There’s been lots of discussion out there about the value of a middleman (sales agent and/or distributor) in today’s Distribution 2.0 world. I mean, with all the DIY opportunities right now, you might be asking yourself why you would need a middleman at all?
I think the fact remains that to accomplish all it is you want to accomplish with your film…EVEN with 2.0 platforms, you still need help from middlemen sometimes – people like digital aggregators (there are still certain platforms like iTunes that you cannot get onto without one), and theater bookers (you planning to book your self theatrical release yourself?). And guess what – all these folks are essentially middlemen.
Also, what about for those of you who are going after a more ‘hybrid’ strategy and doing traditional distribution AND distribution 2.0? Remember you can work with a middleman AND without one at the same time. It just takes crafty deal making…. (and creative thinking).
I know one of the complaints I’m hearing about sales agents and distributors these days is that their expenses are just too darn high. And I couldn’t agree more! I think EXPENSES are one of the major obstacles right now between filmmakers and sales agents/distributors, because the numbers just don’t ADD UP. Or should I say….they add up for THEM but not for YOU. And I think it’s important to find a balance in there….to be able to make deals in the traditional world that work for everyone (yep, not just THEM).
And then I know that some filmmakers are saying they actually want to be in charge of their own marketing. I think that’s GREAT! Why not propose that to the middlemen – they agree to lower their expense cap, in exchange for you taking responsibility of your own marketing campaign. The question is….. can you realistically handle that and are you qualified to do so? Maybe you need to go hire help…..which is money out of your pocket but at least you can CONTROL the spend.
These are just a few suggestions, but I’d love to open this up for discussion. What do you all think about working with middlemen in this 2.0 world of ours? Can a healthy balance be struck? Or are most distributors and sales agents doomed for eventual failure except for the ones who can learn to work with filmmakers on THEIR terms?
By the way, if you’re interested in learning about this further join me on my Virtual Seminar entitled SECRETS OF NEGOTIATING A GOOD DEAL WITH YOUR SALES AGENT this Thursday, March 17. Hope to see you then and answer your questions personally!