So, you’ve made a film. Congratulations on getting that far. It’s a lot further than most people. Maybe you haven’t completed your film yet, but you are working on it now, or maybe you are just in the process of planning your film.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a feature-length film, a documentary, or a short, your film will not be seen if it’s not distributed. That is, unless you have lines of people outside your bedroom door, waiting to screen your masterpiece on your laptop. Kudos to you if that’s the case.
Film distribution is really the killer of most film projects. You may be able to put together a talented team to produce your film, and an ace post production crew, but it still needs distribution. Distribution houses can be very fickle and they have limited resources to distribute films to theaters and DVD.
But, there is good news. Filmmakers now have a range of resources to distribute their own films online. Online film distribution is no guarantee of success, but the cream always rises, and if you make something great and distribute it online, it will get seen by the right people eventually. Then it’s a matter of letting the internet spread the word for you.
Let’s take a look at some of the places you can go to distribute your film projects online.
The beauty of online distribution methods in today’s market is that we are now in an age where video streaming is the norm, thanks to the rise of Netflix, Amazon streaming video, and sites like Vimeo and YouTube, we watch more content online than we probably do in theaters and on digital media like DVD’s.
The team at IndieGoGo recognized that there were lots of producers using IndieGoGo to fund their film projects, but once completed, they were having trouble with the distribution. So, IndieGoGo started a sister company called Distribber to help.
In the words of Distribber, there are several problems with traditional distribution channels. One is that traditional distributors charge a revenue share or ongoing fees. They also state the other distributors sometimes charge “hidden” fees, and that they don’t always pay consistently.
Distibber’s service is designed to be easy and simple for filmmakers. Once you sign up for a free account at Distribber, you can upload your film, trailer, and details. You can then choose which online sites to submit your film too. Among the options are iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, Walmart, and more.
It’s important to note that there are a range of fees to get your film placed in these online markets and services. You should read Distribber’s FAQ for more information on pricing for each service. Be aware, they are not cheap.
However, Distribber does note that if your submission is not approved to one of the online services, they will refund your money, minus a $120 processing fee.
Distribber considers themselves a management service, acting as a middleman to the various online streaming services and giving you a dashboard to keep track of all of your sales and streams.
Definitely worth taking a look at if you are serious about online distribution channels.
Vimeo has its own “on demand” service, and it’s been quite successful for many filmmakers. In fact, the on demand Vimeo series “High Maintenance” did so well on Vimeo On Demand, that it was picked up for a new season by HBO.
Yes, the same HBO that puts out Game of Thrones.
If that’s not proof that you can be seen online, I don’t know what is.
Here’s how the Vimeo On Demand distribution service works. First, you must have a Vimeo Pro Account in order to take advantage of the on demand services. A PRO account gives you total control over the look of your pages, loads of metrics, and lots of uploading abilities. It does come with a $199 a year price tag though, so be prepared to put forth a little money.
Once you have your PRO account, you can prepare your video for Vimeo On Demand. There are lots of ways you can distribute your film with Vimeo On Demand. For instance, you can choose to allow your video to be seen worldwide, or you can choose regions.
You can also choose to allow your film to be rented for 24 hours or more, purchased for DRM-free download, or both. Vimeo even allows you to set your own pricing but encourages you to keep it as low as possible.
You then get control of the look of your film’s page, where you can add a description, trailer, allow for comments, and connect social media accounts. You can even add bonus content and create promo codes to share with fans and the press.
In return for all of this, Vimeo takes 10% of revenue after transaction costs. The other 90% is yours to keep.
Just remember that, although Vimeo has a great channel for people to stream and download your film, they don’t handle promotion. It’s still up to you to promote your film and get people to your Vimeo On Demand page.
Vimeo does offer some discovery tools, like collections that might help you out, but you are your own promoter here, so be prepared to do the legwork.
Although there are other ways to distribute your film online, and you can contact all of the individual streaming services yourself, Distribber and Vimeo on demand are two great ways to help your get started, and two different approaches to getting your work out to the world.
See which one works best for your film needs and let us know when your film gets picked up by HBO or Lion’s Gate for worldwide distribution. We can’t wait to see it.