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Drawing the Line Between DIY and Finding Help in Distribution

Ok, you probably replace light bulbs when they burn out, but would you try to rewire the electrical circuits in your own home? Unless you don’t mind a few thousand volts running through your body, probably not. The same holds true for the work involved with distributing your project. Save yourself some headaches and take note of this advice...

Photo: Pui Shan Chan February 2009

Festivals and Conventions

If you’re launching your project at a major festival/convention (Sundance, Comicon, Art Basel, etc.) – hire a publicist. This is definitely a problem you want to have. Festivals and conventions are as much about working the press as they are about appreciating the submissions. On the other hand, if it’s an event you’ve never heard of until they accepted your project, save your money.

Dealing with the Sharks

Are you negotiating a distribution deal with a major company? Make sure you have the right lawyer. Even if your production lawyer was the bomb dot com, distribution contracts in media are very specific – you need someone with experience.

Now, whether you need an agent or manager might be up to you. Most agents of all kinds are only interested in you once they know everyone else is too. If you want to get the world interested in you, skip the agents and promote your own work.

Theatrical & Network vs. the Web

If you’ll only be satisfied with a theatrical distribution or network broadcast, you probably will need help. In fact, that’s maybe where an agent or manager can be of use because they act as a pipeline to major players. Or just hire a consultant who specializes in this. There are examples of who have managed to get their work into big venues without help, but it’s the exception, not the rule. However, if digital streaming is a good enough venue for your project, you may be better off going it alone – and you’ll certainly wind up with as much, if not more, money. It takes some time and energy, but there are so many easy ways to launch projects online (YouTube, Facebook and Vimeo, to name just the ones you’ve already heard of). Again, this path will require more promotion and marketing on your end, with boosting posts and actually engaging your fanbase (what a concept, huh?), but it’s worth it to save whatever money you have left, and it keeps the growth of your reach organic.

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