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As we near completion of our  first feature, a co-pro with Bunker ProductionsKCDC is pleased to announce Jucy has been picked up by Odin’s Eye Entertainment for worldwide representation. Odin’s Eye is a young, vibrant, switched on company and we’re thrilled to be working with them.

You might be wondering what a sales agent does, and how to get one…

A sales agent represents your film at markets and via their global network of acquisitors. They’re responsible for selling your film to distributors in the various territories in the world, and depending on the deal you do with them, they might have the rights to sell your film in all media (cinema, DVD, TV etc) or only in some.

It’s the first time I’ve been in the position of selecting a sales agent and we had a handful of offers to consider. We chose Odin’s Eye because the company is young and vibrant, they’re proactive in seeking out new methods of distribution and acquisition, and they really get the film. They have an office in Sydney and one in New York.

Given the state of global film business, unless you have a marketing budget that means your movie can compete with Hollywood films like The Hangover or The Proposal, getting it in front of the widest audience possible is going to be a labour of love and commitment. Jucy certainly does not fall into the mega-marketing-budget category, but we do have a keen sense of our audience and some ideas about how to reach them. Jucy‘s director made a film that wowed audiences at festivals around the world a few years ago, and I have a solid background in online audience strategy.

A distributor is an individual or organization who is the final point of liaison between the filmmaker or intermediary (read producer’s rep or sales agent) and an exhibitor – that is, between you and the cinema. In Australia there are about 35 distribution companies who say they can pull off a theatrical release. There’s probably 10 who might be inclined to take on a low to mid budget Australian film. As well as distributing local content, they distribute foreign films they pick up at international markets or from sales agents.

In Australia you would sometimes have a distributor release your film nationally and a sales agent to sell it overseas. You don’t need an Australian sales agent to be represented internationally, you can pick one from anywhere in the world. You might choose to give the rights for a particular territory (region) to a sales agent who knows it well, and the rights for other territories to someone else.

In recent years the market for smaller budget homegrown films in Australia  has all but dried up, and they’re often a costly investment for a distributor. Of course there are exceptions, like Samson & Delilah or Bran Nue Dae, but for many others it’s been box office failure. It’s a risky bet for a distributor to take on a local film. They need to spend a lot of money to promote it and the rewards are usually negligible.

This decline in the commercial success of Australian films, combined with the digitalization of entertainment in the last 10 years and the domination of homogenous studio content in the market, makes for a pretty bleak environment in which to be peddling your movie wares.

In Jucy‘s case we can add to that equation no well-known stars, no gimmicky technology or effects and two leads who are larger than size 8. Some might say we’re in the short bus end of the content spectrum.

Fortunately we’ve made a film with a lot of heart about familiar characters who aren’t often seen in mainstream media. AND we’ve partnered with a sales agent who understands that the future of content (if you don’t have a Harvey Weinstein budget or Brad Pitt in your cast) is in marketing to niche audiences.

One thing I’d like to clarify at this point is that niche does not necessarily mean small.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding is the most commercially successful romantic comedy of all time and had a production budget just bigger than many Australian features of recent years ($5million). The producers started its exhibition journey by directly targeting Greek audiences (a niche) and relying on word of mouth publicity. It ended up playing in cinemas for nearly a year and made more than $350million USD.

So how do you find a distributor or sales agent who’s right for you?

It’s my first time so I’m not purporting to be an expert, but I reckon checking out their film catalogue to see if your movie fits, meeting them to see if they get you and your movie, discussing their intended marketing strategy to see if it aligns with your thoughts, and trusting your gut are probably pretty sensible ideas.

Stay posted for more juicy Jucy updates in the next few months, and please let me know some of your ideas about selling indie film.

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One Comment

    • Bec Dakin
    • Posted March 6, 2010 at 9:13 am
    • Permalink

    Kelly you are dead right. And it is all about targeting niche markets for films that are not “mainstream”. And when I say mainstream that DOES NOT mean these film are not commercial. If your film is good then people will talk, and word of mouth is a very powerful marketing tool.

    Another great way to gather interest from sales agents and distributors if you are having trouble finding one is to try and have your film play at a few notable festivals. Sales agents and distributors then see first hand how it plays to an audience. We received a lot of attention for my feature through this avenue.

    Well done Kelly another great blog.

2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. By DIY Distribution « Kelly Chapman's Blog on 13 Mar 2010 at 12:40 pm

    […] Kelly Chapman's Blog An expression of one transmedia producer's thoughts About « Finding A Distributor or Sales Agent […]

  2. […] audience is – your core audience. (I’ve talked about this concept a little bit in an earlier post, directly referencing Jucy.) Once you know who’s going to be interested in your project, […]

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