My last post entitled “Distribution Backwards?” really ignited something….. I got some messages on Twitter as well as feedback on the Film Specific Facebook page that indicates people do NOT like the idea of:
1. reverse engineering WRITING since all you’ll get is focus group ideas/formula, and
2. following a ‘trend’ too closely because by the time the film comes out, the trend could be over
These are all interesting points and I totally agree with both of them. What I realized is that I didn’t communicate my original intent of the “Distribution Backwards” concept very clearly. So thanks to you all for making me realize that!
The whole concept of Distribution In Reverse in my opinion is not so much about just copying what’s out there and writing for focus groups, it has more to do with actually preparing for Distribution during each stage of production. For example, at the idea/script stage YES you should look at what genres and cast are selling, but it doesn’t have to be taken so literally. Just think of it as market research. And like one poster on Facebook said, it’s more about dissecting stories from a psychological POV and asking “WHY is it working?”, and then implementing that into your story. Very aptly put.
So back to my Distribution In Reverse principle…. what I want to emphasize here is that this concept is more about really preparing for distribution during every stage of production. So everything from engaging your audience early, to casting the right actors, to implementing the right campaign, to looking realistically at budget levels and recoupment schedules, to preparing deliverables, and strategizing festivals.
THAT’s what I wanted to communicate. Simply the importance of really ‘injecting’ distribution into the entire filmmaking process, NOT making the mistake of just haphazardly making a film and just starting to think about
distribution after it’s completed. No way will that go over well in today’s market.
So hopefully this clears up any confusion about what I meant when I spoke about Distribution Backwards in the previous post, and once again I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you can apply these principles to YOUR film.