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Keeping up with the changing trends in independent film is hard work. Here is a reading list to help
How Not to Make a Short Film
Roberta Munroe screened short film submissions at Sundance for five years, and is an award-winning short filmmaker in her own right. From the first draft of your script to casting, production, editing, and distribution, this is your one-stop primer for breaking into the business.
Documents to help you plan for budgeting of not only production, but marketing, distribution, transmedia, crowdfunding etc.
Film Title Clearance Searches, Film Title Reports, Script Clearance Reports and Licensing of Footage, Stills, and Music
Consultants and membership sites for guidance on your film's marketing and distribution options
Designers who create the artwork of movie marketing campaigns for print and online,including movie posters, one-sheets, websites, postcards, physical media (ie. DVD, thumb drive), outdoor and internet advertising.
title sequences, DVD menus, in-film graphic design
DVD replication,packaging, short run duplication, DVD authoring
It is important when doing digital distribution to mainstream platforms that one knows the terms that one’s aggregator has with the platforms and also if the aggregator goes through a middleman or two. This is especially important with regard to Cable VOD, but also in terms of negotiating an SVOD license/deal. Of course one wants to also compare fees and marketing support.
Devolver’s partnership with Cable VOD leader Lightning Entertainment will combine the prowess of Lightning’s longstanding partnerships in home entertainment with Devolver Digital’s expertise in reaching new audiences via media devices and digital outlets primarily regarded as gaming platforms.
TFC’s motto is “be everywhere.” Your film should be in every digital store that is viable and reaching audiences/consumers. And you are your own brand and hopefully engaging audiences directly, so backend your own site(s) and social networking pages too. These services will help you do that. And for more broad digital distribution in terms of mainstream platforms (such as iTunes, Netflix and Hulu) please see the Digital Distribution—Aggregation to Mainstream Platforms section below.
Licensing for the educational setting
California Newsreel has produced and distributed cutting-edge social issue films for activists and educators since 1968. Today it is the oldest, independent non-profit documentary center in the country and the first systematically to integrate media production and distribution with the media needs of contemporary social change movements.
Cinema Eye Honors
The Cinema Eye honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking were founded in late 2007 to recognize and honor exemplary craft and innovation in nonfiction film. Cinema Eye’s mission is to advocate for, recognize and promote the highest commitment to rigor and artistry in the nonfiction field. The Cinema Eye Honors recognize feature and short-length films with an emphasis on nonfiction films made for public distribution, whether primarily theatrical, festival or broadcast.
“Factual Entertainment without the froth.” Established over 22 years ago, Espresso Media International (formerly Espresso TV) started off life as a production company developing magazine programmes, documentaries and strands for the BBC and TVS (ITV). The mid to late 1990’s saw Espresso involved in setting up a sports programming and distribution service to Latin America, and Hispanic North America producing a daily news and programming service, delivered to over 20 Latin American channels in three languages. Since the late 1990’s Espresso’s focus has rested on distribution with well-established international contacts in the documentary and factual entertainment genres.
Films Media Group
Films Media Group, an Infobase Learning Company, is a premier source of high-quality video on academic, vocational, and life-skills topics. With thousands of outstanding educational videos—many exclusive—from the world's most recognized producers, they serve the needs of schools, colleges, libraries, the medical community, and other institutions with the broadest and deepest range of content available.
For over twenty years Journeyman has distributed and co-produced, provocative, profound, and original factual content, working with the top players in the industry. They are one of the leading independent suppliers of award winning stories to the world broadcast market and pride ourselves on a position at the spearhead of the factual agenda. Their catalogue covers a myriad of subjects and styles; commercial, current affairs, and feature docs, and they attempt to keep "a central journalistic ethic" at the root of the company.
NewFilmMarketing is a consulting service for do-it-yourself film distribution to universities, K-12, libraries, and specialty markets. They are not film distributors and will never take a percentage of a filmmaker's profit and encourage filmmakers to succeed as their own distributor.
Since 1998, Passion River Films has acquired, distributed and represented unique independent films and documentaries. Their award winning and festival favorite features have made their home on shelves of various notable film libraries and institutions. Their catalogue represents films on nearly every topic including Multicultural Studies, Women’s Studies, Medical Studies and Advances, Religious and Spiritual studies, Environmentalism, Aging, Drug Addiction, Gay/Lesbian/Transgender, etc.
Environmental Media; Their mission is to distribute the very best in educational media and documentary programming on critical environmental, global and social issues to the widest possible audience worldwide, including colleges, schools, libraries, businesses, religious groups, government agencies and non-governmental organizations.
These distributors take all rights in either North America, foreign or worldwide
These channels represent the next wave of video creation. Whether one off short films or episodic series, online channels & MCNs (multi channel networks) offer creators more opportunities to build up a fanbase and earn a living than traditional film distributors.
Service companies dedicated to working with rights holders who want to plot theatrical demand based on where the audience is.
Companies that specialize in red carpet premieres, festival after parties, industry events
Test screenings serve as a great exercise for gauging audience reaction, building up early word of mouth, and determining marketing strategies
Short term/weekend programs dedicated to educating filmmakers on the latest trends and developments in the independent film industry
These sites all provide guidance, tips, best practices, case studies and a place for fellow indie artists to congregate.
Most of these grants support outreach and audience engagement strategies. We have not included funding bodies that support the development or production of films.
Media Arts Grants
Grant awards assist artists in making recently completed works available to public audiences. Assists artists in meeting expenses such as: duplication of preview, screening, and exhibition copies; promotional materials including documentation and schematics of media-installation and new-media works.
SANAD is the Development and Post-Production Fund of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF). Provides talented filmmakers from the Arab world with meaningful support from within the region towards the development or completion of their narrative and documentary feature-length films. Post-production: Up to 60,000 USD per project
This category is just for services related to online/digital ads. Some are self service, some are agencies and ad networks
Marketing gurus, futurists, resources for the latest tips, tools and trends.
Analytics gathered for free or low cost
Tools to build your own social community instead of relying on Facebook, Ning etc.
Whether it is an app or a complete website package, these services work directly with artists to gather and maintain their audience.
These are service providers for grassroots marketing outreach to communities, organizations, schools, churches etc
Tools for managing a Facebook business page
Tools for managing your Instagram presence
This new social site has rocketed into the top 10 of all social sites on the web. If you are more inclined to use images rather than text to communicate with an audience, try Pinterest with these tools.
Tools to use for managing a Twitter account
for use as music beds for trailers, video clips, podcasts etc
Hiring an experienced music supervisor let's you access their ongoing relationships with the major and indie labels and publishers to ensure getting the maximum out of your music budget. Skillful negotiation of the most favorable licensing fees, terms and conditions for the music you want, and accurate "no-holes" delivery of your Music Rights Package to distributors.
These tools help you build a database of bloggers for publicity outreach. Blogger outreach is mainly about building relationships. It’s reaching out to bloggers to find out how you can help each other.
These are publicity firms that handle traditional PR (festival and theatrical release). Some may also handle digital PR.
MacCaption and CapionMaker
$1100 might seem like a lot for a closed captioning software package (there's one for Mac, one for Windows...and that's only the entry level version), but DIY CC instead of going through a lab (or having your distributor do it for you and recoup) might save you money in the long run.
Services that book films with organizations and work in a more grassroots and event oriented manner. Also includes airline, correctional facilities and museum public performance licensing
Entertainment in Motion
EIM provide high quality entertainment to over 130 airlines around the world. In order to supply our airline customers with the variety of entertainment they demand, we offer first run theatrical films from Hollywood as well as first run Chinese films and the latest in theatrical releases from France.
List of experienced trailer editors/companies. Some are creative agencies that handle all aspects of an advertising campaign.
72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, these services help your videos get views
Companies the help structure transmedia stories/campaigns and resources to find out about transmedia
Extra tools to add to a website