The second Micro Budget Case Study in our series is Chad Haufschild’s WAKE THE WITCH. Similar to our first case study, the WAKE THE WITCH filmmakers also took advantage of traditional distribution deals to pursue profitability. However because they operated on a lower budget ($10K vs. $65K), WAKE THE WITCH has already achieved profitability, which is awesome!
So for now I’ll turn things over to Chad who was kind enough to write up a summary of his process. We hope that others can benefit from his journey with WAKE THE WITCH and if you have any questions for us, please put them in the comments section below.
In 2008, Unfiltered Entertainment, Inc. produced a horror movie titled “Wake the Witch” for $10K. Financing was raised from a generous group of family and friends. By late 2009, “Wake the Witch” post production was completed.
In early 2010 “Wake the Witch” was picked up by Gravitas Distribution for Video on Demand, Blockbuster streaming and Amazon streaming. In the summer of 2010 Eagle One Distribution picked up “Wake the Witch” for DVD distribution in the U.S. and DVD/digital distribution in the U.S., UK and Ireland. In early 2011 Eagle One put “Wake the Witch” on iTunes worldwide which put us in nearly every English speaking country, and then in late 2011 Gravitas got “Wake the Witch” a 2 year Netflix streaming deal for $15K.
Thanks to our distribution deals, Unfiltered has been able to pay the original investors back. As the distribution dollars continue to trickle in we hope to recoup enough to give some return to the cast and crew, as well as put some aside for a future film.
How we did it:
1) We did our research. We knew the horror genre has a ravenous fan base, doesn’t require name actors and is willing to look past low-budget production quality – all perfect for a micro-budget film.
2) We planned for distributor needs. That meant having a professional photographer on set taking scene stills and behind the scenes photos. Making sure all our legal paperwork was in place. Having a professional graphic designer design the poster and DVD elements. Setting up a website with cast and crew bios, plot synopsis, a from-the-set blog updated weekly, behind the scene pics, etc. Building a press kit. Being stringent about avoiding copyrighted music or products.
3)We promoted the technology. First we focused on making the absolute best use of all our tech – cameras, lighting, audio, post-production software. Then we promoted the tech we were using in web forums. Finally we reached out to the companies that made the hardware and software we were using, thanked them, shared our experiences and offered to promote their products in press releases and articles.
Distribution money continues to come in from “Wake the Witch”. Meanwhile, Unfiltered has moved on, completing production of another micro budget horror in 2011, “Blood Rites”. Post-production is almost complete and we are planning to reach out to our “Wake the Witch” distributors with the new movie in March of 2012.
We’ll do a few things differently this time. We originally planned to self-distribute “Wake the Witch” and had set up on-line stores to sell DVDs before we got on VOD. That actually hurt our VOD deal, as the larger cable companies prefer pre-DVD releases. For “Blood Rites” we’ll be ready to offer them that exclusivity.
Our on-line promotion (social media/press releases/articles) for “Wake the Witch” really started when we got the VOD deal. This time we’ll do that work beforehand to build an aware fan base that will be looking for the movie on VOD.
It’s certainly not easy and definitely requires a committed team, but the “Wake the Witch” experience has taught Unfiltered Entertainment that micro-budget films can be financially successful.
Wake The Witch links:
Steps To Getting Your Micro Budget Off The Ground (Part One) – CLICK HERE
** Upcoming ** Steps To Getting Your Micro Budget Off The Ground (Part Two) – CLICK HERE
Any questions or comments? Just post them below!
Got a Micro Budget Success Story you’d like to share? Email me and tell me about it!