Author Archives: Mark

Jon Reiss: Speech for DOX:FORUM in Copenhagen

Posted on by Mark

Hello everyone!  Here is my recent speech at the CPH:DOX Forum in Copenhagen from last Friday .  IndieWire just published it and so I’m reposting it here.

This speech was delivered at the recent CPH:DOX Forum in Copenhagen.  Jon Reiss will be doing a presentation today at 6 p.m. at IFC Center in Manhattan and selling his book, “Think Outside the Box Office,” immediately after.  The book is also available for purchase on his website.
“Much has been said and written about the current distribution crises of independent films, I am not going to belabor the horror stories here.

But just as a way of introducing myself – I will give you a brief introduction to my own horror story.

In 2007, I was at the Tribeca film festival where I was trying to sell my documentary “Bomb It.”  We did everything by the old school book, kept the screeners a secret, we spent $20,000 launching the film at the festival, with the result of packed houses and hundreds of people turned away.  After all the excitement, what we had were a few $10,000 all rights deals that we rejected.  A week after Tribeca, our film was available for sale on Canal Street — as a bootleg. Continue reading →

Jon Reiss at IFC this Tuesday, November 17th!

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Just out from an amazing weekend at DOX:FORUM in Cophenhagen, I’ll be in New York this week at the IFC Center speaking about my new book Think Outside the Box Office (released on the 16th!).  Come check it out!  Call (212) 924-7771 for tickets!

Thinking Outside the Box Office

In a presentation full of practical advice and hard information, filmmaker Jon Reiss (Bomb It), the author of the recently released “Think Outside the Box (Office): The Ultimate Guide to Film Distribution and Marketing in the Digital Era” will teach how to create unique distribution and marketing plans for independent films, explaining both do-it-yourself and hybrid approaches. He will outline what filmmakers need to do to prepare for distribution while making their films. Finally he will lay out ways in which filmmakers can take back and redefine the theatrical release by playing a combination of conventional theaters, community screenings and festivals.

Pics up of Jon Reiss at AFM

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Below are pictures of the BAFTA panel at AFM where we discussed the changing landscape of Indie distribution.  Take a look!  Check back on the blog for updates regarding my trip to Copenhagen and THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX OFFICE’s release on November 16th!!!!

An interview with Filmmaker/Author Jon Reiss

Posted on by Mark

Here’s an interview posted by shericand on youtube.  We’re gearing up for the release of Think Outside the Box Office on November 16th!!!  Keep checking back on the blog for more details!!!

November 10, 2009

Below I’ve posted an interview with filmmaker Jon Reiss speaking about his new book THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX OFFICE, which is being released on November 16th.  Jon describes it as the first of its kind, an ultimate guide to film distribution in the digital age for low budget filmmakers. The book includes how to develop unique strategies for projects, prepare budgets, create partnerships with other companies and construct marketing plans. For more information about the book including how to purchase it, check out the video or go to Jon’s blog at

Jon Reiss Interviewed Regarding THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX OFFICE

Jon Reiss Keynote Speaker for CPH:DOX Forum

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I’ve been invited as the keynote speaker to the DOX:FORUM for the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival.  Set in Copenhagen, the festival is a three-day distribution forum and market for newly finished and works-in-progress documentaries from around the world.  Check it out!

“Exploring other possibilities for documentary films than TV and focusing on theatrical, DVD, online and alternative distribution circuits, the Forum positions itself as a new international meeting place for film professionals focusing on high quality, artistic and visually strong documentary film  making.

Launched successfully in 2007 DOX:FORUM is an exclusive 3-day distribution forum and market event which presents a tightly packed program of work-in-progress presentations of new Nordic and international documentary projects in post production or late stages of production, pre-arranged one-on-one meetings, matchmaking events and a line-up of inspiring case stories and seminars.  The 2009 edition of DOX:FORUM will also see the addition of a number of world premieres presented in collaboration with the festival.

With an exclusive selection of brand new fantastic documentary projects and world premieres, reflecting CPH:DOX’s overall interest in strong cinematic art-house and documentary film making, invited content seekers are given a priority chance for discovering the next big title on the international market, before it hits the big winter and early spring venues.  A filmmakers forum as well, it also represents great opportunities for meeting new talent as well as established filmmakers for an up and close encounter.”

Jon Reiss at the AFM’s BAFTA Panel

Posted on by Mark

I’ll be sitting on the BAFTA panel at AFM discussing changes in Indie Distribution tomorrow, Sunday, November 8th from 11:00am – 12:30pm.   Come on out to hear the most cutting-edge discussion of indie distribution and marketing!

Sunday November 8th


No Direction Home – Changing Indie Distribution Strategies
Programmed by: British Academy of Film & Television Arts, Los Angeles
These are confusing times for indie filmmakers. Just as revolutionary production choices are opening up, traditional distribution models are collapsing. How cost-effective is U.S. theatrical release? Does it still impact foreign sales? What kind of income streams can be generated from such new sources as on-demand, internet download, and direct website DVD sales? Our panel of experts may not have all the answers, but will attempt to provide producers with a compass to navigate the rocky shoals of a challenging and still-evolving marketplace.

Location: Le Merigot Hotel (1740 Ocean Avenue)
Cost: $40 per person

John Alan Simon, Writer-Director, Radio Free Albemuth; Producer, The Getaway; Former Staff Writer, New Orleans Times Picayune; Member, BAFTA/LA Education and Outreach Committee

Chris Hyams, Founder and CEO, B-Side Entertainment
Ted Mundorff, CEO, Landmark Theatres
Jon Reiss, Director/Producer, Bomb It; Author, Think Outside the Box (Office) – The Ultimate Guide to Film Distribution and Marketing for the Digital Era
David Shultz, Founder and President, Vitagraph Films
Leslie Urdang, President, Olympus Pictures; Producer, Adam, Rabbit Hole
2:00pm – 3:30pm
2009 AFM Conference & Seminars

Presented by Akin Gump KPMG

Purchase a badge by 16 October and receive 3 FREE Seminars (excludes Finance Conference). Badges are not required to attend Seminars or Conferences.

Remember the neighborhood video store?

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Every technological change in film distribution calls for an evolutionary step in how we get films to audiences.  Broadcast television, VCR, Cable, DVD, VoD, DVR, and now internet streaming: what do these changes point to in relationship to our audience?  Simple: audiences want the power to choose how, when, and where they engage content.
From The Buffalo News:

Home movie future fuzzy
By Stephen T. Watson
Updated: October 28, 2009

On a recent episode of HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher,” the host offered a “New Rule” for home entertainment.

“Blockbuster cannot announce it’s closing 960 stores. Where will I go to rent a movie in 1988? And how do they still have 960 stores?” Maher quipped, to laughter from the audience.

It’s been a hard fall for Blockbuster — from world-beater to butt of late-night jokes — but this is a sign of the state of flux that the home-entertainment industry finds itself in today.

Competition from Netflix, the online rental powerhouse, and Redbox DVD-rental kiosks — not to mention the channels available on digital cable — has walloped Blockbuster.

“Blockbuster is like the Spanish Armada. It’s out there, and the wind isn’t blowing, and everybody is taking shots at them,” Continue reading →

The distribution marketplace is changing and so are marketing strategies

Posted on by Mark

Not every film will have the same marketing strategy because not every film will have the same core audience.  What works best for you depends on who you expect will be your most devoted fans and how you expect to connect with them.

Traditional marketing methods are changing along with the surge in digital distribution.  How will you adapt your strategy to recent trends?  Keep a step ahead!  Tweet, Blog, and Connect!

From BrandingStrategyInsider:

October 27, 2009
Top Ten Integrated Marketing Trends for 2010

1. Less will get done: until we learn to do more with less.

While the year 2009 was marked as the ‘great recession’, we won’t feel its full effects until 2010. Both marketers and their marketing services agency partners are dealing with reduced resources in terms of head-count and budgets. We won’t likely see enough breakthroughs in the marketplace, simply because marketers and agencies alike have to remain focused on ‘getting the work out the door’. The only way to ‘do more with less’ is to align resources toward a single and powerful integrated marketing solution. Individual marketing tactics will simply become marginalized and highly tactical with ‘less’.

2. Marketers will mistakenly ‘whack’ a medium of the marketing mix. Continue reading →

NetFlix is just the beginning

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Does Netflix’s profitability hurt the studios?  How will the profitability gap encourage Hollywood to invest  into digital distribution strategies?  Are DVDs and Blu-Ray becoming formats of the past?

What counts is that Netflix is causing a stir.  If Disney’s Keychest program is a success, then that means consumers have more choices in how they access our films.  The more companies compete over digital distirbution, the more options Indie filmmakers have to engage their audience.

From CNet:

October 26, 2009 4:00 AM PDT

Hollywood wants share of Netflix’s windfall
by Greg Sandoval

At this point, who could begrudge Reed Hastings and his Netflix management team from celebrating, from performing the corporate equivalent of an end-zone dance?

Wall Street and Netflix subscribers appear overjoyed with the direction that Netflix’s CEO has the Web’s top video-rental store pointed in. The only people who don’t seem pleased with Netflix’s success work in Hollywood.

Just days before Netflix reported third-quarter earnings that jumped 48 percent from a year ago and subscriber growth of 28 percent during the same period, two executives from different studios told me they aren’t getting their fair share.

“The thing with Netflix is that people are taking notice that they keep reporting these big quarters,” said one studio exec. “We aren’t participating in that and that’s going to change.” Continue reading →

Indies continue to look for ways to harness the internet

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For Independent filmmaking and distribution, the internet is still nascent territory.  We’ve only begun to see how we can reach our audiences through broad-band streaming, direct download, and DVD rentals.

But the internet is not a be-all-end-all solution to distribution.  This article highlights the importance of a solid marketing strategy for digital indie distribution.  It’s not enough to get your film streaming online.  Identifying your core audience and marketing to them is a necessity.

From Variety:

Indies still looking for Internet equation
Filmmakers consider sites like Netflix, iTunes

If only more indie filmmakers could sell as many Internet downloads as “Helvetica,” the future of indie distribution might look more promising. Gary Hustwit’s documentary about the ubiquitous font has taken in a six-figure sum from its showing on iTunes at $9.99 per download.

But while more success stories are starting to be seen, the indie download business is still having problems gaining traction. The power of the Internet was supposed to level the playing field on which independent filmmakers and studios compete for audiences. So what happened?

A decade after the dot-com boom, when the Web promised to make any piece of content globally accessible to any interested viewer, Continue reading →