You might be in a similar position to where I was at the start of the year. You have a burning desire to make a project or you've made a project and you're sitting there saying to yourself, now what? Well I decided that I needed to test the market to work out what I had and what the market thought of my film.
Whether you're at the start of your filmmaking career or were like me with your debut feature documentary under your belt, there's something you should do BEFORE you release your film. Attend a film market, get some meetings with financiers, sales agents and consultants. It's a great way to work out where your work fits, or if you need to rethink your pitch or the execution of your screenplay, edit or project. Below I'll detail what I learned on the road and any tips and tricks for other filmmakers! First off, what even is a Film Market? 1. WHAT IS A FILM MARKET?
For starters there are some pretty big players to be aware of, these are primarily relevant for independent documentary makers :
1. American Film Market (AFM)
4. Hot Docs
5. IDFA Forum
7. World Congress of Science and Factual Producers (WCSFP) I like to make the analogy that film markets and film festivals are a lot like fish markets and fancy restaurants. Everyone wants the best fish to put in the restaurant but you've gotta find the fish in the ocean and compete with every other buyer and seller in the market place!
2. WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT WAYS TO ATTEND A FILM MARKETS
A film market is broadly where filmmakers, sales agents, distributors and financiers meet in one spot to acquire movies or discuss deal memos, negotiate terms etc.
In my opinion there are two main ways to attend a film market. As a film fan or a guest without a project and as a filmmaker with a project!
There are key differences. As a film fan you’ll be more interested in attending film screenings, q&as.
As a filmmaker you should only be going to the events and meetings that will benefit your next steps.
At Cannes you’ll have to line up for many hours to try get into a premiere, and you’ll need to be in a tuxedo and bowtie to even have a chance of getting in.
IMHO you’re better off going to the film market and introducing yourself to as many contacts that are useful as possible.
Be warned though, some can be very guarded and you’ll need appointments before you can even get in.
The great thing about the Marche Du Film is that they sign you up on Cinando.
Cinando allows you to send password protected links to your films to sales agents, distributors etc. It gives you invite codes and you can track when someone has watched your film, when they stopped watching it and generate reports
3. HOW SHOULD I ATTEND? WHAT DO I DO WHEN I GET THERE? 1. Know what you’re pitching and what the point of it is.
2. Know what you want from whom you’re pitching to
3. If you’re going to be a fly on the wall, be a fly on the wall
4. REMEMBER- nobody knows anything. Nobody is truly an expert. Nobody really knows what is going to sell, or be successful. Their guess is as good as yours!..unless they happen to be the ‘Rain Man’ of film success.
4. It helps to know a producer on the ground who can point you in the right direction of where to go, what events to go to and who to try and meet
6. One thing that I was told recently, it isn’t actually who you know, but who KNOWS YOU.
7. It’s your job to be on the radar of financiers, distributors and festivals
8. Sign up for the marche du film badge, get a good headshot, get your details in the program
Take a look at the Marche Website/materials. 4. PRACTICAL TIPS FOR MEETING AND PITCHING.
1. If you can afford it make a website, with your reel and work on it
2. Get an email with your production company on it
3. Get business cards and any postcards, leaflets made on vistaprint
4. Have your social media channels synced up to your website
5. When you do get a meeting and you do give out your materials, it’s sometimes advisable to have an ipad or a tablet to show trailers and materials on. Get a little stand for the Ipad.
5. It seems to be frowned upon to give people big massive booklets to go through. I also like to have a print out of my press kit on hand as well to flick through. 6. You can do a ‘hollywood rental’, buy the ipad in the country of the market, fill it full off stuff, if the market is less than 14 days, return the ipad. (You didn’t hear that from me).
5. PRACTICAL TIPS FOR DAY TO DAY AND TRAVELING TO THE FESTIVAL
1. Wear comfortable shoes.
2. Have various outfits on hand
3. Pack light in your suitcase with some space for books and business cards
4. Bring folders to organise things like business cards you get and your notes
5. Bring your laptop and a portable camera to take photos if relevant
6. Learn a little bit of French, or another language that's relevant to the market you're attending!
7. Bring a paper and pen
8. Be cautious of lining up for 5 hours to attend a film! 9. Don't be involved in careless criticism. 10. Make friends with a member of the press or someone with access to the press room. 11. Talk to everyone, you never know who you might meet on the way to an event, in the elevator or after a screening.
Thanks for reading and engaging <3. If you've got any burning questions or comments leave them in the comments section below and I'll do my best to answer them! #documentary #independentfilm #filmmarket #cannes #sheffielddocfest #market #marketing #distribution #salesagents