I am writing this blog entry after my business partner Tom Paton forwarded an interesting article from No Film School. I saved it for few days and was looking forward to a free moment to read it as I always love what the contributors have to say on their website. I finally managed to read it at around midnight in bed and it was so inspirational that I couldn’t get to sleep till 3am. Hence this article.

***Authors note: I would like to point out that my company is called THE FILM LABEL however the term FILM LABEL used in the article is used to describe any company that preforms the same role as what we do (and hope that others follow!)

There is a link to the original NFS article at the end of this post, however to summaries it is essentially the experience of Ross Putman with his film ‘First Girl I Loved’ and why and how he and his team ended up doing self-distribution. It’s very compelling and I whole hearty agree that it’s the best path to go these days for an indie film. We don’t need the distributors any more. We don’t need the sales agents. He says with a about 20% of your production budget going into your own marketing and distribution plan you can have all the success of films on the bigger indie distributors out there – but with more control, a larger share of the pie and you get to keep your rights for life. Sounds like a dream right?

We it is, however there is one issue which that more than one user in the comments section pointed out and that is that for this to work you need to be 50% film maker 50% business man.

I know that most film makers are not the strongest of business heads. It’s why most film makers will pour all the money onto the production and not think to save any for marketing. I have seen the same in the music industry. Most of the time artists will be artists and just want to make art, be it music, film, or design. And that’s fine. And, yes you can use brute force and discipline to develop the business head – but if its not natural, what the point of the struggle when there is another option?

Sooooo – we know the industry is changing and I have been trying to nail the ideal business model for what we do at The Film Label. I want to figure out exactly what a film label is. Well the article gave me the inspiration to define it. So here goes…

A film label is an aggregator, a distributor, a marketer, a PR and mentor to film makers.

There I said it. And by film makers we mean people that just want to make films, ensure they are released and made available on every major platform and that as many people that fall in the films audience hears about the film and is given the opportunity to watch it.

And that’s what we do as a film label. Of course by all means as a film maker you can do it all all yourself. But you have to have the team or the money to do this? If you can by all means do – having the ultimate creative control is extremely rewarding, but also handwork and if your inexperienced then very frustrating. At the Film label I was able to bring 6 years of marketing experience form the music industry and apply it to the indie film industry. I see the current indie film industry in a place that the music industry was in 10 years ago. I’m basically just applying what we learned in the indie music industry to the indie film industry.

So how does it break down in real terms and options for you as a film maker? Well the options the NFS article gives is doing it yourself and going to an aggregator and paying approx. $2000 to get it on what I call the big 3 TVOD (iTunes Amazon Direct, Google Play) and big 3 SVOD (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime).

Great, now what? Now you have the task of building your own website, designing posters, making trailer, hiring PR, hiring social media manager (or having a smart intern), build a fan base, reach out to audiences, arrange theatre premiers, create endless content for todays social media hungry, essentially everything involved in letting everyone that is in your target audience know about your film and its journey from presales, to release date, to long tail sales.

A film label’s job is to do this part for you. On top of covering every aspect of marketing a film, a film label should work with an aggregator to ensure its on all the major platforms mentioned above. They should also be collecting the revenue, taking a cut (20%-30% no one works for free!) and passing the rest to the film maker.

It’s similar to a record label – in fact it’s pretty much exactly the same when we are talking about digital products. If you know anyone that works or has worked at a record label have a chat with them about it and compare notes – you’ll find huge similarities.

Sooooooo – in conclusion we here hope that there is a whole new industry of film labels popping up and we also hope to help film lovers that are business heads create as many of these film labels as possible.

Original Article http://nofilmschool.com/2016/10/how-to-do-self-distribution