Jason Brubaker has "Prepping Your Film For Distribution" in current edition of The Independent. It's all good advice and the equal attention paid to self-distribution demonstrates the reality-check that has finally seeped through the layers of denial most indie filmmakers have held on to for too long. I wonder why "getting pick up" is even looked at on even ground with the DIY approach. Let's face it, the odds are practically 1 in 400 that your film will be picked up by a major distributor. The time to start to prep for self-distribution is now, not later.
I recognize how getting your film made is an all consuming task. Yet, I am struck time and time again how filmmakers don't recognize that "prepping your film for distribution", reaching out to your audience, and marketing your film BEFORE you shoot, all significantly increases your odds of getting picked up. It's like wearing the right clothes before you go to the bar. It shows that you are serious. It shows that you are going to do everything possible for people to see your film, that you will give your all to get your investors money back.
Back in the Good Machine days, and every day since then, we have approached delivery like production. If you arrive at a film festival having done the due diligence that Jason discusses, your chances have acquisition are improved. Every distributor has had the nightmare of the unclearable or undeliverable film -- and they will avoid the repeat like the plague.
We have had our films bought or financed because we showed how the film could be marketed, where the audience was and what they responded to previously. We didn't wait until the movie had screened to address this. We thought long and hard about this before we shot anything. Waiting until your movie is done to approach these issues is going to hurt your prospects.
I am also of the firm belief that thinking about these aspects, whether they are marketing, legal, or delivery issues, makes your film better. It focuses the thought. It requires choices to be made. There is no excuse not to do everything that is raised in The Independent BEFORE you even approach investors. Take Jason's advice to heart, but do it sooner, much much much sooner.