Last week I told you about getting into SXSW and the art of patience to getting there, and since the official announcement it’s been interesting to see the amount of emails I’ve gotten, mostly from sales agents offering to rep the film for ‘worldwide rights’.
Now….why on earth would I give away worldwide rights to a sales agent, particularly the lower level ones who tend to spam festival lists, when things have been going the way they are lately at festivals in terms of acquisitions?
For starters, we’re working with a major domestic rep so domestic rights are already spoken for. And secondly, have you seen the Sundance numbers?? Looking at the final tally of what happened there it was a feeding frenzy … I mean, Netflix and Amazon are absolutely bidding up prices right now at the Tier 1 festivals to the point that other smaller domestic distributors are not sure what to do.
I had a conversation with a boutique domestic distributor the other day who said they weren’t sure if they’d still be in business in a few years if things continued at this pace since they just don’t have the funding to keep up with the inflated acquisition prices in the market right now.
It’s like being at the right place at the right time – anyone premiering at a Tier 1 festival this year is right in the middle of a frenetic buy cycle led by these SVOD players.
When we started production in 2015 on our film, this wasn’t the case and we couldn’t have even planned for it, so it’s just sheer luck that we’re right in the thick of this at a time when hey, we’d love to get a domestic distribution deal (how convenient!). And our investors stand to actually gain a lot since we stuck to a SAG ULB which in a sense feels like buy low, sell high….or at least we hope! ha!
I’m curious how this will all play out in the real world and I plan to take you guys on the journey with me so you can learn as much as I do as we go along. Of course there’s the chance we’ll leave the festival without any deal at all, in which case I’ve protected our downside by making it for such a small amount in the first place…meaning in the worst case scenario I know how to distribute the film myself and recoup the budget we’ve spent.
This is something I’m helping two clients replicate at the moment too, so I’m also curious if I can somewhat systemize the process.
In the mean time, Berlin is kicking off this week and I won’t be attending for the first time in years since I’m in production on a project that I can’t share with you the specifics on just yet, but I’ll be documenting my journey via social media along the way and will link you up to all that in an upcoming newsletter.
For those of you looking for market prep and packaging guidance, remember you can access the Film Market Lab and Producers Incubator right inside the Film Specific site – both of these online bootcamps are free for members.
What about you? Anyone else benefiting from the SVOD feeding frenzy right now? Let’s keep the discussion going down below….