For new filmmakers, finding ways to get people to see their films is just as much of a struggle as making them in the first place. Even for those films that make it into festivals, there's not necessarily a guarantee of a distribution offer. But with the digital shift comes new ways for filmmakers to get their work seen. BitTorrent recently announced its plans to DIY distribution and change their piracy-tinged reputation, but there are other DIY services that filmmakers can use to get their films distributed without having to get through a gatekeeper. Here's a round-up:
How it works: An Amazon company, CreateSpace provides proof copies, free online publication tools, wide distribution, and industry-leading royalty rates, among other services. Obtain all copyright licenses, provide a source copy (a duplicate of the master is recommended, not the original), and ship via a traceable method such as FedEx or UPS.
Price: Fixed $4.95 charge plus 15% of list price for each eStore sale; $4.95 charge plus 45% of list price for each Amazon sale.
Type of Distribution: Amazon/Amazon Instant, e-Store Product On-Demand
How it works: Upload a video according to the specifications. Provided services include a market for your film, the ability to embed your trailer on any website, instant transparent accounting for whoever is buying or selling your film, and an easily playable file across all formats.
Price: Varies, depending on plan. "Indie" plan sign-up is free, with distribution for 1 movie and a charge of 30% for every sale. Higher plans have monthly fees ($20 for Pro Plan, $101 for Distributor Plan, $500 for Studio Plan) and varying rates, but more options including deluxe editions, more customization and distribution for unlimited films.
Type of Distribution: DVD, VOD
How it works: Upload your file (most formats work), and IndieReign will help with marketing and sales. Access to partner Indiegogo is another perk.
Price: 30% of each sale.
Type of Distribution: VOD, Download
How it works: Fill in a quick form on MoPix's website and you'll get a response within 5 days. Offers an embeddable widget, sales on an iOS app/online.
Price: $149 startup fee, ongoing percentage of sales.
Type of Distributon: Download
Editor's Note: MoPix is no longer doing business.
How it works: Sign up to upload up to 10 videos. You can sell tickets to all of your guests and keep 100% of the profits. Sign up and get 10 free tickets (3 viewings each) to sell to your guests/fans. PUMit also works with Crowdstarter to build an audience.
Type of Distribution: Download
How it works: Sign up for access to Embeddable player, multiple monetization types including rental and purchase, your own web domain, piracy protection and more.
Price: 30% of each sale.
Type of Distribution: Instant streaming rental, downloadable copy for purchase
How it works: For a Digital Platform, mail completed form, DVD screener, past reviews, festivals attended, any awards received, and a brief synopsis. The film will then be a part of a 3-year agreement where QUADflix will submit to various streaming services. For more money, the film can also play at Quad Cinema in New York for a week, get publicity and advertising, find domestic and foreign distribution, and have an Oscar-qualifying run.
Price: Digital Platform costs 25% of the profits for a handling fee, $500 for encoding and lab costs, and an estimation of $4.50 a minute for closed-captioning costs. National distribution costs vary by city. Oscar Qualifying run costs $9,000. Full package costs $11,000.
Type of Distribution: Film submitted to various streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, VOD services. Other services listed above.
How it works: Create a Reelhouse account, upload a film, set a price, and sell your film on any website using a Reelhouse player
Price: 6% of each sale
Type of Distribution: Downloadable copies for sale, online viewing for 48 hr. rental.
How it works: Deliver your film to VHX via Dropbox, native browser uploader or Aspera plugin, or contact VHX if you're unable to submit electronically. Create a site on VHX to promote your film. VHX can also help measure the effectiveness of your marketing.
Price: 10% plus 50 cents per sale
Type of distribution: Streaming and download
How it works: Anyone with a Vimeo Pro Account may upload their film and charge a fee. No aggregator required. Recommended for filmmakers with a preexisting online presence.
Price: $200/year for Pro Account.