Midway Student Roundtable Discussion


Distributing Your Film Online


Lesson Info

Midway Student Roundtable Discussion

I love to do a little recap and I'd like to learn just a little bit about, um, what you guys are all working on, and so we can kind of address that more specifically to so maybe we could just go down the line really quick, and you could tell me, um, you know, has anything that you learned in the first not learned, but see cnn's first part affected anyway? Like, how you're going to go about doing things? Ok, so your business partner, so I'm david green, I work with the director named salad say it, and he does documentary films. I was telling you the he did a couple of documentaries feature length documentaries about the egyptian revolution from egypt originally, so he did egypt. The story behind the revolution didn't do film did you go to film festivals with the film? Absolutely touch on that, you know, it's it's been did the film cirque film festival circuit, both in the united states and overseas that's great on and won a number of awards, so it's it's been out there and it's gotten s...

ome recognition? The second film also won some awards, um, and he's working on the third film right now on thie the thing that you that you mentioned that really strikes a nerve with me is that we started working on the first film justus the egyptian revolution happened it was actually the first feature length documentary that came out about the egyptian revolution in two thousand eleven right after it had happened great timing not a lot of timing to think in advance about distribution partnerships and planning so that was that something that as we're working now toward a third documentary about women's rights in the in the middle east it's the opportunity now to start thinking in advance before things actually get to the point of needing to be distributed about where they're going to go out, what the audience is, what the partnerships are likely to be etcetera, it's amazing that when I like films are like our children and they do all have their own path so far with the one film that suddenly the revolution erupted and you had to just go yes, that was the path for that film in the old days you had to you couldn't participate in planning all that stuff found in advance is much now you actually can't say you can do it both ways it's just that it's so much easier and more efficient to plan it out in advance it actually it can you can make it fun it's like your dream it's your wish list you're just putting it all out there anc oh like I said just uh an actor been making some pretty good good moves and I just wanna move in a different direction I'm a learner um I mean, I got my master's in business when I was twenty four years old so this that so a lot of this must resonate with you a little bit yeah from the business side of things of marketing just trying apply this become well rounded understand like the other end of the camera and definitely networking with a lot of filmmakers and people people are innovative and dreamers I wantto create some really good projects and I want to be ableto be a part of that as well as make some my own projects well, so this couldn't be any more important that, you know, once you get down with that and make a short reaches all the avenues that it should be and um you definitely don't want to be broke afterwards, so you know, maximizing here the amount of income you weren't narrative for documentary uh meaning you make some money you guys are more documentary, but you need to make money as well, continue making more docks you can change and affect the world could entertain the world deep what are you working on? So I work to create life, but in my nights weekends I pursue film shorts feature short why now shorts mr videos, that kind of stuff ah, but I wanted to know what I should start looking at for the end goal so I could start planning out the process a little bit better from the beginning. So interesting when you think about that, like how just a good plan just makes it so much easier to make. Your movie makes so much easier for other people to participate and help you it's even when, like, for instance, when my son said mom, can you help me find a job or an internship? Makesem introductions for the summer because he's out of the country and I said, sure, but what do you want to dio? And I wish that he had said to me he did now will you help me make some introductions in these fields in this area I want to do this and these air the strengths that I bring to the table and then it made it really easy for me to be able to just pass it on to someone else. He wrote it all out for me and they were like, oh, this is great. I know exactly, so it just makes it so much easier when you do all that kind of thinking and heavy lifting for them, people are happy to help they I think inherently people want to help and it makes him feel good and you need people to do what it takes a village to raise a child it takes a village to distribute a movie and so when you make it easy for them they come in droves and then everyone's like how'd you to that and it's just like you just you do the work for them so because you're the best person to do that and we now yeah um I like I told you before I made a short film on and my goal was to get it into that film festival in november so that was you know hurry did that and then it was only afterwards that I actually thought about how I can now that I have this like how I can push it forward so did you make it just a short film a short film stand alone and now you want to turn them yeah webster it has it just has the potential to be around siri's and like from did you think of that or did someone tell you that at the festival um no no one told me at the festival I just I have a lot of friends and acquaintances who are at youtube I guess who are like give it like youtube's paying them too create content or whatever and so it was people like that giving me the idea like you should you should make ten or like a season and then distribute yeah, like released them like you know every week or every month or can I ask you raised the money to make your your short film it was totally self funded me and my partner just are you at liberty to say how much he spent I would sing um probably about twenty five hundred dollars to me eleven how many minutes? Five grand I love that yeah, you know, one of the things that's really important to keep your budgets low yeah it's it's the one way you will create a better opportunity mean a bigger like a greater likelihood of return and because of camera prices living you can make your movies for a lot less money and you should make them a big budget doesn't mean a good movie my question I just thought about it now that you're talking about but it's I know we were talking to him break about micro financing versus regular we're talking way of just not micro fan lee s micro financing when you mention those sites is that just on crowdfunding to cry? Yes, of crowdfunding okay um are there certain like a certain websites there? Well well known for that or what's your best approach on you know I think indy, gogo and kickstarter are sort of the two people there's also see the spark seed and spark is also a very good one and it's indiegogo and kickstarter pretty much the same as faras you put your project out there and you get money kickstarter you have to hit your goal. You don't get the money indiegogo you don't have to hit your goal if you don't hit your goal, you pay a higher percentage to indiegogo, I think it's like nine percent if you hit your goal, you pay them four percent on kickstarter, I think it's five or seven percent across the board, but you only pay it if you hit the goal, they do not. You cannot do nonprofit con, you know, crowd funding on kickstarter seems spark is what I love about that is that it is money and it is also stuff, you know, like you can think get things in kind let's say you need a mustang in your movie, you can put that on your list of things you're raising or need, and people will say, oh, I have that or I need a location, I need a storefront, I need a bicycle, you know, I need a tandem bicycle, whatever they'll put that other plus you could get money as well, so that's kind of cool. The thing about crowdfunding is that it's an early way it's, sort of the early stages of of audience building as well, but you must remember that while you're getting money from them or in kind from them, you need to give them something to and you don't want to burden yourself with having to then spend money on t shirts and on shipping and sizes and trying to get people's physical mailing addresses, so give them things that you can afford, give them screen credit, give them they're willing to fly themselves out to be with you, give them a walk on part on your in your project, give them the ability to screen it before anyone else give them things you can afford to give that's so important t shirts are great, but there is all of those logistics around it, but at the end of the day they are walking branding for you, too. So I'm a big fan of crowdfunding actually did a crowdfunding campaign because I wanted to know I felt like I stood on stages and I talked about how crowdfunding focuses your message it forces you to to start interacting with people early on and learning what the audience you know what their responses to your project into your story. Oh, what I didn't know was how hard it was it is by far the hardest thing I've ever done it took and I had, like, you know, not an army of people, but I had like three people helping me do it it was still the hardest thing I've ever done and I felt like I was exhausting my audience and it was abusive and I was kept saying we've got to get with the deadlines coming up we just need a little bit more and I'm like thank you so much could you give us a little more and it was hard, you know, because the crowdfunding space is getting crowded and so everyone's getting I personally go through and donate people's campaigns and then I get all the updates and now I'm like invested in like forty campaigns and I get all the updates and some of it doesn't really deliver it's not this or you know, and now I'm like it's too much noise for me, so I would say that not every project should go through a crowd funding process, but I think that if you have a project that lends itself to a wide audience that could live there or especially like feel good things, you know, that's different or unique to remember the egg salad recipe that they wanted twenty five dollars they raised like seventy thousand dollars or you know, so you got to be imaginative again, you've got to tell a great story one other thing to think about with crowd funding as filmmakers weren't were at a huge advantage over a lot of people out there who are working on crowd funding projects because the videos that introduced these crowd funding projects there really the thing that draw people in and being able to create a compelling two and a half minute video that really sells your story and makes it clear to people with a call to action at the end? Kelly it actually has a side business. He does, he does consulting with people who are doing kickstarter campaigns and his latest one, I think it was funded to fifty percent within the first three days and is part of a partially because he was able to work with the person, his doing a photography book, and he was able to sit him down and do like a really clear film. You know, good production values be able to present his ideas clearly be able to edit it together in a way that would be compelling to the to the audience. And as filmmakers, we really have had a great opportunity with crowd funding and it's true, you have to, like, clear your schedules is your full time job, and you've got to get money in in the first week because otherwise, if you don't have money, no one's going to care, they're gonna think, oh yeah, people love a crowd people love wide audience building is so important, it's, if you were to see a restaurant two restaurants next to each other, one's empty and once for you, you will gravitate to the one that's full because it's already validated we believe in when we like cues. We don't like use, but we stand in lines and that's validation in a weird way. So, um, yeah, um, in terms of, like, building an audience and maybe specifically for me, I'll line before this first part of this class, all I thought were okay film festivals, and, um, I wasn't even or I just thought online was like too much, but apparently it's very important. I mean, social networking. Yeah, yeah, um, but would you sit besides film festivals, like how you were talking about screening and other places? Do you just like for me when I reach out to others? Like, I don't know, south asian student organizations on college campuses are like what? What? You can absolutely show it during halloween show it, and I'm a big fan of showing it in coffee shops there. Quiet enough. I don't show any movies and bars anymore unless it's like some cult horror piece that you don't mind everyone talking through because people get one drink under their belt and they just aren't paying attention, and they're used to having screens up with you know the news or sports on your screen stuff in coffee shops, that's like, hey, whoever wants to come and watch this, or is it just closed? Okay, make it free, and then make sure that you also do some kind of q and a afterwards. And what else do you always carry with you? Clipboard, clipboard with a pen that you can pass around and collect their information so that you can just say, do you mind? Give me your name and I'm going to reach, you know, abel, I'm going to reach out to you and keep you posted on what we're doing and always use that opportunity to talk about what else might be coming down the pike. And if you can remember, and you, khun got one simple little ask, ask them for a favor, you just showing them a movie for free and entertained them. Don't be afraid to say, tell people about this, I want everyone to see it. I am a filmmaker, I want to make more movies, so they you know they're happy to do that, but you'd think they'd already know that because they liked it, but you kind of have to just say it, you need to say, please help me, even though the girl scout cookies, girls, they're sitting there were their display and everything they still say would you like to buy some cookies like they have to even that you have to open up the dialogue so should we says we're planning ahead for distribution? I guess whatever your plan is with that and uh however much it would cost to get the ball rolling or whatever it is avenue, you want to distribute it this should we consider that, like, in these crowd funding, you know, like, I've seen some people do that like we plan on, I don't know releasing it wherever, so we need like, you know, you know how you have the different tiers of money from ten dollars broadway toe ten thousand dollars include that, like, in those, you know, kind of like packages that we plan on, you know, hope to get video on demand and it's going to cost this much, you know, like this I mean, thank you the more detail the your plan khun b without, you know, without with still leaving room teo for things to happen to go bigger, it is really helpful for people to know how they can participate, even when you do a crowdfunding campaign and there's like all these different levels and people were almost shopping by the rewards sometimes and the reason that they have it where you can only have two people in a ten thousand dollars and fifty people in a one hundred dollars is because, you know, once it hits that threshold, you can always extend it. But it's, nice for people to say, oh, I want to participate there's only a twenty five dollar level lift left, or you can use that to say, we're coming down the, you know, the final stages of our crowd funding, you know, the final clock is ticking and we still have one hundred dollars left a twenty five a ten two fifties or whatever, instead of just being open the clock's ticking specifics, people love specifics, people love a good, you know, an action item. I did a I had to I was the chair of our school fair once, and I thought I was just coming in and all these people were going to help me do this school fair. I didn't know I had to raise the money for the fare and then raise money in the fair, and so I don't know how I got roped into that. I had to go raise somehow twenty thousand dollars just to throw the fair, and they said, you just asked the community. And so I made a list of all the things we needed and I said we need ice a bouncy house games, blah, blah, blah and I sent it out to people and they all signed up. I think most of the most popular thing to buy was the ice I think I bought ice like fifty times over, and I got, like, two hundred dollars for ice from fifty people and a couple people bought the bouncy house, but they like to knowing that their money was going for something specific, so any specific detail you can share with people is great, um, and then just say, the put, this is the plan, and I would actually take hope out of it don't say we hope to do this said this is the plan we're going to dio a theatrical, whether we have two, four well it ourselves and know that you have a budget for it because you've done your research and you figured out a theater of what you can do it or you say we're not going to do with theatrical, we're going to screen in schools or college campuses waiting to a minimum of a dozen, and then we're going to go this is our window strategy, and we're actually gonna go into that nasa projects because some people might care about like, you know, like that I really support your film, I wanted to be shown and all these different wanted to expand and these thieves market, so this wasn't short, you know, figure it out ahead of time like, you know, what's so great about being super specific is it allows people to give you feedback in a way that they think that could be helping you, and it gives you the opportunity to either defend the decision that you've made or for them to be able to point out something you're closing yourself off, you actually could do this, and then you could see how this is great. Thank you. When you're so vague and broad it's really hard for people to participate, they'll say, well, did you think about this? Are you doing that when you show them you've done the work? They're so much more likely to invest in you at every single stage because they know that you're going to like, you might actually like to some big, and they get to be part of that process people love to help. I believe that we were born that way. We inherently want to help each other, but we got to make it easy for each other.

Class Description

Your film doesn’t have to appear in theaters to find its audience. Distributing an indie film online is an effective way to increase the visibility of your movie, get compensated for your efforts, and validate your work.

Maverick independent film entrepreneur Scilla Andreen was done with the one-sided deals brokered by the big guys. She wanted independent filmmakers and producers to have more options, so she built one: IndieFlix.com – a platform for DIY film distribution that Variety magazine calls, "The Netflix for Indie Films." In Distributing Your Film Online, Scilla will detail the distribution landscape and teach you how to find your audience online. You’ll learn:

  • How to distribute your film online
  • The benefits of online distribution
  • How to monetize filmmaking

Scilla will discuss the no-nonsense architecture of online film distribution and help you reduce and navigate the layers of distraction between making a film and having people actually see it. You’ll learn how the IndieFlix model works and how it, and other online distribution platforms like it, make money for independent filmmakers.

If you are ready to find an audience for your indie film, Scilla Andreen can show you how it’s done online.


a Creativelive Student

This course is only an introduction to online distribution for films. It doesn't go deeper in any aspect nor gives you concrete steps depending on your film project. So if you've never heard or thought about distribution is a good place to start in a few hours, but if you are looking for a deeper analysis or information to reinforce the online distribution of your film, it isn't there in my opinion.


Was this an instructional video, or a plug for a commercial enterprise. Light in detail, this series does offer a few gems for those searching for answers. It did put into perspective the odds of finding distribution in a marketplace crowded by competition where everyone is looking for ways to maximize a return on investment and offers alternatives to those wishing to tackle the job of online distribution themselves. Because "once a film is completed, the real work begins." it is important to know what these alternatives are. David W. King, Michigan Movie Media 2.0