I think the concept of Distribution In Reverse naturally lends itself to the question of this:
What budget level is realistic if you want to recoup your film’s budget via distribution?
And a good place to start is to look at how much money independent films are making right now and back into your budget that way. But how many filmmakers actually go through this exercise?
It requires you take an HONEST look at potential sales projections for other films in the same genre as yours, with the same level of cast as yours, and having the same track record as your and your team. I find that most filmmakers overshoot and come up with unrealistic budget levels that they can’t possibly recoup via traditional or self-distribution.
Crunch numbers. Look at what films are selling for in the current marketplace. Decide what your direct sales revenue will bring in, your screening revenues,foreign sales revenue, and your VOD revenue. Add it all up. Does it equal the million dollar plus budget that you want to make your film for? If not, lower your budget. If you come out ahead, give yourself permission to scale up a bit.
I can’t tell you how many filmmakers who come to me with $4-$5 million budgeted films and want my help creating a business plan. Now there’s no way I can in good conscience take on a project like that because I know darn well NO ONE is paying those numbers right now (and actually haven’t been for a few years now!) See for yourself – follow the Sundance acquisition prices in the coming weeks.
So what is YOUR budget level? And how are you justifying it? Show me your recoupment plan… I’d love to see how all the numbers add up. And hopefully I can give you some ideas too!
Incidentally I’ll spend significant time covering budgets and sales projections and recoupment strategies during my upcoming Distribution In Reverse Group Coaching Program. I would love for you to join me!