Successful Self-Distribution: When You Do it With Others

By Carole Dean

In a recent episode of my Art of Film Funding Podcast, I interviewed Nick Gonda, President & Director of TUGG.com, an expert on self-distribution for independent films. He spoke of a filmmaker who had over 500 screenings set up by other people for him in cities across the US.

This is the new world of self-distribution for indie films and Tugg is one of the leaders in the field.

Here’s how it works.

Self-Distribution

Collaborate with Groups That Can Use Your Film To Motivate Their Members to Attend Your Screenings

Tugg encourages filmmakers to think about who in your community doesn’t just want to buy tickets, but who would like to share and evangelize around your event on your behalf.

That’s the mentality of a promoter. Tugg gives you the tools to collaborate with people or groups and to do so in a way that people are incentivized.

Touch the Wall was one of Tugg’s most successful films last year.  It’s about swimmer Missy Franklin and it documents her journey of becoming an Olympian. This incredible filmmaking team set the bar high in terms of entrepreneurial mind sets and other types of outreach.

They knew they had a certain amount of people through their direct community.  But then they thought, how could we collaborate with swim organizations and swim teams around the country?

They created a system and a campaign where swim coaches could promote the screening as an event.  They participated not just for their love of the film or love subject.  They were also able to use these events as fundraisers for their local issues and needs.

As a result of that campaign and being able to approach swim coaches with that value proposition, they’ve had about 500 events around the country.

After all of those events, the filmmakers were able to get every email address from every ticket buyer and every promoter.  That’s because Tugg provides that transparency to its filmmaking partners.

Now, when they do their home video and VOD release, they are not going with just the financial success generated from all of these events, but with an expanded community as well.

By using the social connections of other organziations, Touch the Wall was able to financially reward themselves, gain a massive data base of people interested in the subject of their film, and give back to the community by letting locals use their film as a funding event.

Tugg also helps migrate that community into other auxiliary buying experiences. At the point or purchase, Tugg has a screen for you to sell your merchandise items with your tickets.

Nick says that the Girl Scouts have raised over $5,000 in donations at one of these events.  So, your film is helping fund other important issues while you are getting paid for the screening from the box office and merchandise sales.

This is a wonderful way for you to reach your audience, make money, build a data base and give back to communities across America.

Please listen to the interview for more wonderful ideas on marketing your film via Cinema on Demand.

Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-profit that offers fiscal sponsorship for independent filmmakers. She hosts the weekly podcast, The Art of Film Funding, interviewing those involved in all aspects of indie film productionShe is also the author of The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.