other fellow filmmakers to be brutally honest and do revisions. You should always take the feedback into consideration when doing an edit, whether it is on the film itself or on the description of it. Remember that people will give you feedback because you asked for it, and if something is not working, or you don’t agree with what they say don’t take it personally.

3) Don’t watermark your film.

Please don’t assume that film festival jury will pirate it, it will make you look pretentious and it is also very distracting. Send a finished product. Even though some film festivals accept “work in progress,” it is very likely that they won’t pick it because it probably isn’t great yet. You will do better by sending a finished product, which hopefully won’t have any flaws, and will have a complete story.

If you want to learn more about good practices when applying to film festivals, Premiumbeat.com offers more tips in how to successfully do it here.

While submitting to all those festival something to keep in mind is: Don’t go broke.

According to (http://filmmakermagazine.com/76069-12-steps-to-avoid-going-broke-applying-to-film-festivals/#.VBBNtUu5duY) Here are a few tips to avoid that:

1) Identify the film you have and be selective in film festivals.

What audience does it appeal to? Identifying what type of film you have will make it easier to know where to promote or sell it. Choose a festival that would be a great fit for your film. Don’t apply to Florida’s comedy blast festival if your film is Sad Susan’s Sunday. Don’t waste your budget trying to get in any festival because you want to be in one. Rather spend it on the festivals that you think identifies with it.

2) Contact past film festival goers.

Try and find out what films were shown at those festivals and try and see if you can contacts those filmmakers. Ask them how did they find the festival. What did they find lacking and apply this to the process of choosing the festival.

3) Offer your premier.

If its not the first time ever. Narrow it down. First time in the United States. No? First time in Florida? First time in Orlando.. First time in this square feet. Make it seem new and unseen!

Slated: A new way to finance your film through an online community.

Getting financing for an independent film can be something very stressful and at at times overwhelming. Sometimes it feels like if you don’t have the right connections, you are never going to make it. The good news is that there is now an online community called “Slated” that offers the chance of maybe getting financing by some film investors without necessarily knowing the right people or having their phone numbers.

https://www.slated.com provides film producers the opportunity to put their films in front of a network of people willing to invest a good amount of money on movie projects. The average investment in Slated goes from $25,000 to $200,000. A lot of the films that make it through this website use other crowd funding sites such as Indiegogo or Kickstarter to prove that there is an audience who is excited about a project making it to the big screen, and then get the big financing that they need for production through Slated investors.

One of the biggest examples of success in Slated is “Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out,” a film by Marina Zenovich which found its financing through investors that are members of this site.

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hhttp://www.imdb.com/media/rm3964706816/tt2397549?ref_=tt_ov_i

If your indie film project only requires a couple thousand dollars maybe this is not the option for you. But if you are thinking big, who knows? Maybe you will be the next filmmaker selected to receive a two million dollar check to make that film you are passionate about happen.

“Slated” is becoming a big thing among the film community because it has the right members, the ones that matter, from entertainment attorneys to sales agents and distributors. As stated in their website “a film profile on Slated offers you exposure to a network of verified entertainment professionals and qualified investors.”

Here is a video about how it works:

 

 

 

 

10685222_10152644394062394_110412072_n“Mr. Morgan Spurlock”

Oh man, I’m so excited for fall when I can finally buy a Pumpkin Spice Latte. CACHING. I just made money name-dropping a product. Not really. But it’s possible to do it in your film. Product placement is an advertisement technique used to subtly promote products in films, television or media. Recently there has been a very noticeable approach to product placement with big names in the business. Not only in films but in music videos from artists like Lady Gaga to Beyonce and new comers like Ariana Grande.

Everybody wants to get in on it. So what does product placement bring to your production? You can either get compensation in the form of products or cash to finance your film. For product compensation, maybe you want your character to drink a specific type of soda: FULL SAIL POP. You have your people call their people and you get a deal. You use their soda in the film and as compensation all cast and crew get a nice supply of samples for free. Now, getting financial compensation is where the money is (Pun very intended). This is where an agency would pay YOU to have their product in your film. Very high grossing films with a huge production value have these product placements. For example, It is reported that Ford paid $45,000 for having their car in a James Bond film. So there you go. Get yourself an invincible character with a nice car and a distinctive taste in the way he wants his drink made and you got yourself a product placement. Cheers.