First-time filmmakers may find it enticing to believe that the majority of your work is done after your film is completed and a distribution deal is set. The latest episode of Demystified busts this myth and breaks down the world of distribution as first-time filmmakers Jess Jacklin and Charles Beale work on distribution for their film Souvenirs.
Demystified gives viewers an inside look into the process of Jess and Charles, who produced Souvenirs through their unique filmmaking competition StudioFest. The third episode of Demystified follows them as they speak with Glass House Distribution about selling their film — and hear, as they’ve heard before, how important it is to have a well-known name in the cast.
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The filmmakers share their conversation with Tom Malloy, president of Glass House Distribution and David Lawrence, head of acquisitions at Glass House Distribution, both of whom also appeared in the first episode of Demystified.
While Jess and Charles are eager to make back the roughly $200,000 cost of Souvernirs, Lawrence explains that without a name actor, it might be difficult.
“As a rule, we don’t do MGs for no cast,” Malloy says, as narrator Jake Bowen explains that MG stands for minimum guarantees.
Lawrence points out, however, that having a cast of up-and-coming actors may result in a second wave of interest for Souvenirs if the actors gain attention for future performances. “You may even do better your second year than your first year,” he says.
Malloy explains that films are typically released on paid platforms, such as iTunes and Vudu, before subscription services like Amazon, Netflix or Hulu, to ensure they won’t undercut sales.
Weighing the benefits of accepting the deal with Glass House Distribution, Jess and Charles connect with entertainment lawyer David Albert about the company’s modified form of an MG. Charles explains that if Glass House does not make the film $25,000 in its first year, they automatically don’t re-sign the contract with the filmmakers. However, if they exceed $25,000, Glass House has claim on re-signing the filmmakers every two years.
Pierce warns the filmmakers to be wary of this deal since Glass House may try to claim expenses that add up to $25,000. “The trick is to maximize the revenue…and limit their expenses,” he notes.
Jess and Charles launched StudioFest in 2018 as a competition to find a writer and director to collaborate on a $50,000 film. In 2018 Jess and Charles selected writer Matthew Sorvillo and director Anna Mikami to work on Souvenirs with them.
Director Ryan Oksenberg and writer Lowam Eyasu, winners of the 2019 StudioFest are currently in pre-production on their feature with Jess and Charles.
Interested in StudioFest? Submissions for the 2020 StudioFest are open now to directors and writers over the age of 18 who has not yet produced a feature film.