A Message to Filmmakers Regarding Sales Agents & Distribution

As the owner of a video and film post-production quality control facility, I’ve seen countless independent filmmakers get hit with post-production and distribution-related surprises that can derail their movie’s release and add unexpected, unmanageable costs to their budget. It’s hard to witness someone who has given years of their labor to a project have to put it on a shelf because they can’t afford the cost in time or money that it takes to get their film through post and QC to their distributor’s satisfaction. But I see it all the time.
Here is how it too often goes:
I get a call from a filmmaker who needs a quality control report or other post-production work for their film. I consult with them on how the process works and quote a price, with which they are usually quite happy, and we agree to begin the work. The next day they call me back to tell me that their distribution company has rejected their plans – they will only allow “their vendors” to do the QC. “Their vendors” all charge twice as much money as my company, but the filmmaker has no choice but to pay as they have signed a deal that they cannot get out of. The trouble doesn’t end there, because when the filmmaker finally gets the report back (with the turnaround schedule much longer than I would have provided) it is several pages long listing many problems and concludes that the movie is “rejected.” All of these problems must be fixed before the movie can be approved. Now the filmmaker has to pay several thousand more dollars to fix all these problems to the same company that did the report, when they could have gone somewhere else and paid much less for fixes. The filmmaker now has to spend all the money they got on the distribution deal (if they got any at all) on the post work, and they’ve effectively given up the movie for free.
I’ve seen this too many times to count. It’s no longer a surprise to me, but it’s always a surprise to the filmmaker who thought they were finally on the verge of getting their film released.

My advice to filmmakers as they prepare to enter the post-production and distribution phase of their project is:
• Make sure that you are free to do your post work where you want, and not where the distributor wants. This will save a lot of money, time and hassles.
• Beware of distributors that approach you. Do your homework and research any possible distributors before you talk to them.
• Shop around and you will find a wide array of post-production and QC prices and services. Perhaps we will end up working together after you have considered your QC options! Whether we do or not, I wish you…
Good Luck.