One of the most important things to consider as you’re making your movie is how you’re going to connect with an audience. Whether it be a niche subject or a broader family film, you must know who your audience is and how you will find them. Jon Reiss of Think Outside the Box Office joins us to share his pearls of wisdom on the topic.
Jon Reiss- Producer/Author
Named one of “10 Digital Directors to Watch” by Daily Variety, Jon Reiss is a critically acclaimed filmmaker whose experience releasing his most recent documentary feature, Bomb It with a hybrid strategy was the inspiration for writing Think Outside the Box Office: The Ultimate Guide to Film Distribution in the Digital Era, the first step-by-step guide for filmmakers to distribute and market their films. In that book he created the concept of the Producer of Marketing and Distribution (PMD) in order create a new crew member who would be in charge of a film’s audience engagement and release.
As a consultant, Reiss is unique as one of the only filmmakers who works with other filmmakers throughout the world helping them devise strategies to release their films. Reiss has worked with IFP, the Sundance Institute, Screen Australia, Film Independent, Creative Scotland, The South Australian Film Corporation and numerous film schools and festivals to devise ways to educate and help independent filmmakers in the new economic landscape. He has conducted over a dozen TOTBO Workshops over three continents in the last year and is the year round distribution and marketing mentor at the IFP Filmmaker Labs. He also teaches at the Film Directing Program at Cal Arts.
Reiss is working on two more book projects: the first is devoted to the PMD, the second book takes the structure of distribution and marketing outlined in TOTBO and applies it to all the art forms. Reiss is also a regular contributor to Indiewire, Tribeca Future of Film, Sundance Artists Services, Hope for Film and other publications.
For more information go to: www.jonreiss.com
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Q: Film Method has provided me with a lot of great advice over the past few months. I’m gearing up to shoot my first short since film school, and I will say that I think you’d be proud of the pre-production efforts thus far. My big stumbling block at this point is what to do with my short (or anything independent I do in the near future). I want to make my film accessible online to an audience. I have no delusions about making hundreds of cents on this film, but I’m looking for some resources where I could educate myself to the avenues of online marketing and distribution. It seems like every company (createspace, itunes, etc) has a product or platform, but no one can tell me how to decide between them.
Thanks for providing the service that is Film Method.
Pete DAlessandro via Film Method Mailbag
Thank you for your kind words. I am really glad that you are doing so much pre-production. Congratulations on finishing film school and continuing on after. As for distributing your short film after it’s done, there are several avenues.
There is always the film festival route. Which, it doesn’t sound like the route you’re going in but it might be a good idea to at least try to get it into a couple of local film festivals that you can attend. I say this mostly because you are going to miss out on a networking opportunity if you have a finished film that will by pass any public screenings. Just something to thing about.
As for internet distribution, I have always worked with Indie Flix and had a great experience with them. They are able to help navigate the Amazon, iTunes, digital platform world much more efficiently than I could alone. There are several companies that are like Indie Flix and I am sure they are great, I have just always worked with them.
What I have learned from distributing films online is that you should not choose between them, you should try to get your film on as many of them as possible. The reason is that some of your customers will prefer iTunes while others prefer Amazon so there is no harm in putting your film up on both. I hope that this makes sense. I think you may be beating your head up against a wall for no reason. The more people that see your film the better and because it’s a short, you don’t have to worry as much about a strategic online distribution schedule.
Film Method has done several episodes on distribution that you might want to listen to and we have also had the pleasure of working with Filmmaking Stuff (Jason Brubaker), Think Outside the Box Office (Jon Reiss), and The Film Collaborative (Orly Ravid). These are all companies that you should take a look at as they all provide educational opportunities with their services.
I wish you the best of luck on your project and know that it will find the distribution outlet that is right for it.
Thanks for writing in and for listening.