Well as we’re talking about engaging potential marketing partners from the earliest stages of Production, it inevitably raises the question: What if the film is already completed?
I’ve been following several self-distribution DVD launches over the last year or so and I can tell you this – the best ways to make a splash with your DVD and to sell a REAL amount of units (1000 or more), is done one of two ways:
1. Either by doing a heavy amount of internet marketing including using some of those partner relationships you developed early on, or
2. By taking your film on the road for an extensive screening tour
If you’re going the internet route, prepare to spend 3-4 months in prep before you pull the trigger with the launch. And if you prepare to go the screening route, it can take anywhere from 4-12 months on the road to gain enough traction to sell enough DVD’s to make a real difference to your bottom line. Then you need to have the back-end infrastructure online to actually sell the DVD’s, so you’ll need prep time for that. But from what I’m hearing so far, the results using this higher cost approach can be well worth the effort….
And what about money? I recommend having some kind of budget in place to launch your DVD online. Some people include enough in the budget to hire help both with coordinating the launch and executing it. If you are doing screenings, you might want to consider hiring a company to book the theaters for you….and then there is the marketing. So your budget can be anywhere from nothing to a couple hundred thousand dollars depending on what you intend to hire out, and what you can do yourself.
I have a couple of resources on Film Specific that talk about budgeting for Self-Distribution. You can find them here:
I’m in the process of putting together extensive case studies on filmmakers using both of these approaches so stay tuned for those. But in the mean time, I’d love to hear from you – anyone out there have experience successfully launching their DVD and selling units directly to consumers from their website? Which approach worked best – internet only, or screenings, or both?