We work with independent filmmakers from all over the globe. We’re always looking for filmmakers who have a unique “voice” and whose stories, creativity and moxie inspire us.
We also understand that film making is about a filmmaker’s passion and hard work and we cater our TKD programs towards those filmmakers who are looking to remove the subjectivity of an acquisition executive and take the distribution of their film into their own hands.
It is possible, but most filmmakers will run into several key obstacles that can make it either financially or creatively more costly for them. Those include:
- COST: In most cases, self-distribution will cost filmmakers between $3,000 – $13,000 just in service fees depending on the number of platforms chosen and even then they find their access limited to a small handful of the available platforms. On top of this, there’s the cost of marketing the film, which can run anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000+ depending on the level of social media, direct mailing and/or limited VOD or SVOD marketing that’s deployed – and that’s assuming you’ve got a plan and the means to execute a national marketing plan. If a you add a limited theatrical release, the cost could skyrocket to well over $100,000+ just to add a few screens in a single market. The point is, you need to figure in all of the costs associated with distributing a film including marketing and ongoing rights management.
- NO EXPERIENCE: Most filmmakers are well versed in developing and producing a film, but less than 1% of filmmakers have any “real” experience actually distributing and/or marketing a feature film. This lack of experience can have a real cost when trying to negotiate the right terms for each of your film’s rights windows. What is fair? What is standard? What is realistic? And if you do manage to reach final terms with a platform, how do you know what to look for in the contract? Are you getting the right deal? Are there “gotcha” clauses to watch out for? Hiring a distribution consultant is very expensive and, in most cases, not very cost efficient to the process of “self-distribution” you are trying to undertake. Thousands of dollars could be lost because of rights windows that are improperly exploited or negotiated.
- “ONE TIMER” ISSUES: “One Timer” issues refers to the lack of negotiating power a single filmmaker has over any platform. This is because you’re pitching a single ‘product’ versus what a distributor pitches which is a steady flow of products and the likelihood of ongoing future business. Whether real or perceived, a filmmaker is unable to provide a platform the same level and breadth of opportunity as a distributor can. Most independent filmmakers just don’t have the bandwidth or financial structure to provide a constant supply of content to any given platform. In addition, these days most of your larger, more established SVOD providers (i.e. HULU, NETFLIX, AMAZON, etc…) are interested in larger libraries or “slates” of films that can be acquired all at once.
An “MG” or Minimum Guarantee, is an advance that is paid by a distributor for the secured rights of a motion picture. Typically, MGs are paid upon full delivery of a feature to the distributor per the delivery terms set forth in the agreement. MGs can be disbursed all at once or over multiple years of an agreement. It all depends on the rights, and how a distributor exploits those rights.
Dauntless Studios has pre-set terms with various platforms in Premium VOD & VOD (Video On Demand), Digital Download, Digital Rental, Ancillary, and Hard Media Sell Thru (Amazon) windows. See the “What Platforms” FAQ below to learn more about the platforms we work with.
SVOD, AVOD, Cable/TV and Hard Media Sell Thru & Rental are all rights that Dauntless negotiates on an individual basis and in the best interest of achieving the most favorable financial terms for each film. The value of these rights vary based on the scope, scale, notoriety, appeal and accolades of the respective film. In some cases the final agreement for these rights might be a split deal, an MG, a royalty agreement and/or a hybrid term that could include a corridor to first revenues for a particular period of time or financial amount.
In essence, “TKD” or Turn-Key Distribution, is a distribution option in which a filmmaker, producer or production company (the film’s rights holder) chooses to take the distribution of their film into their own hands and cut out the subjectivity of an acquisition agent. The rights holder can distribute their feature film on almost all revenue generating platforms in North America using a hybrid of pre-set and negotiated terms that have already been secured by Dauntless Studios.
The Turn-Key aspect of the distribution involves the rights holder paying a tier fee upfront which covers the cost of access to all TKD platforms, the applicable tier marketing costs, servicing fees and consulting services. You can learn more about the different TKD options on our website
The simple answer is Yes. In the current market landscape, a well executed theatrical release in concert with a distributor’s role out of the other right windows, can drastically change the success of your film. Additionally, a turn-key theatrical can also help the film stand out from the sea of low to modestly budgeted feature films both in terms of audience reach, as well as in negotiations in the subsequent right windows.
Technology has been a godsend for filmmakers – and the new revenue streams are as welcomed as a gleaming critic’s review – but it’s also created new marketing and PR challenges for independent films, that the increased attention of a theatrical release can help overcome. Reviews from the larger trades for example are difficult to score without doing a theatrical release. Furthermore, a limited theatrical release has also become the barrier of entry for a wide array of North American distribution options – i.e. SVOD, AVOD, Cable. Some options are often not available to films that release directly to VOD or digital platforms. In most cases, a limited theatrical release can increase the overall revenue generation capabilities of a film from between 125% to 385%.