Advise sought on selling doc to distributor

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Nintembo
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Joined: Jun 22 2004

Hi,

I have recently wrapped production of a doc looking at a music festival. It has a running time of 4 hours (to be spanned across two discs).

I had a telephone conversation with a distributor (to DVD) and he asked what sort of deal I was looking for. I was wondering if somebody here could give me some advise?

I was thinking of asking for a fee up front (£10,000 - half the budget) and split unit sale profits 65/35 in my favour. Does this sound reasonabile? Also, where do marketing costs come into play (i.e. advertising in magazines etc)

The film is not edited, although I do have a log of footage. They have an in house edit team. Would it work out better (financhily) if I do the edit myself - then take it to the distributor, or allow them to do the edit?

Also, what methods should I use to copyright my footage?

Thanks in advance : )

foxvideo
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Joined: Sep 9 1999

A DVD distributor would look to buy a product from you at trade price, add a percentage and then sell on, they would handle any marketing costs, under normal circumstances any, and all production costs are down to you.

If you can get them to put up 50% of the cost of the production, then all your Christmases would come at once!

I sell 5 titles to distributors, I supply to them for £x, they market and sell for £x, no production costs, no split.

Are you confusing the DVD distributor for a "film distributor"?, a film distributor would cover a percentage of production costs and want a percentage split on profits, however the deal is done before the footage is shot.

There are also copyright considerations here with your production if it's a music festival....

I will look forward to replies from anyone else who sells DVD's!

Dave Farrants Fox Video Editing

Nintembo
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Joined: Jun 22 2004

Hi,

I'm very confused now.

What would the trade price be? What would the percentage be?

In my mind, I thought I'd be selling the "rights" of the footage to a distributor for a set fee (in mind I had £10,000) and from there I would get a percentage of sales from however many units the distributor sells...

foxvideo
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I think this is where you are confusing a DVD distributor with a film distributor. As mentioned, a DVD distributor would look to sell DVD's you duplicate, package and supply on the basis of £x amount for £x amount - (say for example he buy 10 copies @ £10 each or 100 copies @ £8.50 each from you), he would then sell for say £17.50, the point being the more he buys, the cheaper they are, the more profit he makes!

A film distributor would look to sell your production to either mainstream TV, satellite/cable TV or regional theatre here in the UK or overseas, they would cover a percentage of production costs and arrange a split of profits but this would only usually happen before a production is shot.

Dave Farrants Fox Video Editing

Nintembo
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Joined: Jun 22 2004

So is my above theory wrong? And a DVD distributor (i.e. Lions Gate, Revolver etc) not do this?

foxvideo
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They are film distributors, they would contribute to production costs, sell to cinema's and or TV, then when the high value sales are exhausted and they are into profit, they would then distribute on DVD.

You would have to have a serious production with high value sales to get them interested :)

Dave Farrants Fox Video Editing

Nintembo
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Joined: Jun 22 2004

Assuming I do have a product of interest, is my above theory correct?

Is is somewhat of a "specialist" production, so cineama distribution is not viable - but DVD is certainly...

foxvideo
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TBH, if you don't know what your production is worth at point of sale (not what it cost you) then you you need major professional advice before approaching a distributor. You need a moneyman and solicitor/lawyer who know how these areas work and are used to dealing with large film companies/distributors.

I would think advice from someone on shootingpeople.org might help, or put you in touch with experts, more than anyone on here.

I look forward to your post telling us you've sold it and distributed it.

Dave Farrants Fox Video Editing

Nintembo
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Joined: Jun 22 2004

Thanks, I'll certainly try that site out.

But just so am I am in the right frame of mind, am I right in thinking I sell the rights for a fee, then collect a percentage of sales?

Thanks

foxvideo
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I can't answer that, If it's a music festival how can you be sure you hold all the rights?, there must be artist considerations here if the event is as big and likely to be of interest as you suggest.

Only an experienced film contract broker will be able to advise as to what you can sell and what to look for payment wise.

Dave Farrants Fox Video Editing

Nintembo
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Joined: Jun 22 2004

In regards to interviews,

If I don't have a release form for an interview - can I still use it?

Also, what if it is signed by the stage name (i.e. "Madonna" - keeping in mind she owns the rights to the name)

foxvideo
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A distributor will normally ask for a copy of all permissions, releases and music copyright permissions to be supplied or, a contract between you and the distributor will be supplied for you to sign saying all permissions etc have been obtained. Gone are the days when a simple street vox pop could be used without a release!

Don't quite understand the second part of your question.....?

Dave Farrants Fox Video Editing

Chrome
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Joined: May 26 1999

Nin, if you don't have the relevant signed (and legal) releases, then I believe many broadcasters etc. will not be interested; it leaves you/them open to litigation should an 'interviewee' take exception. This is especially true if you have recorded live music without signed-off permission, (probably from both the artistes and the organisers).

Nintembo
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Joined: Jun 22 2004

What I mean is say an artist signs a release form off in their stage name as aposed to their real name - is it still relevant? (seeing as it is they who hold the rights to the name)

foxvideo
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You mean they've signed 'Mickey Mouse' and you're not sure it'll stand up :D

I can't offer a legal answer, you need an Entertainment lawyer for that, IMO if it's a 'known' name the sig should be fine otherwise the artist's agent should have advised both the artist and you on how to sign. If they are an 'unknown' name or don't have an agent to advise otherwise, their legal name is their real name not a stage name.

Dave Farrants Fox Video Editing

Nintembo
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Joined: Jun 22 2004

Hi there,

The names in question are established television names so I'd imagine (hope) they'd stand up.

The Mickey line did make me chuckle though : )

Thanks