The last and final stage of film production: distribution. You have your final product and its time to distribute it! But what does that mean for the producer? The producer wants a return on investment. For that to happen they need to get people to know that the movie exists. A marketing plan from the development stage (usually what you used to sell your movie to investors) should already be in the works by this time. This should include in depth research of your target audience. Include who are they, where do they watch movies (theatres, DVD’s, online), and when are they most likely to watch this movie (Christmas, Easter). This can help with a lot of decisions such as choosing your optimal release window, or appropriate channel and timing used to distribute your film. For more options on release windows, check out our blog post on distribution. By distributing your movie according to the traits of your target audience, you are guaranteed a greater pick up for the film. This is called audience positioning.
Before the release, it is important to create a buzz around the film. A distributor’s job is very competitive as they fight for audience attention amongst hundreds of other produced movies. Some tactics could include press interviews, merchandise, trailers, and film showings at festivals. A separate print and advertising budget set apart since your pre-production would be handy at this time. This includes copies of the film (prints), distribution of prints, and advertising (radio, press, posters, TV).
Features including unique selling points about your film (be it iconic actors, an editing workshop used in your film, or a behind the scenes clip) can get the audience talking. Remember for things like behind-the-scenes it is important to film during the production phase. As obvious as that may seem, often once we arrive at distribution we realize our need for footage. Even if it is just for documenting purposes, take pictures of your process and journal any learning moments you may have gained. Impress the audience by keeping things short and entertaining.
As the producer, it is important to stay optimistic and proud of your film no matter what the results are. This is a piece of work that you have been a part of since the beginning. You had your hand in the development stage where money was needed to turn an idea into a script and finally into a movie. You were there in the pre-production making schedules and budgets and hiring professional crews to take the baton. You were present in the production stage making sure that the clips were being processed daily and that the on-set crew was following the schedules and budgets you proposed. You supervised the post-production where the magic of the set became a full-blown movie that you no longer had to envision but is now a tangible product. Finally, you handle the distribution with hope and confidence that once your product is released the audience will see your product as you do; with love and hope that it is all that you want it to be, all that you put your hard work in for no matter what the box office numbers were. Here’s to hoping that your movie meets your expectations through every phase of this long and exciting process, both artistically and financially. Success is yours for the taking.