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10 Ways to Make Distributors Totally Hate Your Guts - by Elliott Grove

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10 Ways to Make Distributors Totally Hate Your Guts

by Elliot Grove


Here are 10 ways to really annoy distributors.


1) Make it nearly impossible for a distributor to see your film

Let’s say a potential film buyer misses the one and only screening of your film at a film festival. Don’t offer to send them an online link to the film. I know these areeasy to set up on Vimeo with passwords, but why make it easy?  Insist that they attend your next festival screening on another continent later in the year.


If you do cave in and send a DVD make really sure the DVD can’t play on a computer, and only on the DVD player in the distributor’s boardroom. That way yourpotential client won’t be able to watch it while travelling or at home on the weekend.


2) Clog up their email really good

If a distributor expresses interest in your film make sure you send them updates on the progress of your film. Two to three daily updates will guarantee to annoy.Make sure you let them know every time you have a new Twitter follower, Facebook message and so on.


3) Send totally irrelevant emails

Go a step further with your email campaign. Reference news stories like Neil Armstrong’s death, Lance Armstrong’s doping allegations, aboriginal plights withExxon in the Alberta oil sands project  in short, anything that you think of - especially if it has actually no relevance to your film.


4) Consider silence as a sign to try even harder

If a distributor doesn’t respond to your telephone messages or repeated emails, view it as a sign of interest in your film. You know the adage: No news is goodnews. Try even harder to get through.


5) Take things really slowly

Once a distributor has made the decision to buy your film, go super slow. Invent mentors and crew members you need to consult before you sign off. Let them knowthat the deal doesn’t feel quite right yet. Don’t worry that they might take all this money and give it to a film made by a competitor  just hang in there, one step at atime. Ask about world premiere status and so on.  Super slow is a guaranteed way to disgust and annoy distributors.


6) Follow-up at your pace

Just because a distributor calls or emails at 5:05pm just as you are going home doesn’t mean you should break your routine and respond right away  respondwhen you get home (after they have left their office) or better yet  the next day.  If someone is expecting a screener  mail it at the end of the week  when it suitsyou.


7) Follow up like an insane person

Wow! This one will get you noticed and for all the wrong reasons. Send gifts of chocolates, wine and flowers. Write insane blog postings about the distributioncompany. Set up auto-Tweets every 15 seconds. Pepper the receptionist with hang-up calls.  You get the picture. You will soon be despised along with the worst ofyour competitors.


8) What do you mean music rights?

Stick Beatles songs, Astrid Gilberto singing ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ liberally throughout your movie and then put the disclaimer ‘Guide Music Only’. Then show acomplete ignorance of the music clearance process.


9) Negotiate like a sleaseball

Agree a price, sign it and then start demanding extras, like shipping, postage, telephone call charges, pension contributions, holiday pay and meeting fees. Themore outlandish your claims the more they will hate you.


10) Hold your film hostage

Agree, in principal to a fee for your film, but insist you’ll only accept it if they agree to take your next film.  Conversely, sell your first film to one distributor, andthen take your second to a competitor after the first company has invested a lot of time and effort into launching your career.


Fade Out

I’m sure there are many other ways to make distributors really hate your guts.  What have I forgotten?


Yours in filmmaking,


Elliot Grove


Comments (1)

...from a guy who does not pay his bills to

This guy, this festival, is banned on, and from Cannes (I hear)

My story:  someone orders a campaign, discusses the details, receives the links, comments...and does not pay, arguing he never a crook.


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