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Insider's Guide to Independent Film Distribution, The

Review by: 
Head Cheeze
Stacey Parks
Publication Date: 
Focal Press
Bottom Line: 

So you’ve finally done it. It took you months, if not years. You’ve sacrificed your nights and weekends, maxed out your credit cards, and probably lost a spouse/significant other in the process, but, dammit, it was all worth it because you, my friend, have finished your movie! Not only have you finished it; it’s actually pretty good to boot! I mean, sure, it’s no Citizen Kane, but it’s good enough to be seen by more than just the actors, crew, and their family members, right? Sure it is! 

So now comes the hard part.

What? You thought writing, funding, and making the movie was the hard part? Oh, man, you crack me up. No, no. That’s the fun part! Getting it out there for others to see? 

Yeah, that’s the hard part. 

For every movie you see on the shelves at your local video shop, big box store, or in your Netflix queue, there are a thousand other movies that tried (and failed) to be in their place.  Sometimes it’s a reflection of said films quality (or lack thereof), but, more often than not, it’s a lack of knowledge on the filmmaker’s part that keeps their masterpiece from being seen.  

Getting your independent film into the right hands can mean the difference between film festival laurels and weekly screenings in your parent’s basement. Having a basic understanding of how film distribution works is crucial, especially in an industry where cutthroat tactics are the norm. Stacey Parks knows this, and has been offering her services to talented indie filmmakers for years, helping hundreds of them realize their dreams of getting their films seen. Now, with the second edition of her best-selling book, The Insider’s Guide to Independent Film Distribution, she’s ready to help you, too!

This short-yet-indispensable guide takes filmmakers from pre-production (casting, researching your film’s market, generating buzz) to signing your first distribution deal. Unlike similar books, Parks answers myriad questions with concise answers that don’t require a legal degree or a thesaurus, and offers practical advice on topics ranging from financing and foreign markets (which are surprisingly easy to crack) to film markets and festivals.

Being a fairly light read that broaches a very broad topic, The Insider’s Guide to Film Distribution serves as a great navigational tool to guide newcomers through the many pitfalls of a complex and, oftentimes, duplicitous industry.  However, while publisher, Focal Press, does offer some great extra material at the book’s official website, those who are serious about marketing and distributing their film may want to supplement this book with some of the more detailed tomes on the subject as Parks can only cover so much over the course of 154 pages.  Still, for a quick and concise primer on the ins and outs of the distro business, The Insider’s Guide to Film Distribution has no equal. Definitely well worth adding to your library!

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