The Director's Chair Issue #90 – Sept. 26, 2008 (How to Find Buyers for Your Films)

by Peter D Marshall

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THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR
Free Monthly Ezine for Film and Television Directors

September 26, 2008                  Scene 9 – Take 9
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Published once a month.

Publisher: Peter D. Marshall
Email: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com
Web Site: http://www.actioncutprint.com

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Dear Friend,

You are receiving The Director’s Chair because you (or
someone using your email address) requested a subscription.

PRIVACY STATEMENT: This Subscriber List is a private mailing
list and will not be made available to other companies or
individuals. I value every Subscriber and respect your privacy.

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CONTENTS
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1. Introduction
2. Want a Successful Career as a Film & TV Director?
3. BLOG – Film Directing Tips
4. The Director’s Chair Filmmakers Discussion Forum
5. FEATURE ARTICLE – How to Find Buyers for your Films
6. Write an Article for The Director’s Chair
7. Subscriber Shameless Self-Promotion
8. Subscriber Links of Interest
9. Filmmaking News, Websites, Articles and Events
10. Filmmaking Workshops
11. Back Issues of The Director’s Chair
12. Subscribe & Unsubscribe Information
13. Copyright Information

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1. INTRODUCTION
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Welcome to Issue #90 of The Director’s Chair (Sept. 26/08)

1) FILMMAKERS IN OVER 100 COUNTRIES READ THIS EZINE:

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

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

2) SPECIAL FEATURE ARTICLE – I’m doing something a little
different this month as I have included two articles by
Daniel Lafleche on how to find buyers for your films:

Article One – “Looking for Film Buyers? 5 Steps to Secure
Distribution for Your Indie Film.”

Article Two – “Indie Filmmakers Looking for Film Buyers: 5
Reasons Why It’s Never Too Early to Start Marketing.”
(See below to read both articles)

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://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Directors-Chair-Ezine/21890858600

4) FILMMAKING WORKSHOPS AND PRODUCT PROMOTION –
From time to time I will contact you by email to inform you
of certain filmmaking workshops or film products 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.

5) SHARE THIS EZINE – Share this Ezine by email and forward
it to your friends and associates.

6) SUGGESTIONS & COMMENTS – Send any comments, suggestions,
questions or advice to: mailto:comments@actioncutprint.com

7) REPRINT THIS EZINE – This Ezine may be reprinted with
permission. Email me at: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com

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Enjoy.

Peter D. Marshall

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2. Want a Successful Career as a Film & TV Director?
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If you want a successful career as a Film & Television
Director, I can help.

“The Art and Craft of the Director Audio Seminar” is a
10-Day multimedia audio seminar I created full of film
making tips, techniques and tools designed to help you
become a successful, working film and television director.

This 162 page pdf eBook contains links to 26 audio files you
can download onto your computer, 23 downloadable PDF
reports, 28 links to videos you can watch and is supported
by over 500 separate website reference links.
http://www.actioncutprint.com/audioseminar-aotd1.html

I am very proud of this film directing course and I
guarantee that anyone who listens to the audio files and
reads all the support material will discover many of the
tools a working film director needs to survive today.

All the information about the 10 Day “The Art and Craft of
the Director Audio Seminar,” including the content list,
audio files, support materials, free bonuses and how to
order, is available now. Just click on the link below.
http://www.actioncutprint.com/audioseminar-aotd1.html

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3. BLOG – Film Directing Tips
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Take a look at my Film Directing Blog and post some
filmmaking tips or add some resources. And please, make some
comments on the posts – your feedback is important to me
because they will help me decide on the content I will add
to this blog.

Blog – http://filmdirectingtips.com
RSS – http://filmdirectingtips.com/wp-rss.php

Here are some of the latest blog entries I have made:

Understanding Camera Techniques – Shot Size
What can a Commercial Production Company Do for You?
How to Break into the World of Commercial Directing
What is a Commercial Director?
Actor/Character Personality Traits
An Incredible Resource of Filmmaking Information
The Actor’s Language – Action Verbs
The Actor’s Language – Conflict
The Actor’s Language – Text and Subtext

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4. The Director’s Chair Filmmakers Discussion Forum
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The Director’s Chair Filmmakers Discussion Forum.
http://www.actioncutprint.com/smf/index.php

Ask film directing questions, submit your website for
review, post film and television directing links, share film
making tips and special events or just keep in touch with
other filmmakers from “The Director’s Chair.”

This forum is for subscribers of “The Director’s Chair”
only, so you will have to register in order to post
questions, give answers or add links. All you can do without
registering is read the posts.

Please visit this new forum now, sign up and take a look
around. http://www.actioncutprint.com/smf/index.php

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5. FEATURE ARTICLE – Indie Filmmakers: Looking for Buyers?
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Here are two articles written by Daniel Lafleche to help you
find buyers for your independent films.

ARTICLE ONE – “Looking for Film Buyers? 5 Steps to Secure
Distribution for Your Indie Film” by Daniel Lafleche

So, you have an indie film and you want to find
distribution.

Never have so many options for distribution been available;
never has it been so confusing to decide what is right for
you and your film. The industry is experiencing a
transitional moment; everyone knows online downloads are the
future, but nobody knows exactly how it will play out. As
well, distribution has gone online too, offering a plethora
of choices for the indie filmmaker and producer. What to do,
what to do.

This article is the first of a 5-part series that looks at
all of the avenues open to you as a filmmaker and
distributor. We’ll offer some tips on how to find your film
a home.

Regardless of your film’s ultimate destination, your goal is
to find a license buyer for your film. Who are film buyers?
We’re talking about broadcast TV (cable, satellite, and
terrestrial), home DVD companies, VOD service providers, and
mobile content providers.

Let’s start this series by examining the psychology of this
rare and overworked professional. Here are five things you
should know about Film Buyers and 5 tips for putting the
best face of your film forward.

1. Film Buyers want a ‘story’. This little bit of
terminology here might create some confusion. We’re not
talking about the plot of your film or the subject matter of
your documentary, but a story that will sell the film–on
paper. You should be doing everything in your power to
create that story. To do this, you have to distance yourself
from the film you know and love and ask yourself: What will
sell this film to somebody who does not know and love it the
way I do? The answer to this question is the ‘story’ you
will use to sell your film.

The most obviously valuable raw material for a sales story
is…star power. Film stars often fail to attract their
audience, but nothing makes film buyers feel more peaceful
than the presence of some known names in the mix. If you are
bereft of any bona fide name power, do not fear, you have
other options. Festival play and any press generated are
also incredibly important. You should be knocking yourself
out to find some kind of festival and press exposure for
your film. Even if it’s not a top festival or a top
publication, festival and press play will take your film
from having no story at all to having a first chapter. Hype
is over-hyped, but your film is going to look more valuable
to buyers if it has a story. If you can say, “This film
already had some exposure. This film has been reviewed. This
film has played at a festival. This film has a response.
This film has an online presence. This film has the
beginnings of an audience or a niche audience,” then you
have a story buyers will want to cuddle up with.

If you are looking for ideas you should check out the
industry trades. Look at how distributors market their
films, and figure out how to do this on a small scale. You
want your story to be a comfortable and familiar one. “But
my film is original, beautiful, heart-breaking, unique…and
my marketing must be the same,” you say. This brings us to
the next point…

2. Film Buyers think in dollars, not passion. When selling
your film, don’t rely on your own enthusiasm and passion to
make the sale. Again, channel your enthusiasm into a
narrative the film buyer can understand, a narrative about
how and why this film is going to attract people to it. Has
this genre of film had any recent notable successes? Does
your film intersect with any issues or topics that are
garnering attention? Save your passion for your filmmaking,
and focus your remaining energy into crafting a professional
marketing campaign and learning the highly efficient
language of film buyers.

3. Film buyers are overextended, have short attention spans,
and don’t want to waste time. Film buyers are professionals.
Hook them fast with a comprehensive one sheet (or sell
sheet). The circumstances in which you are pitching your
film are going to vary, but one thing that everybody will
need at some point is a one sheet as part of their
promotional package. Here is the crucial thing: your sheet
should be short and to the point. This sheet is a cliff
notes to the strongest features of your film. Do you have a
few positive reviews? Great, use them in the press kit, but
on the one sheet just use the best line from each one. Do
you have some seasoned talent? Stick their names on the one
sheet with 1 or 2 of their best-known films, but save full
biographies for later. Any film can create a ton of
paperwork, but nobody is going to go through it all. Don’t
bury the selling features of your film and assume buyers
will get to it. With that in mind, don’t assume a buyer will
watch a screener. Most buyers accumulate hundreds and
hundreds of screeners every year and many of these remain
unwatched. Save your screeners for buyer’s who show
interest, or even for buyers who you have a good feeling
about.

4. Film Buyers want to work in their comfort zone. To save
your time and your buyer’s time, you should always do
research beforehand, especially if you are making the first
move. Are you targeting a buyer that makes sense for your
film? Why do you think so? What else had this buyer/company
done that makes you think the company is right for your
film. Again, these points can be, if not part of your one
sheet, an introduction to the story of your film. You will
look professional and on the ball, you will stand out if it
seems like you have done the research and are personally
addressing a buyer’s specific skills, past successes and
proven strengths.

5. Film Buyers are freaked out. By and large film buyers are
a worried bunch, cowering in the ruins of the decimated
music industry and wondering if their business is going to
disappear out from under their feet. Film and music are
different animals, and the future of film in the era of
online exhibition is still not completely foretold, but the
mood is certainly wary. The film industry is in transition
and everyone is handling it in their own way, some better
than others. You’ll see conservative streaks, but also canny
entrepreneurs looking to exploit the changing terrain.
Overall, though, most buyers want to minimize advance
spending. This practice, in itself is not suspicious, but
for your own protection do your homework and make sure you
are dealing with a reputable company and a company that is
in a stable financial position.

ARTICLE TWO – “Indie Filmmakers Looking for Film Buyers: 5
Reasons Why It’s Never Too Early to Start Marketing” by
Daniel Lafleche

Making an independent film is a huge project, and
conventional wisdom has it that you: shoot your film, cut
your film and then, after that’s all done, you try to sell
your film. However, marketing your film should begin during
the production phase. But who has the time? That’s just it 
you don’t.

So…find some people who do. Marketing is a priority, but
it should not be your priority. You need to beg, borrow and
trade favors to find a few key people who can stay on top of
your marketing needs while your film is in production.
Ideally, you want to make the entire production process a
marketing process too. Below are a list of five key things
you do not want to forget to do, or better yet, that you do
not want to forget to find someone else to do for you.

1. Find A Photographer

My own experience in film acquisitions has taught me that
even some high-level productions forget to finish production
with some great still photography and I cannot emphasize
enough how important this aspect will be down the road. You
will need photography for every aspect of you promotion and
you want it to be quality product. Basically, you need a
professional photographer, or somebody who shoots like a
professional. You do not need a photographer for the full
duration of your shoot, but you should ensure that you have
one for the most photogenic scenes. As well, you want to
make sure you have compelling photos of all your lead actors
in costume and in character. Brief your photographer on the
film’s story so they can help you tell it visually. Don’t
put off taking stills until the end and don’t assume that
it’s something you can go back to later ‘ you can’t. The
best shots are going to happen during your shoot, so make
sure you have somebody around who can capture them.

2. Build Your Film An Online Home

A stand-alone website for your film is crucial and the
overwhelming consensus is that you want to have something
simple and user friendly. Your website does not need a lot
of flash that makes it clunky to use. Your website, like
your film, is a work in progress, so begin with production
as your homepage, as you progress this will shift. By the
end of your process you will want your site to contain
simple access to at least the following: your film’s cast
and crew, still production photos, a poster, any news
coverage your film has generated (more on that later),
festival play, and most importantly, a trailer. The trailer
is really the money shot here, so don’t hide it: make your
trailer, or a link to your trailer, your film’s centerpiece.
And make sure it’s high quality. The payoffs for starting
early on this are invaluable. By the time you are submitting
for film festivals or looking for distribution, you will
have a site that reflects your film’s production history,
that already has an audience and that has all the bugs
worked out.

3. Meet The Local Press

Variety may not be interested in the fact that you are
embarking on an independent feature may, but it may be news
for publications in and around your location. Reach out to
the local press and see if you can get some coverage of your
production, talk up your location, why you chose it and what
you are doing. Give a local reporter or freelancer some time
with your cast. Once you’ve wrapped, you won’t be in the
position to be a local story ‘ take advantage of it while
you can.

4. Reach Out To Film Buyers

A number of independent distributors will not purchase an
unfinished film, but that does not mean that you should wait
until your film is finished to contact potential buyers. A
simple e-mail, with a link to the film’s website and a note
that screeners will be made available in the future is all
you need at the beginning. At this point, focus on the
distributors you would most like to work with, your dream
list. E-mail with a follow up phone call is the best way to
go. This period is low pressure for both the buyer and you,
so take it easy and treat it as a “getting to know you”
session. Once you have a completed project, the distribution
channels you like will at least know who you are.

5. Shoot Your Film / Create A Community

During the pre-production and production stage of making
your film, you are going to come into contact with a large
number of people. Each of these people will have an e-mail
address, and somebody should be tracking all of that
information; your film’s production creates its first
community, so take advantage of it. Take business cards form
everyone you come into contact with and get all the e-mail
addresses logged.

————————————————————-
Daniel Lafleche is the COO of IPEX TV, the leading
multiplatform B2B Film and Video online marketplace. Daniel
has over 25 years experience in film distribution, combining
film and video licensing with internet media. IPEX TV
specializes in helping indie producers and film and video
distributors take advantage of the web and reach out to
international film license buyers. You can learn more at
http://www.ipextv.tv
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6. Want to Write an Article for The Director’s Chair?
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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:
mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com

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7. SUBSCRIBER SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION
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Each month, I give two subscribers an opportunity to promote
themselves, their company or their productions in this
section. If you are interested, send your “shameless
self-promotion” to: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com.

Please limit your promotion to less than 200 words. I also
reserve the right to edit the promotion for length, spelling
and formatting.
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1) Fandangopictuees – http://www.fandangopictures.com
Welcome to our site!  We’re a new independent moviemaking
team formed on the Southern Coast of Florida. We’re excited
and proud to announce that over the past four years our
films and screenplays have won a number of awards at
noteable film festivals and contests, including Moondance
Film Festival’s GAIA Award in Hollywood!

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8. SUBSCRIBER LINKS OF INTEREST
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“Subscriber Links of Interest” is where you can further
promote yourself, your company or your productions by having
your information displayed on a special links page at:
http://www.actioncutprint.com/tdc-subscriberlinks.html

If you are a subscriber to this ezine and you want me to put
your self-promotion on this page, just send an email to:
mailto:links@actioncutprint.com

Again, I also reserve the right to edit the promotion for
length and formatting.

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9. Filmmaking News, Websites, Articles and Events
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1) “Top 7 Fool-Proof Indie Film Marketing Tactics.”
Marketing your independent film is the toughest, most
time-consuming and most expensive part of the filmmaking
process. You think making the movie was tough? You ain’t
seen nothing yet.
http://hubpages.com/hub/top_film_marketing_tactics

2) “Now, Where Was I?” – Unwitting Amnesia in Contemporary
Filmmaking.” Film has been concerned with memory for as long
as it has existed. Derived as it was from photography, that
most basic of historical recordings, the cinema served in
the early days as a way to capture reality and retain it on
celluloid. The proto-documentaries of the Lumiere brothers
and their recordings of trains and beaches clearly
demonstrate a fascination with the retention of imagery from
lived actuality. Film can be seen as a technological
extension of the natural way that the human brain imbibes
moments in time.
http://duetospecialcircumstances.blogspot.com/2008/06/now-where-was-i-unwitting-amnesia-in.html

3) “Tension – The Piano Wire of Filmmaking.” I’ve been tense,
lately. I have too much going on in and outside of my head.
And this morning, I was reflecting on my state of being and
found myself reflecting even deeper on the nature of tension
itself. How do we cultivate it inside of us? Why do we
create it in the first place and allow ourselves to exist in
it so often? Why do we actually seek it out so often, even
in our “leisure” activities?
http://filmmakerslife.blogspot.com/2008/06/tension-piano-wire-of-filmmaking.html

4) LoftCity – The First Online Film Studio. A place where new
films are made. http://www.loftcity.com

5) “Television of Tomorrow (1974)” Bob MacKenzie wrote a
relatively balanced and thoughtful piece about the future of
television in the February 3, 1974 Oakland Tribune titled,
“A ‘Tomorrow’ Look At World Of TV.” Even articles about
television were shaped by the energy fears of the 1970s.
http://www.paleofuture.com/2008/05/television-of-tomorrow-1974.html

6) 8th Camera Zizanio – (November 29 -December 6, 2008) This
year we organize the 8th European Meeting of Young Peoples’
Audiovisual Creation – Camera Zizanio along with the 11th
Olympia International Film Festival for Children and Young
People (member of CIFEJ and ECFA). We would really like,
this year, to screen films made by children and young
people. For further information you can reach us at our
offices in Athens at: +302108664470 or send us e-mail at
mailto:camerazizanio@olympiafestival.gr.You can also visit
our website: http://www.olympiafestival.gr/ and our blog
http://camerazizanio.wordpress.com

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10. FILMMAKING WORKSHOPS – Peter D. Marshall
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I have worked in the Film and Television Industry for over
35 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.
http://www.actioncutprint.com/workshops.html

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11. BACK ISSUES OF “THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR”
=======================================================

To read back issues of The Director’s Chair, visit:
http://www.actioncutprint.com/ezine.html

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12. SUBSCRIBE & UNSUBSCRIBE INFORMATION
=======================================================

To SUBSCRIBE to this Ezine, send a blank email to:
mailto:subscribe@actioncutprint.com

To UNSUBSCRIBE to this Ezine, send a blank email to:
mailto:unsub@actioncutprint.com

To CHANGE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS, send an email with your old
and new email address to mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com

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13. COPYRIGHT INFORMATION
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Copyright (c) 2000-2008
www.actioncutprint.com
Peter D. Marshall
All Rights Reserved

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Copyright (c) 2000-2009 Peter D. Marshall / All Rights Reserved

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