Bend The Rules
The traditional windows still exist, but now the order is less predictable. Amazon and Netflix now buy films directly. European streaming platforms are becoming bigger players in the American marketplace. Filmmakers may be offered advances for only some of their rights, leaving them free to exploit the rest as they choose. Take that advance and use it to plan a strategy that will more effectively target your audience: do some theatrical screenings, do some event screenings, hire a digital ad agency. Reach your direct audience in meaningful ways before the film goes wide on a major platform.
And what if you don’t get into a major festival and Jeff Bezos is not waiting at your door with a fistful of cash? Or no traditional distributor has a worthwhile offer? These days, filmmakers can sell their films directly to these platforms. Opportunities like Amazon Video Direct or companies like Giant Interactive, Distribber, or Quiver can get films to the digital platforms without you needing to go through a distributor. No longer a last resort, this new option can be a wonderful opportunity for filmmakers who want to control their own rights; particularly when paired with an effective and innovative strategy.
Which brings me to the final step.