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The Director's Chair Issue #36 – June 27, 2003 (Buyers and Sellers)

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June 27, 2003          Scene 4 – Take 5

Published once a month.

Publisher: Peter D. Marshall
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1.  Introduction
2.  FREE Bonus for Subscribers
3.  Action-Cut-Print!
4.  Feature Article – “Buyers and Sellers”
5.  Back Issues of The Director’s Chair
6.  Quote of the Month
7.  Out Takes – “10 Bad Predictions”
8.  Share This Ezine
9.  Suggestions & Comments
10. Subscribe & Unsubscribe Information
11. Copyright Information


Welcome to Issue #36 of The Director’s Chair (June 27, 2003).

1) This month’s feature is a second article by Mark Steven Bosko
called “Buyers and Sellers.” As a producer and promoter of filmed
or videotaped entertainment, you are going to have to do business
with a lot of people. This article helps you to identify this
diverse audience of buyers and sellers.

2) Check out the San Francisco World Film Festival and Marketplace at

3) VOLUNTEERS NEEDED – 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:



Peter D. Marshall


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4. FEATURE ARTICLE – Buyers and Sellers

“Buyers and Sellers” by Mark Steven Bosko

As a producer and promoter of filmed or videotaped entertainment,
you are going to have to do business with a lot of people of
varying abilities, professionalism, experience and, for lack of a
better word, clout. “Makers and breakers” is probably a more
accurate description. These are the folks who can take your
project and make you rich and famous, or forget that your tape is
sitting on their desk and refuse to return your calls. Regardless
of the outcome, you need to identify this audience of buyers and
sellers, as often they are more vital to your success than the
ultimate viewer.

Distributors – can’t live without ’em. In one way or another,
promoters of all but the smallest, most niche-targeted projects
will deal with some kind of a distributor. Their sole reason for
existence is to get your film or video in front of an audience.
Whether it is a rental, purchase, broadcast or other viewing
situation, a distributor is involved.

Producer Representatives – Depending on your project’s status
(preproduction, production, post), you may have already spoken
with a producer’s rep. Often scouting out films in their earliest
stages, a producer’s rep will work on making inroads for your
project with distributors, the media, agents, publicists and the
like. Basically, they are facilitators and communicators, making
connections for you and your project to ensure a wide variety of
objectives including project completion, maximum media coverage,
wide distribution, sales and the ability for you to create
another film or video.

Distributor Representatives – Functioning much like a producer
rep, distributor reps largely tend to making distribution deals,
though they handle other functions such as media relations as
well. These guys only work with projects they strongly believe
have a chance of “making it,” for the simple reason they won’t
make any money if it doesn’t. Distributor reps will also involve
themselves as early as possible with a project, hoping to guide
it in a manner that best suits possible buyers. Distributor reps
lend a lot of clout to a fledgling film or video, especially so
during the important selection process of prestigious festivals
like Sundance, Slamdance and Telluride. You can rent-a-rep (and
the same goes for producer reps), essentially paying for their
services and connections.

Agents – Too many bad things have been written and perpetuated
about agents. Hollywood is a strange place, and agents seem to
take the brunt of all that strangeness. Agents handle many of the
same functions as producer and distributor reps, and even
publicists, but usually with a higher level of connections. They
have to, and do, know everyone. Even at the lowest levels, a good
agent will be familiar with everyone up the food chain.

Home Video Buyers – As an independent producer, the home video
(and DVD) market will likely become your holy grail. That’s
because most low-budget productions will forego any theatrical
distribution, instead heading for a direct-to-video release
pattern. Rental and retail buyers can represent a national or
regional chain, a single independent store or anything in
between. And, the buyers themselves are some of the most
difficult-to-contact folks in the business.

Buyers for a video rental chain face the dilemma of breadth vs.
depth. Should they stock 100 copies of the latest blockbuster or
stock 20 units each of five recent releases? As an independent
producer/promoter, you’ll obviously have better luck with those
buyers looking to add variety to their store shelves. With
retailers, breadth is the rule, except for the biggest Hollywood
hits, which will be stocked deep. Size of the chain is another
issue. Believe it or not, the smaller the rental chain, the more
likely they are to buy your tape. The reasoning here is that
corporate monsters such as Hollywood Video, Blockbuster and Movie
Gallery handle so many tapes, that for them to do business with a
single title supplier (this being you), would require an enormous
amount of manpower.

Retailers selling video provide a much tougher nut to crack.
While some retail shops provide an environment condusive to
selling entertainment product (Border’s Books & Music, Best Buy),
others may be hawking everything under the sun, thus more
selective in what they’ll stock.

Cable, PPV, Broadcast TV Buyers – With more than several hundred
selections available on most of these systems, even the most
arcane interests and hobbies have a channel, or at least a couple
of programs, dedicated to their pursuit. And that’s just counting
the U.S. market. Once you add up all of the networks world-wide,
it’s easy to understand why this has become such a lucrative
market for independent producers. It becomes a simple matter of
supply and demand. Too many channels plus too few shows means
good news for those film and video promoters with suitable

Internet buyers – Opportunities of every kind exist through the
Web, including online sales, streaming, critical review and

Other buyers and sellers to consider include;
organizations/groups, programming boards of schools and
universities, Video Software Dealers of America (VSDA)
conferences, libraries, theatres and other public venues (bars
and night clubs, coffee houses, health clubs, salons and anywhere
you can think of that features a screen or monitor continuously
providing entertainment or distraction to patrons) and other
places that sell/rent videos/DVD, such as, convenience stores,
drug stores, gas stations, grocery stores, health clubs,
catalogs, hospital gift shops, airports and airplanes, fast food
franchises, card shops and hotels.


Mark is a producer, marketing consultant and author of
“The Complete Movie Marketing Handbook.” His book gives street
level instruction and real-world examples on how to promote,
distribute and sell your productions. From landing a distribution
deal and getting free media coverage to staging a low-cost
premiere and selling your productions to video rental chains and
through the Internet, “The Complete Movie Marketing Handbook” is
a ‘must-have’ for any independent film or videomaker looking to
seriously sustain a career in the entertainment industry.

You can check out Mark’s book at:

In addition to his direct filmmaking and distributing experience,
Bosko works as a public relations and marketing professional,
assisting the promotional campaigns for his own and other
filmmakers’ product through the Independent Film and Video
Marketing Group, a company dedicated to assisting independent
filmmakers reach their promotional, distribution and sales goals.
Recent work includes Michael Wiese’s upcoming feature “Bali
Brothers” and the Web site http://www.Itsonlyamovie.com. You can
email Mark directly at mailto:markbosko@IFVMG.com.


To read back issues of The Director’s Chair, visit:


“Forgive me, Majesty. I am a vulgar man! But I assure you, my
music is not.”

From the movie, “Amadeus,” 1984

7. OUT TAKES – “10 Bad Predictions”

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
– Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.

“I’m just glad it’ll be Clark Gable who’s falling on his face and
not Gary Cooper.” – Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the
leading role in “Gone With the Wind.”

“This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously
considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently
of no value to us.” – Western Union internal memo, 1876.

“Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” – H. M. Warner, Warner
Brothers, 1927.

“We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.”
– Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.

“Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value.” –
Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure
de Guerre.

“Radio has no future. Heavier-than-air flying machines are
impossible. X-rays will prove to be a hoax.” – William Thomson,
Lord Kelvin, British scientist, 1899.

“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”
– Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital
Equipment Corp., 1977.

“While theoretically and technically television may be feasible,
commercially and financially it is an impossibility.” – Lee
DeForest, inventor.

“The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn
better than a ‘C’, the idea must be feasible.” – A Yale
University management professor in response to Fred Smith’s paper
proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to
found Federal Express Corp.)


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Peter D. Marshall
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