Tag: DVD distribution

Ride The Divide Part 3: Digital Rights and Merchandise

In Part 2 of this 3 part series on Ride the Divide, I examined the strategic, well executed, and successful event strategy that Hunter Weeks and Mike Dion engaged. In this third and final part, I will take a look at their merchandise and digital strategies and execution. Finally, I will touch on some of the key points that they have learned so far on this journey.

They began selling “plain vanilla” versions of their DVDs at their live events. They started selling from their online store in April just after their world premiere at Vail Film Festival (DVD, Poster, Soundtrack). To date they have grossed $55,000 from all merchandise in the on-line store (this includes around $13,000 for the screening boxes). They’ve sold 1300 DVDs and Blu-Ray through their store.

But they are not just selling from their online store – they partnered with Video Action Sports and Rep Net who buy them at between 40% and 50% of the retail price for each DVD sold – about $10.00 per DVD. They researched each of these wholesalers to make sure they were 1) getting a good deal that made financial sense and 2) that the wholesalers had good reputations for paying independent filmmakers. These distributors get the Ride the Divide DVDs into larger chains and into major on-line retailers. They’ve sold another 600 DVDs through these wholesale accounts.
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Jon Reiss DV Magazine Column: Top 10 Subjects They Should be Teaching in Film Schools

Posted on by Jon Reiss

I wrote a column for DV Magazine on what film schools should be teaching students besides how to make films: Top 10 Subjects They Should Be Teaching in Film School.

Here it is – let me know what you think:

Top 10 Subjects They Should Be Teaching in Film School
May 18, 2009 By Jon Reiss

Film schools are normally quite good at teaching students how to make films. But they generally have not seen it as their mandate to help students actually learn how to survive in the modern media landscape. Because of this, I developed a class at Cal Arts — where I teach — entitled “Reel World Survival Skills: Everything I Wish I Had Been Taught in Film School.”

To succeed, it’s no longer enough to have a body of work and a script in hand for what you want to do next. You instead need to develop a range of entrepreneurial skills in order to develop, pitch, fund and distribute your work. Filmmakers need to be the architects of their own career and create a wider and wider network of relationships to help them on their path.

What follows are the Top 10 subject that should be taught in film schools (and by film organizations around the country/world), broken equally into “Old School” and “New School” categories.

Old School Techniques That Are Still Essential:

1. Building Relationships
Filmmaking is a business based upon personal relationships, but, unfortunately, most filmmakers are intellectual wallflowers. You need to come out of your skin, go to as many events as possible and learn how to create lasting relationships. Hint: People like to talk about themselves instead of exclusively listening to you. Continue reading →

DVD Distribution How To in Filmmaker Magazine

My second in my series of Hybrid Distribution How To’s has been come out in Filmmaker Magazine. Here it is:

Setting up DVD distribution: Yes, you can still make money doing this.

Following — or perhaps instead of — your independent film‘s theatrical release is its release on DVD. While sales of DVDs released by all content providers, studios included, are dropping at the moment, home video is still one of the most lucrative stages of a film‘s distribution. And while much has been written about filmmakers self-distributing their films to theaters (see, for example, part one of this series in the Fall 2008 edition of Filmmaker), filmmakers‘ options when self-distributing their work to the home market have been less well covered. Rest assured, however — the same grassroots marketing strategies and cost-saving economies can be brought into play.

I don‘t think it was clear in part one of this series, but I was offered quite a few theatrical/DVD offers for my graffiti doc Bomb It. Like most deals independents are faced with these days, these were very low-money offers in which the buyer wanted all rights for at least 10 if not 20 years. While these companies were offering a small theatrical release, my producer and I were savvy enough to realize that theatrical releasing expenses would be cross-collateralized with DVD and cable revenue. Translation: The likelihood that we would see any additional money beyond the tiny advance was small. Plus we would lose all control of the film and its revenue streams for many years.
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