Sep 28, 2021
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Front Page, Industry News

Distribution: The Short Of It

By TO411 staff writer
Daisy Maclean

Yes, Virginia, there really are people out there who will buy your short films. Drama Club Films, based out of Toronto, is one such company. Founded in 2011, the company is an international, award-winning film distributor that specializes in short film content. In the short time Drama Club Films has been around they have acquired quite an impressive catalogue of award winners including The Carrier, a story of a grieving mother (Rita Wilson) dealing with the loss of her philandering son.  Directed by Scott Schaeffer, an assistant director from The Sopranos, Big Love and True Blood, the short is jam packed with more stars than the average feature, including Anna Paquin, Chad Micheal Murray, Diane Farr, and Mariana Klaveno, to name a few.

Short film distributors work to secure sales on platforms such as television, Video on Demand, online, mobile, theatrical, airlines, educational platforms as well as many others. I caught up with Tyler Lemaich, the founder of the company, to glean some advice about getting that elusive sale.

Who ordinarily makes short films?

Students, people with a young filmmaking career that are trying to perfect their craft or people that are working on their reel, trying to make good films to land high paying gigs. What really gets me excited is when a talented film veteran decides to take a break from feature films or a more mainstream platform and make a short film. I think that’s really awesome and my favourite example of this would be the short films of Spike Jonze, he has made some of my favourite shorts.

What benefits come with working with a distributor rather attempting self-distribution?

Distributors have connections, relationships and most importantly a very strong understanding of the structure and strategy of film sales. Not to mention that a lot of buyers simply won’t purchase films from filmmakers directly. They like to buy in bulk, which they can only do with distributors and they don’t like dealing with first time filmmakers unsure of the whole process. Answering questions and walking producers through the distribution process is often the distributors job.

How does the short film market differ from the feature film market?

Money. Feature filmmakers can often expect to receive upfront fees of hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions from distributors for releasing rights. There are a lot more bidding wars and politics in that world. Shorts film distributors belong to a very tight-knit community, we all know each other and, in a way, have our own areas that are our strengths so we’re mostly all friends, mostly.

What kind of expectations for distribution should a short filmmaker have?

It’s really a case-to-case basis. If you have a 40 minute black and white foreign film then expect a lot of dust to be collected. If you have an award-winning short, under 10 minutes with high production value, you could see a few broadcast sales ranging anywhere from a few hundred to tens of thousands, though you need something pretty special for that to happen.

What common mistakes do you see filmmakers making at markets and festivals?

Pitching their films when they’re drunk. When people ask you what your film is about, most of the time it’s out of courtesy. They’re looking for a short concise synopsis, not a slurred and disjointed life story from a rambling drunk. Not having proper identification on all of your material is a big one too, be sure to have your name and email on the DVD’s you’re giving out!

What kind of limit should filmmakers set for a short film budget?

I don’t think there’s a real answer to that, there’s so many variables that come into play. I would say the average short film that I watch is made for $10,000-$30,000 but I find budget rarely factors into how strong a short is. So many shorts are made up of crews volunteering, equipment being borrowed, that kind of gorilla mentality. So sometimes I’m surprised to find out that these amazing and epic films that I’m watching were made for next to nothing but were done so by people waiving their standard fees. If I could offer advice, it would be to try to secure a grant, don’t put too much of your own money into a project, you never want to put yourself in jeopardy. It’s like gambling, be prepared to lose everything going in so you won’t be disappointed.

What kind of films are you looking for currently?

There are so many niche buyers that we will look at a wide range of films and we like to keep our catalogue as unique and diverse as possible. We never look at music videos or erotica, and we rarely look at experimental films. We like high production value. We try not to sign films over 15 minutes, and try to stay away from anything too depressing. Comedy and animation have always done well.

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Page, Industry News

Distribution: The Short Of It

By TO411 staff writer
Daisy Maclean

Yes, Virginia, there really are people out there who will buy your short films. Drama Club Films, based out of Toronto, is one such company. Founded in 2011, the company is an international, award-winning film distributor that specializes in short film content. In the short time Drama Club Films has been around they have acquired quite an impressive catalogue of award winners including The Carrier, a story of a grieving mother (Rita Wilson) dealing with the loss of her philandering son.  Directed by Scott Schaeffer, an assistant director from The Sopranos, Big Love and True Blood, the short is jam packed with more stars than the average feature, including Anna Paquin, Chad Micheal Murray, Diane Farr, and Mariana Klaveno, to name a few.

Short film distributors work to secure sales on platforms such as television, Video on Demand, online, mobile, theatrical, airlines, educational platforms as well as many others. I caught up with Tyler Lemaich, the founder of the company, to glean some advice about getting that elusive sale.

Who ordinarily makes short films?

Students, people with a young filmmaking career that are trying to perfect their craft or people that are working on their reel, trying to make good films to land high paying gigs. What really gets me excited is when a talented film veteran decides to take a break from feature films or a more mainstream platform and make a short film. I think that’s really awesome and my favourite example of this would be the short films of Spike Jonze, he has made some of my favourite shorts.

What benefits come with working with a distributor rather attempting self-distribution?

Distributors have connections, relationships and most importantly a very strong understanding of the structure and strategy of film sales. Not to mention that a lot of buyers simply won’t purchase films from filmmakers directly. They like to buy in bulk, which they can only do with distributors and they don’t like dealing with first time filmmakers unsure of the whole process. Answering questions and walking producers through the distribution process is often the distributors job.

How does the short film market differ from the feature film market?

Money. Feature filmmakers can often expect to receive upfront fees of hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions from distributors for releasing rights. There are a lot more bidding wars and politics in that world. Shorts film distributors belong to a very tight-knit community, we all know each other and, in a way, have our own areas that are our strengths so we’re mostly all friends, mostly.

What kind of expectations for distribution should a short filmmaker have?

It’s really a case-to-case basis. If you have a 40 minute black and white foreign film then expect a lot of dust to be collected. If you have an award-winning short, under 10 minutes with high production value, you could see a few broadcast sales ranging anywhere from a few hundred to tens of thousands, though you need something pretty special for that to happen.

What common mistakes do you see filmmakers making at markets and festivals?

Pitching their films when they’re drunk. When people ask you what your film is about, most of the time it’s out of courtesy. They’re looking for a short concise synopsis, not a slurred and disjointed life story from a rambling drunk. Not having proper identification on all of your material is a big one too, be sure to have your name and email on the DVD’s you’re giving out!

What kind of limit should filmmakers set for a short film budget?

I don’t think there’s a real answer to that, there’s so many variables that come into play. I would say the average short film that I watch is made for $10,000-$30,000 but I find budget rarely factors into how strong a short is. So many shorts are made up of crews volunteering, equipment being borrowed, that kind of gorilla mentality. So sometimes I’m surprised to find out that these amazing and epic films that I’m watching were made for next to nothing but were done so by people waiving their standard fees. If I could offer advice, it would be to try to secure a grant, don’t put too much of your own money into a project, you never want to put yourself in jeopardy. It’s like gambling, be prepared to lose everything going in so you won’t be disappointed.

What kind of films are you looking for currently?

There are so many niche buyers that we will look at a wide range of films and we like to keep our catalogue as unique and diverse as possible. We never look at music videos or erotica, and we rarely look at experimental films. We like high production value. We try not to sign films over 15 minutes, and try to stay away from anything too depressing. Comedy and animation have always done well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Page, Industry News

Distribution: The Short Of It

By TO411 staff writer
Daisy Maclean

Yes, Virginia, there really are people out there who will buy your short films. Drama Club Films, based out of Toronto, is one such company. Founded in 2011, the company is an international, award-winning film distributor that specializes in short film content. In the short time Drama Club Films has been around they have acquired quite an impressive catalogue of award winners including The Carrier, a story of a grieving mother (Rita Wilson) dealing with the loss of her philandering son.  Directed by Scott Schaeffer, an assistant director from The Sopranos, Big Love and True Blood, the short is jam packed with more stars than the average feature, including Anna Paquin, Chad Micheal Murray, Diane Farr, and Mariana Klaveno, to name a few.

Short film distributors work to secure sales on platforms such as television, Video on Demand, online, mobile, theatrical, airlines, educational platforms as well as many others. I caught up with Tyler Lemaich, the founder of the company, to glean some advice about getting that elusive sale.

Who ordinarily makes short films?

Students, people with a young filmmaking career that are trying to perfect their craft or people that are working on their reel, trying to make good films to land high paying gigs. What really gets me excited is when a talented film veteran decides to take a break from feature films or a more mainstream platform and make a short film. I think that’s really awesome and my favourite example of this would be the short films of Spike Jonze, he has made some of my favourite shorts.

What benefits come with working with a distributor rather attempting self-distribution?

Distributors have connections, relationships and most importantly a very strong understanding of the structure and strategy of film sales. Not to mention that a lot of buyers simply won’t purchase films from filmmakers directly. They like to buy in bulk, which they can only do with distributors and they don’t like dealing with first time filmmakers unsure of the whole process. Answering questions and walking producers through the distribution process is often the distributors job.

How does the short film market differ from the feature film market?

Money. Feature filmmakers can often expect to receive upfront fees of hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions from distributors for releasing rights. There are a lot more bidding wars and politics in that world. Shorts film distributors belong to a very tight-knit community, we all know each other and, in a way, have our own areas that are our strengths so we’re mostly all friends, mostly.

What kind of expectations for distribution should a short filmmaker have?

It’s really a case-to-case basis. If you have a 40 minute black and white foreign film then expect a lot of dust to be collected. If you have an award-winning short, under 10 minutes with high production value, you could see a few broadcast sales ranging anywhere from a few hundred to tens of thousands, though you need something pretty special for that to happen.

What common mistakes do you see filmmakers making at markets and festivals?

Pitching their films when they’re drunk. When people ask you what your film is about, most of the time it’s out of courtesy. They’re looking for a short concise synopsis, not a slurred and disjointed life story from a rambling drunk. Not having proper identification on all of your material is a big one too, be sure to have your name and email on the DVD’s you’re giving out!

What kind of limit should filmmakers set for a short film budget?

I don’t think there’s a real answer to that, there’s so many variables that come into play. I would say the average short film that I watch is made for $10,000-$30,000 but I find budget rarely factors into how strong a short is. So many shorts are made up of crews volunteering, equipment being borrowed, that kind of gorilla mentality. So sometimes I’m surprised to find out that these amazing and epic films that I’m watching were made for next to nothing but were done so by people waiving their standard fees. If I could offer advice, it would be to try to secure a grant, don’t put too much of your own money into a project, you never want to put yourself in jeopardy. It’s like gambling, be prepared to lose everything going in so you won’t be disappointed.

What kind of films are you looking for currently?

There are so many niche buyers that we will look at a wide range of films and we like to keep our catalogue as unique and diverse as possible. We never look at music videos or erotica, and we rarely look at experimental films. We like high production value. We try not to sign films over 15 minutes, and try to stay away from anything too depressing. Comedy and animation have always done well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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