Film distribution guide

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  • 1. Film Distribution  Is the process of launching a film into the market place and sustaining public interest in the film.  World-wide distribution is dominated by US Companies such as Paramount, Warner, and Universal.  Distributors may be involved in a film in any or all of the following three ways:  It may invest in the film’s production.  The distributor might buy the rights to the film once it is made.  If the distributor is part of a larger organisation that has made the film, then it will automatically distribute films made by the parent company.
  • 2. Film Distribution: Key Elements  Positioning:  Involves how and when the film should be released. Elements to be considered are the time of year, other film releases and the target audience.  Circulation:  how many copies of the film should be circulated to cinemas.  Each print costs around £1000.  The distributor should decide whether the film requires a ‘saturation release’ (700-1000 prints) or an ‘art-house release’ (around 20 prints)
  • 3. Film Distribution: Key Elements  Release:  Timing is crucial. School holidays are a prime time within the year for the release of blockbusters.  If the film is a potential award winner, then it will be released during the traditional season of awards competition: January to March.  Competition must also be considered.  Marketing:  Can often cost as much as making the film!!!  Main aim is to create a ‘must see’ feeling about the film.  Word-of-mouth is a powerful marketing aid for a film.
  • 4. Film Distribution: Marketing: Key Features  Several elements can be used in marketing to generate interest in a film.  Posters:  Contain standard elements that are used to sell the idea of a film to the potential viewer.  The main image will often echo a key moment in the film.  Any stars or possible key personnel, will have their names featured.  Posters usually have a Unique Selling Point. This is the element that offers something special or different about the film.  Some blockbusters use a ‘teaser’ poster campaign. The teaser posters offer a few key elements of a film to generate interest.
  • 5. Analysing Film Posters:  As film themselves do, posters draw on key elements of genre to communicate through the poster, and hopefully generate interest in the film.  Iconography  Narrative  Characters  Themes
  • 6. Loveactually (2002) Dir Richard Curtis) Referring to this poster, identify the elements used relating to Iconography, Narrative, Character and Themes. What genre is this film?
  • 7. War of the Worlds (Spielberg, 2005) Referring to this poster, identify the elements used relating to Iconography, Narrative, Character and Themes. What genre is this film?
  • 8. Film Distribution: Marketing: Key Features  Trailers:  Need to present a number of key elements to the audience.  The genre – through key scenes, iconography, dialogue, or other sound elements.  Narrative elements have to be introduced, being careful not to ruin the film though.  Is there is a star, then they will likely be featured.  Again a USP will be created this could be:  Images of an actor playing a different role to what the audience expects  A location that differs from that which is conventional within a particular genre  The presentation of a story not told before.  As with posters, there may also be a teaser campaign.
  • 9. Film Distribution: Marketing: Key Features:  Media Advertising:  Using other media texts to promote the film.  Posters in magazines and newspapers, and on billboards and bus stops.  Trailers on TV and radio (depending on the budget)  Stars and director appear as guests to be interviewed about the film.  The Internet:  A ‘buzz’ about a film can be generated in an internet chat room, for example. If positive word of mouth spreads this is good promotion, however, there is the other side of the coin too.  Individual films have their own website, which feature clips, images, interviews and so on. This helps create public awareness.  E.G. The Blair Witch Project. The film’s website provoked great debate about whether the film was based on a real incident or not. This created a large amount of publicity for a low budget film.
  • 10. Film Distribution: Marketing: Key Elements.  Promotions:  Big films often have tie-in promotion campaigns. E.G. toys given away in fast food outlets, displays in shop windows.  Merchandising:  A large potential for profit lies in this area.  The distributor will oversee the sale of licenses to approved companies to allow them to use film images and logos.  Star Wars was perhaps the first film to profit through merchandising.  Premieres:  Are a carefully organised promotion tool. They generate articles in newspapers, magazine articles about those who attended, and T.V. interviews with stars.  Press Junkets:  The endless short interviews given to the members of the press.  It is an official element of the publicity campaign.  Preview Screenings:  Free tickets might be given away or won in competitions. Distributors are careful to attract to the preview the intended target audience for the film, in order to try and generate a positive word of mouth.  Festivals:  Film festivals have a dual function. They are competitions in which if a film wins an award or receives critical acclaim, it will provide positive publicity for the film. Secondly they are a promotional tool where reviews are created and interviews conducted.
  • 11. HOMEWORK:  Choose a film released this year, and try to track the marketing campaign for the film.  Key ideas to consider:  Find the film poster and analyse it – who is it targeting? What key features define the genre(s)?  Was their a teaser campaign? Either through trailers or posters?  Where was the premiere held?  Is there any merchandising attached to the film?