16/01/2013 ˑ 

Jon Reiss and the new film marketing

Posted by Biennale

Producing and distributing a movie is not just about getting money from studios nowadays. And it’s not even only about getting money from people. Jon Reiss has put a lot of energy to study the newest ways of marketing feature films, becoming one of the most well-known consultants of indipendent cinema. Introduced by Amy Dotson from IFP, one of Biennale College – Cinema’s group leaders, Jon gave a lecture in San Servolo about the “new model” of distribution that has risen in the recent cinematic field.

Previously there used to be only one way to reach an audience, and it was of course selling your film to a studio: a company bought your film with an “all rights deal”, paying an advance. Things started to change by splitting rights, so the filmmakers could choose the best and most effective ways to release and market their product. But what Jon is speaking about now is a “New Model” that goes beyond the “split rights” one. Jon talks about the “Artist Entrepreneur”, who creates a long term relationship with a sustainable fanbase which will support his artistic and filmmaking career. This means moving from a project centric model to a career centric model.

The artist is seen as a brand: especially with first feature films, the work a filmmaker does on his movie lays the foundation of his subsequent work. So: what’s so unique about it? Every film is different, and needs a unique distribution and a strategic marketing plan. Generally speaking, Jon talks about “the new 50/50″, which means that the 50% of the filmmaker’s time and money need to be invested in the production of the film, and the other 50% of both time and money in distributing it. Not a rule for sure, but something to think about…

To connect with audiences and to build a community seems sometimes the only way to go, together with the re-classifications of rights. File sharing, creating scarce goods and unique events (such as special screenings for one night only), generating press talk and buzz, and merchandising (innovative packaging for dvds, scarced items) are only some of the solutions to start a different and customized campaign. The amount of work is not certainly light. But would you prefer to sell your creation to someone that surely won’t give it back to you?