What if I haven't gone into production yet?

By , posted 1 May 2006

I've gotten a lot of questions lately from filmmakers who haven't gone into production yet with their films, as to whether or not it's a good time to start thinking about distribution. My answer is always the same: it's a great idea to start thinking about distribution even BEFORE you make your film.

For example, I'm big proponent of casting professional actors for a film. This doesn't have to mean current A-list movie actors. What I mean is that there are loads of actors out there - television stars, former television stars, former A-listers, etc. - who are totally bankable actors in the international marketplace. By tapping into this pool of actors, you actually increase the marketability of your film from the get go. Depending on which actors you get, you may be able to make a pre-sale or two, but at the very least, once you have a completed film you'll have a film that's saleable.

Don't think you can afford to hire professional actors on your budget? Go to www.sagindie.com to check out their low budget schemes. You can actually work with professional SAG actors even on a very low budget! In my book, "Insiders Guide to Film Distribution", I interviewed Paul Bales director of SAG Indie, who made his first movie on a budget of $250K, with professional actors, and pre-sold the movie to a U.S distributor before he even shot one frame of film (yes, he also shot on 35mm even with a budget that low!). By working with professional actors, he was able to shoot the film in 11 days (as opposed to 30), because his actors came in and knocked their scenes out in a day. That's what you get when you work with professional actors.

So there you have it - one of my favorite tips for pre-production while thinking of distribution in advance.

Stacey Parks is the author of "Insider's Guide to Film Distribution", a comprehensive manual for filmmakers and producers dedicated to film distribution and the marketplace. Stacey has worked in Independent film for over ten years and is currently an Independent Sales Rep. She was previously a Foreign Sales Agent for several years.

Reader Comments

More Posts

4 Filmmaking 'Rabbit Holes' To Avoid

Brian O'Malley from Screenplay Readers takes a look at four areas in the filmmaking process which can end up derailing an otherwise great project.

7-Mar-2018  • 

RED Announces the New Monstro 8K VV Full-Frame Sensor for WEAPON Cameras

RED has had an 8K sensor available for sometime in the form of the RED Dragon VV, but the announcement of the Monstro represents a significant step forward in both quality and simplification of the workflow.

10-Oct-2017  •  Benjamin Craig

Blocker App Brings Augmented Reality Shot-Planning to Your iPhone

With iOS 11 hot of the production line, mixed reality agency AfterNow has wasted no time leveraging Apple's ARKit to deliver a free augmented reality tool to help directors compose their scenes.

27-Sep-2017  •  Benjamin Craig

12 Angry Men- A Lesson in Staging

Using Sidney Lumet's '12 Angry Men', Andrew Saladino from The Royal Ocean Film Society looks at how blocking and staging can add emotion and density to scenes which may otherwise end up rather dull.

11-Sep-2017  •  Benjamin Craig

How to Make a Blockbuster Movie Trailer

The super-talented Craven Moorhaus and Zak Koonce (aka Auralnauts) have created the perfect blueprint for your blockbuster movie trailer.

18-Aug-2017  •  Benjamin Craig