Film Distribution greatly relies on the film as a product and there is a saying in Swahili that says “kizuri chajiuza kibaya chajitembeza” loosely meaning a good product is easy to sell that a bad one. Distributors walk on a very tight rope, they can easily lose their money on a film that they acquire for release or make tonnes of cash. It is a delicate balance so they have to use a formula and intuition in judging whether a film is worth their investment. Here are a few of those elements that they use to justify the marketability of a film:
Movies are about people playing other characters and these people we call actors have to do it so well for us to believe them. Directors work so hard on eliminating this disbelief but equally an actors performance will cement his efforts. Actors, on the other hand, will tell you they feed off each other so putting together an ensemble can only improve your product.
They say casting right is half work done, so spend as much time as you can in looking for the right person to play your characters or consult a casting agent to help you with this daunting task.
If you have a budget look for actors who have a following whether online or offline. If your film appeals to the youth then look for actors with a great Social Media Footprint.
If you don’t have a budget then please cast your net wider and look for that breakout actor who will make your film get noticed. You will need to act like a football coach who discovers the next biggest striker.
If you have a first time director then do pair him/her with an experienced team for the project. Most financiers are about eliminating any possibility of risks and distributors can finance your film through minimum guarantees or co-invest as producers. They will be very concerned with the experience of the Producers, Writer, Director, Cinematographer, Production Designer and the Editor. The more your investors trust your team the easier it is to get partners on it and sales agents love a power team with a track record.
Bringing all those people with all the experienced in the world won’t help your film if your story is weak. A good script will attract good actors and we know some actors are even willing to cut down their fees or even defer payment if they believe in the story.
The audience wants a good story that will move them and there is nothing better than word of mouth marketing for your film. Invest in this process and don’t rush it, consult and let others critic your work especially if you are writing the screenplay yourself. Some studios hire regular experienced writers whose work is to rewrite screenplays that they feel are not ready for production.
If you put the above into consideration at the developemnt stage then you are one step into making sure your film is marketable and in no time you will find a distributor excited about it.
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