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The Director’s Chair Issue #122 – September 8, 2011 (Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul)

Free Monthly Ezine for Film and Television Directors

September 8, 2011                Scene 12 – Take 9

Published once a month.

Publisher: Peter D. Marshall
Email: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com
Website: http://actioncutprint.com
Blog: http://filmdirectingtips.com


Dear Filmmaker,

You are receiving “The Director’s Chair” because you (or
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1. Introduction
2. Two Bonuses for Subscribing to The Director’s Chair
3. The Modern Moviemaking Movement
4. Independent Filmmakers Discussion Forum
5. FEATURE ARTICLE: Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul
6. Write an Article for The Director’s Chair
7. Subscriber Shameless Self-Promotion
8. Links of Interest
9. Blog – Film Directing Tips
10. Filmmaking Workshops
11. Product Promotion and Film Workshops
12. Suggestions and Comments
13. Share this Ezine
14. Reprint this Ezine
15. Copyright Information

1. Introduction

Welcome to Issue #122 of The Director’s Chair Sept 8, 2011

1) 5461 Filmmakers in 105 Countries Subscribe to this Ezine:

NOTE: If your country is not represented here, please let me
know and I will add it to this ever growing list.

Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas,
Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Botswana, Brazil, Bhutan, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile,
China, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic,
Denmark, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Egypt, Estonia,
Ethiopia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany,
Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia,
Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya,
Republic of Korea, Republic of Kosova, Kurdistan, Kuwait,
Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi,
Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Namibia,
Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan,
Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar,
Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone,
Serbia and Montenegro, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri
Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Swaziland, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan,
Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad and Tabago, Tunisia, Turkey,
Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States,
Uruguay, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe

2) Feature Article – The feature article this month is called:
“Things I learned while co-writing Selling Your Film Without
Selling Your Soul by Sheri Candler. Some may be aware that I
have co authored a book that is about to be released in a
couple of weeks. It is a book of case studies on recent
independent films that have taken the road less traveled to
the market and the cases run the gamut regarding subject
matter and genre. Few of these films took the tried and
traditional route of selling all rights to a distributor and
hope they treat you well, pay a good upfront minimum and send
regular revenue checks and accounting statements.” (Read full
article below.)

3) Facebook – The Director’s Chair has it’s own page on
Facebook. If you haven’t signed up to Facebook yet, I
sincerely recommend you think about doing it. Facebook is a
fabulous place to meet people who share your passions and it
is one of the top Social Networking sites on the Internet.

Here’s the Facebook home page: http://www.facebook.com Once
you are signed up, type in “The Directors Chair” and the page
should come up. Sign up as a fan and then start to join the
discussion forums, post photos, videos and write on the Walls.

If you are already a member of Facebook, here is the direct
link to the page: http://snipurl.com/923qh

4) Twitter – If you have a Twitter account, let’s follow each
other. You can follow me at http://twitter.com/bcfilmmaker.

5) To Subscribe or Unsubscribe to this Ezine, send a blank
email to: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com

6) To Change Your Email Address, send an email with your old
and new email address to mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com

7) To Read Back Issues of The Director’s Chair, visit:


Peter D. Marshall

2. Two Bonuses For Subscribing To The Director’s Chair

Thank you very much for subscribing to this ezine.

BONUS #1 – Here is the link to download Day One (30 pages)
of “The Art and Craft of the Director Audio Seminar.”

BONUS #2 – Here is the link to download the first 26 pages of
the “Script Breakdown and Film Scheduling Online Course.”

3. The Modern Moviemaking Movement (Give This to a Filmmaker)

If you have been following filmmaking trends you know the
world of indie filmmaking is changing fast.

Inexpensive production technology coupled with the decline of
traditional movie distribution has forever transformed the
ways in which movies are marketed, seen and sold.

These days, filmmakers must not only make great movies, but in
order to prosper, modern moviemakers must now master
crowdfunding, internet marketing and social media.

To help you succeed as an independent filmmaker, I
collaborated with TEN of the most prominent filmmaker thought
leaders in the world to provide you with a complementary
filmmaking Action Guide on how to survive and thrive in this
ever changing industry.

It’s called “The Modern Moviemaking Movement” and it will
provide you with over 100 pages of useful, modern, no-fluff
filmmaking information.

So if you want an action guide that will help you survive and
thrive in this ever changing industry, grab your complementary
copy now of “The Modern MovieMaking Movement:”

Also, if you like this 100 page Action Pack, PLEASE GIVE IT
AWAY to your closest filmmaking friends. 🙂

4. Independent Filmmakers Discussion Forum

I have created an Indie Filmmakers Discussion Forum on my
blog at: http://filmdirectingtips.com/indiefilmmakersforum#/

So far there are three discussion topics:

1. Filmmakers Help Forum
Ask Questions – Find Crew – Get a Job

2. Filmmakers Discussion Group
Discuss Filmmaking Topics Here

3. Indie Filmmaking News
News About Indie Filmmaking

Please take a moment to have a look and participate in this
new Indie Filmmakers Discussion Forum.

And if you want me to create more filmmaking topics you can
participate in, please email me and let me know.

5. FEATURE ARTICLE: Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul

“Things I learned while co-writing “Selling Your Film Without
Selling Your Soul” by Sheri Candler.

Some may be aware that I have co authored a book that is about
to be released in a couple of weeks. It is a book of case
studies on recent independent films that have taken the road
less traveled to the market and the cases run the gamut
regarding subject matter and genre. Few of these films took
the tried and traditional route of selling all rights to a
distributor and hope they treat you well, pay a good upfront
minimum and send regular revenue checks and accounting

Most used either a hybrid approach to distribution (retained
some ownership control over their work by splitting up rights
with the most qualified distribution partners and reserving
the ability to sell it themselves), a DIY approach (did not
sell any rights to the work to outside distributors and have
complete control over selling it directly to audiences) or
distributed it for free using the global internet. They also
used online tools and grassroots efforts to reach their target
audiences rather than over reliance on large advertising and
publicity budgets to get attention.

Though I didn’t write all of the chapters, I was part of the
vetting process in choosing the cases. One of the main
qualifiers was the ability to report numbers. We felt that
there have been many books devoted to film distribution theory
and deal brokering, but not many that dove deep into the
revenue results and the budgets those results were based on.
We were determined to get that information out as it is most
useful in making business decisions for producing a film.

This resulted in many cases refusing to participate from the
beginning or dropping out at the last moment, leaving us
scrambling to replace them. I am proud to say that we believe
we have accomplished our goal or providing independent
filmmakers the world over with a useful resource about the
current landscape of film distribution on which to base their
business decisions.

Without further ado, here are 5 things I learned while writing
this book

1) Myth and secrecy are rampant in the film industry. No
wonder no one knows the true state of the industry or what to
base their decisions off of! Filmmakers won’t talk (or their
investors won’t let them) about how much is spent making their
films because they are trying to get a sales agent or
distributor interested in buying it and paying as much upfront
as possible, but how can anyone possibly know what is
achievable and what is fantasy?

Secrecy in the industry is probably not really a revelation to
you, but by holding back information in the hope of sales that
mostly aren’t materializing, it keeps anyone from really
knowing what budget level films should be made at if
recoupment is part of the plan. Solid decisions, both by
filmmakers and by investors, can’t really be made if no one
knows the truth, both about the budgets and about the profit.

2) A realistic budget level for indie films. In order for an
indie film using a hybrid or DIY strategy to see recoupment
and possibly more, the production AND marketing and
distribution budget must stay low. Based on our case studies,
that number is below $200,000. Films that went over this
budget level were far less likely to recoup within the first 2
years of release, none of the cases over this amount in the
book have recouped in full yet.

3) Marketing and distribution are the production’s
responsibility and must be part of the budget. Many of our
cases did not plan or budget for taking on this expense from
inception and were caught in that familiar scene of thinking a
distributor would be found and scrambling to make a plan and
raise more money to implement it when low offers or no offers

Over and over again our participants noted they could see now
why it was important to think about this work, they remarked
on how big of a job this is and that they would need to get
some help on board much earlier in the process, and why a
clearly defined audience was important to maximizing their
efforts at reaching them.

4) Financial gain is not always the main goal. This was
particularly true for the subjects of my chapter who are using
file sharing sites to distribute work. Most of them were first
time filmmakers and mainly they are interested in reaching the
widest audience possible for the least cost and building names
for themselves that could be used to get attention from the
industry. Publicity and word of mouth play a huge part in
this. Most of the time when filmmakers say they want to reach
the “widest audience possible” what they mean is they want to
make the most money possible.

Those 2 things do not always go hand in hand and it is
especially so for complete unknowns. For filmmakers who have
very little financial resources to reach wide audiences, it is
better to spend as little budget as possible to make the
content and spend a lot of time engaging with audiences and
figuring out how to cost effectively distribute the work.

5) The importance of research before you sign with anyone.
With the internet as pervasive as it is, there is no reason
not to do your due diligence before you sign a contract,
including research on sales agents and distributors. Don’t
just rely on a company website to inform you of their
reputations or a few media write ups of some well known films
they handled. Really take the time to contact a cross section
of their client accounts and see if you are getting the clear

You should also know what all the terms of your contract mean
and don’t be rushed to sign because your big premiere is
happening. If you have someone on board who is solely
responsible for the marketing and distribution of your film,
have them get samples of contracts and really understand what
you will be agreeing to, what you can negotiate, how you can
terminate if the agreement isn’t being followed and how to
protect yourself should the company go bankrupt.

I am proud to say that I believe we have accomplished our goal
of providing independent filmmakers the world over with a
useful resource about the current landscape of film
distribution on which to base their business decisions. I
can’t wait for everyone to read it.

Written by The Film Collaborative’s co-executive directors
Orly Ravid and Jeffrey Winter in association with
filmmaker/author Jon Reiss (“Think Outside The Box Office”)
and social media marketer Sheri Candler, “Selling Your Film
Without Selling Your Soul” will be released September 13 via
Apple iBooks, followed by Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook,
a printed edition and free ePub version. The book is supported
by Presenting Sponsors Prescreen and Area23a Movie Events and
Official Sponsor Dynamo Player. Find it on Facebook and follow
the hashtag #syfnotsys on Twitter.

6. Do You Want To Write An Article For The Director’s Chair?

If you would like to contribute articles, tips, links of
interest, industry news, interviews, special event dates or
other resources to The Director’s Chair, please email me at:

7. Subscriber Shameless Self-Promotion (Free Advertising)

The Director’s Chair gives you an incredible opportunity to
get Free Advertising for your services and your films.

Each month, I give two subscribers an opportunity to promote
themselves, their company or their productions in this

So if you want over 5000 filmmakers around the world to know
about you and your films, please send me your “shameless
self-promotion” to: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com.

Please limit your promotion to 300 words. I reserve the right
to edit the promotion for length, spelling and formatting.

1) Om Verma – My film production is new in India. Our first
project on DVD format to release in the market this month. I
want to produce short films, tele films, AD films,
documentaries globally. I welcome freshers for acting in my
projects from the planet as I want a international banner to
be recognized, and we are stepping to that direction slowly.

Send your latest pics and biodata to the email given.

Om Verma
Bluecity Cine Enterprises,
Jodhpur, India.
email: finalcut100@gmail.com

8. Links of Interest

1) Rookie Quebec filmmaker launches movie on YouTube

2) The Fate of Documentary Film

3) DSLR filmmaking: Fad or the future of cinema?

4) Steve Jobs’ Movie Legacy: Pixar and the Technology That
Freed Indie Filmmakers http://su.pr/1iDB7S

5) What Can Hip Hop Teach Filmmakers Of The New Black Film
Movement On The Horizon? http://su.pr/1ckiBw

6) Transmedia and the Future of Filmmaking

7) How do you make it in the film industry without selling out?

8) What Is the Future of Hispanic Filmmaking?

9) After Hollywood: the rise of the international box office

10) The Technological Evolution of Filmmaking and its
Relation to Quality in Cinema http://su.pr/1nxnnJ

9. Blog – Film Directing Tips

Please take a look at the many articles on my blog,
http://FilmDirectingTips.com and make some comments on the
posts. Your feedback is important to me because they will help
me decide on the content of this blog.

10. Filmmaking Workshops – Peter D. Marshall

I have worked in the Film and Television Industry for over
37 years – as a Film Director, Television Producer, First
Assistant Director and Series Creative Consultant. I’ve been
asked many times to share my Film and TV production
knowledge with others. As a result, I developed several
workshops that I have successfully presented over the past
15 years.

To find out more about these workshops, just click on the
link below. If you are interested in any of these four
workshops for yourself or your organization, please contact
me to discuss how we can bring these workshops to you.

11. Product Promotion And Film Workshops

From time to time, I will contact you to inform you of film
workshops, filmmaking products or Online courses that I feel
are beneficial to filmmakers like yourself. Of course, you are
under no obligation to purchase anything – I only offer this
information as a service to subscribers of this free ezine.

12. Suggestions And Comments

Send any comments, suggestions, questions or advice to:

13. Share This Ezine

Share this Ezine by email and forward it to your friends and

14. Reprint This Ezine

This Ezine may be reprinted with permission. Email me at:

15. Copyright Information

Copyright (c) 2000-2011
Peter D. Marshall
All Rights Reserved