Film Distribution: How to Get Your Film on Netflix, Hulu & iTunes
We have all heard the horror stories of indie filmmakers getting a “film distribution deal” with a traditional distributor and never receiving a dime. In today’s digital world there are many options for indie filmmakers to monetize their content.
In the film distribution game there’s iTunes, Hulu, Amazon, Google Play, Crackle, PlayStation Network, X-Box, YouTube RED, VuDu, Netflix, and Cable VOD, but how does a filmmaker with no industry contacts get access to these platforms? Enter Nick Soares and Distribber. Check this out:
Distribber is a film distribution aggregator for iTunes, Hulu, Amazon, VuDu, Netflix, Cable VOD and much more. As an aggregator we work to receive, repair, conform, package, and deliver your film to the outlets you have chosen. Distribber allows filmmakers to keep 100% of all profits generated, which effectively removes any middlemen from taking undeserving revenue. Once your film is packaged, Distribber will deliver all assets into our partner portals to go live. Filmmakers have complete control over release dates, updates, removals, the list goes on.
Since finishing This is Meg, I’ve been figuring out a distribution plan for the film…and NO submitting to film festivals and hope for the best is not a distribution plan. I stumble across Nick and his company and was blown away.
Nick has basically opened the doors to ALL the major film distribution VOD and SVOD platforms online and the kicker is you keep 100% of the revenue your film generates, wait what? They not only accept feature film but the also take shorts and television episodes. I had to have Nick on the show and have him drop some major knowledge bombs on the tribe.
I also did a bit of hunting and found the revenue splits for the major film distribution VOD (Video on Demand) and SVOD (Subscription Video on Demand):
- iTunes: 70/30 for EST sales (purchase) and 60/40 for VOD sales (rental).
- Hulu: Hulu collects advertising revenue based on the number of ads viewed while watching your movie, then pays you 50% of what they collect.
- Amazon VOD: 50 (Filmmaker) /50 (Platform)
- Unlike iTunes and Amazon VOD, Netflix’s Watch Instantly service does not pay “per turn.” Instead, they pay a license fee for your film’s Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) rights — usually for one or two years. So, Netflix can stream your film to their subscribers as often as they wish during the term of your agreement, in exchange for the license fee Netflix pays for that term.
So I want you to get ready to have your mind blown. Enjoy my conversation with Nick Soares. Transciption Below
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- FREE VOD Self Distribution eBook
- Distribber Facebook
- Distribber Twitter
- This is Meg – Feature Film
- Hulu Plus
- FilmConvert – (10% OFF – CODE: HUSTLE)
- Hollywood Film & Television Directing Masterclass (EXCLUSIVE 50% OFF)
- Directing Actors Master Course – (30% OFF – CODE: HUSTLE)
- Get Your Film on Netflix, Hulu & Amazon & Keep 100% off the Revenue – Distribber
- Hollywood Camera Work: Mastering High-End Blocking and Staging (30% OFF – CODE: HUSTLE)
- Werner Herzog’s Filmmaking MasterClass
- Aaron Sorkin Screenwriting Master Class
- FreeFilmBook.com (Download Your FREE Filmmaking Audio Book)
- INDIE FILM SYNDICATE Filmmaking Community
- IFH’s Online Film School
- Six Secrets to get into Film Festivals for FREE!
Please Note: Distribber is a sponsor of the show. I only promote products and services I’ve used and believe in and this company checks off all of those requirements and more. Power to the filmmaker!
BONUS: TOP TEN Online Filmmaking Courses
- How to Shoot & Direct an Improvised Feature Film in 24 Hours (Online Course)
- Werner Herzog’s Filmmaking MasterClass
- Filmmaking Hacks: Filmmaking Master Course $10 SALE
- Directing Actors Film Workshop
- USC Film School’s ONLY Online Course: Directing the Actor $10 SALE
- Film Lighting MasterClass $10 SALE
- Recording Sound for Indie Film $10 SALE
- The Art of Micro-Budget Filmmaking
- Cinematography MasterClass $10 SALE
- Film Festival Hacks: Submit Like a Pro $10 SALE
- Self-Distributing Your Film Online
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Welcome my Indi film hustlers to another episode of the Indi film hustle podcast I am your humble host ALEX FERRARI. Today’s show is sponsored by Distributor if you guys are trying to get your movies or feature films or even short on to Netflix Holo Google Play iTunes Fandangle’s or any of the major distributors finally let you in without having to go through a traditional distributor and you keep 100% of the revenues and your rights.
So if you want more information head on over to https://indiefilmhustle.com/sellmyfilmhttps://indiefilmhustle.com/sellmyfilm
this show is also sponsored by Hollywood Camera Work. You guys are interested in how to direct actors and become an actor’s director Hollywood Camera Works has developed an amazing master course called Directing Actors and it is almost thirty hours and I have taken this course and it is by far the most comprehensive directing actors course I have ever seen.
So if you want to get access to this course head over to Hollywood Camera Work.com and use the coupon code hustle to get 30% off, that’s Hollywood Camera Works.com and use the coupon code hustle.
So today guys we have a very special treat on the show today but, I want to talk about the topic of our show today is self distribution and the insane world of trying to get your movie out there for the audiences in the world to see, before you only had the options to go to a distributor and have an agreement and maybe you get paid maybe you won’t get paid who knows and that is still very much the truth today.
Those are the kind of deals that are out there especially for the low budget not big you know big stars big documentary kind of films which are the majority of films out there, so you know me I always like companies and services that give power to the people that’s why I am a big fan of Black magic cameras Sony cut Givenchy these are soft ware’s and tools for film makers that have been brought down and priced so much that they give power to the film makers and I am all about empowering filmmakers to do and to be able to survive a thrive make a sustainable living in this business.
So when I discovered a company called Distribber and as you have you heard in the last few episodes they have become a sponsor of this show I reached out to them and I wanted to work with them because they it is just insane.
I am going through this right now with (3:25) you know this is a very small movie it has a cast that is recognizable without question so we have a leg up if you will we have faces that people recognize so distributors really that I have spoken to really don’t really know what to do with it.
We will be premiering soon at a festival I will be releasing that information soon but after we go through the festival circuit what kind of distribution can I expect for a small movie like this to make, so I reached out to Distribber and what these guys do as I said earlier in the thing is they give the power back to the people you can submit directly to Netflix iTunes all of these companies for a small fee a really small fee and just to get a shot at it and you can self distribute it yourself you don’t need to go to a distributor it does work sometimes it’s not always going to be that way you have to have an audiences you need to know what to do you need to know how to focus that audience that’s how self distribution really works is if you can generate some sort of audience.
If you have been able to generate an audience through crown funding through your email list through your platforms you tube whatever self distributing is something that definitely worked for you and Distribber is that company so I got NICK SOARES …who is the CEO and founder of Distribber to come on the show and really drop some major knowledge bombs on the tribe and NICK SOARES and I are going to be doing some very cool stuff on the journey of this is NICK SOARES because I am officially going to be using Distribber to distribute this is Meg and I am going to show you the entire process of what happens to this is Meg going through the Distribber pipe line and seeing what happens.
How our sales are what our strategies are going to be we are going to be doing a lot of that stuff coming up in the next few months and as I probably towards the quarter of twenty seventeen because it does take time to get all this stuff set up so we will be bring you all that information, but I want to bring NICK SOARES on the show because NICK SOARES is a film maker himself.
He got really screwed by a bunch of distributers on his first few films and decided to change to make it and make a difference and another way around it and that’s when he decided to open up Distribber and help film makers and as a bonus I got NICK SOARES to let me have for the Indi film Hustle try basically a dossier a little eBook on self distribution.
A free eBook on self distribution on kind of educating you on the work as it is today so all you have to do is to go over to indifilm.com/selfdis that’s indifilm.com/selfdis and you can download that free eBook there so please enjoy my conversation with NICK SOARES.
I would like to welcome to welcome to the show NICK SOARES man thank you for coming on sir.
NICK SOARES: Hey thank you so much I appreciate it.
ALEX FERRARI: So you obviously the CEO of Distribber and also Go Digital how does that work Go Digital is the mother company.
NICK SOARES: Yes so Go Digital Inc is the parent company and we own a coupe brands and distributor is one of those brands so yes it is a brand of our distribution model.
ALEX FERRARI: So how did you get into the film distribution game?
NICK SOARES: So it is an interesting story but I’ll try and sum it up. In high school I tore both my ECL’s my left and right ECL’s playing high school football and because I wasn’t able to play I was really board and I would grab my parents video camera and just go out and start you know producing goofy videos with all my buddies and slowly it turned into this passion I have to try and actually create a story.
It started will understanding the technology and back i the day you had a home video camera it shot you know sixty frames a second I was very frustrated on why it didn’t look like you know batman you know what I mean.
ALEX FERRARI: A twenty four P really help that a lot.
NICK SOARES: Exactly you know exactly what I am about to get into this is kind of right about when internet was actually becoming big.
ALEX FERRARI: So strange for people listening to say, so internet was never, hasn’t it always been here, like no, it has not.
NICK SOARES: So I had a lot of access to the internet you know using Google so I was always ask Google these questions like why these films look like this and why camera look like this and why and it was really through the technology why film looks like film that I kind of fell in love with it and then graduated high school in 2003 and was very lucky got an internship at Universal Studios.
I work for free for nine months just kind of helping around on set with production from the back log and I just fell in love with it more and I was ready to go do my own you know I started out these friend videos you know slap stick goofy non story videos and then the passion just grew, grew and after the internship finished.
One of my bosses said hey I am going to give an opportunity to go make a move and I took it so I had to do everything though I raised the money.
ALEX FERRARI: This was what year by the way?
NICK SOARES: This was 2004 right, so this is the year after, oh, oh I forgot to explain what was the kicker the reason why we were able to come in and just do this ourselves was and I don’t know if you remember this the Panasonic PBX 100.
ALEX FERRARI: The 100 Acer is the world plus if we are going to get nobody had the B because the B just came out and no one got it the 100A the 100 was good but the 100A was the work horse and that’s what I shot my little short film Broken on.
NICK SOARES: Really so that’s what I shot my first feature on so because that technology came out we felt comfortable being able to shot a low budget movie you know you only get that 24 frames a second it still wasn’t an film.
ALEX FERRARI: It was gorgeous man, it was gorgeous I love that camera.
NICK SOARES: You know but it did the job so when that camera came out we took advantage of it and so we went out and we produced a low budget horror film because that’s what we had heard get the vision and make some money.
So my first movie was Ghost Game and we went to AFM got distribution go the film out to Blockbuster video Best Buy and we were so excited but we never got paid you now.
ALEX FERRARI: What distributers not paid! No stop it.
NICK SOARES: No silly me I should have learned a lesson but there were not tools back then no information hey you either get a deal from Lions Gate one of the big guys or we had to go with one of these people you fond know who say they are going to give it up here or and a lot of them can but they just dot pay so instead of learning which again was hard to learn.
I just did that over and over so for seven years I produced five feature films and every time well it was nice,
ALEX FERRARI: To produce but not making any money.
NICK SOARES: Yes it was nice producing and you know on set making the movies and being able to edit was just a blast but you know it gets depressing when it is zero dollars of hundreds of thousands of dollars spent you know never came back not even a penny.
ALEX FERRARI: So how did you keep making mo vies when you were not being able to be profitable from the one before.
NICK SOARES: It was like you know a very supportive family.
ALEX FERRARI: I could see that.
NICK SOARES: You know it has been hard you know it was very hard to not be able to pay these people back and just getting out of pure frustration and after talking to other film maker friend hey that happen to me too my films were here and I understand that there were films that just don’t make it they just don’t get to the market place they don’t generate revenue that I get that like that happen.
ALEX FERRARI: Most of them don’t, most don’t.
NICK SOARES: Right and one of my films didn’t make it anywhere it was that bad so you know no hard feelings there but it was really the films that had the exposure and were out there and you know there was transactions going on those were the frustrating part and no matter how much the film made.
I produced a film called CULT you know we Terrent Manning Rachel Minor low budget film but it was all over the place and we got a statement in that said you know it was our largest statement it had generated you know one point five million dollars and with one point five fifty in expenses. That was the trigger for me I knew something was wrong and I wanted to try and do something.
So after talking to my friends and it is all happening to them I decided to spot producing films and try and fix this because I have always been an entrepreneur and was excited to try and fix it so started my very first distribution company, it was a complete failure not like a failure, failure just nobody knew about me nobody knew who I was nobody knew anything so I never got a film.
I started this distributing company and never signed anybody on and I didn’t know what I was doing either so I don’t blame anybody and the short of the story now I might be, sorry if I am kind of varying off that’s how I got into the distribution game.
Eventually I acquired a distributor from Indie GoGo because I knew based on the model that’s what I wanted because I was creating a company where it was a split, a rev share and it wasn’t what I wanted to do I wanted to take it a step further I heard about this company called Distribber film makers keep 100% of the revenue it was exactly the tool I wish I had back in 2004 and so to their credit they sold me the company and based on the vision I had and my history in wanting to change the world and you know just been scaling it up and pushing to empower film makers and as long as my focus is on empowering film makers I notice that everything keeps working.
ALEX FERRARI: That’s very awesome now NICK SOARES, how do you feel distribution has changed in the last five years or so?
NICK SOARES: I am out of touch with this one but five years ago there was really two options right, there was if you ever got picked up by the studio or had to use you know a random company that you know you weren’t really aware of and the chance of getting paid from them are very, very slim.
So you know you come today with tools like Distribber and democratization has happened right we have removed the middle man from making a decision for the film maker because what Distribber does it allows us the platform to decide if they want to take the film or not rather than having someone say yes or no before that happens. So over the past years I would say it wasn’t democratized and like this.
ALEX FERRARI: So exactly how distributer works can you explain the details of it.
NICK SOARES: Yes so it works exactly how I wanted it to work like I said back in 2004 where I wish I had I wish I could go to a website place where I wanted to be send my materials get there and get paid so basically.
ALEX FERRARI: Amazing because there is no other business in the world where you make a product and you go to sell it and you don’t make money off the product like really rarely other than the music industry maybe, but seriously if you make a bottle of beer you sell the bottle of beer and you return that and you get the money from the company but the film industry is lie you make a movie and more likely you are not going to make any money off that product and it makes no sense there is no stability. It is very frustrating.
NICK SOARES: So frustrating so that what you just said was my drive right to change that so Distribber is a check out page right you go on you submit some basic information you select the platforms you want you check out you upload your access we get them on the platforms you selected if not you get a refund and then 100% of the money goes to the client.
We do charge two hundred and twenty five dollars a year for accounting so I just want to make sure that’s clear so if you make one hundred thousand dollars we are going to deduct two hundred and twenty five bucks at the end of the year.
ALEX FERRARI: So you can go on your website and see what your movies are making on a daily basis right?
NICK SOARES: Yes so any platform that offers day to day sales or any sort of data whether it is monthly or not we are able to tie into their APR that they offer and feed that to the filmmakers dash board, filmmaker can log in every day and see what he is selling on iTunes so to answer your question yes it is an exciting product we have been working on.
ALEX FERRARI: So now what are the platforms you have access to.
NICK SOARES: a lot so good digital which is the parent company we hold just about every deal there is for every major platform so we have an iTunes deal, Netflix, Who Do deal, Xbox deal just about everywhere you can think of we hold a deal and can deliver too.
Now there is only about 10 of those on the check out page because I am big on collecting data first and making sure that if I have a product on our pick up page that film makers should at least get a return so there is as we find out which platform performs the best we add those constantly to our checkout page so we hold about thirty or fort contracts with different platforms and they constantly rotate based on performers.
ALEX FERRARI: So I was talking to Jason Brewbakers the other day about it and he was like yes, you could you have access to put it on actual VOD or on a Comcast or Charter or something like that VOD but you don’t put it on the front page because the chances they are picky about what they pick so if you put it on the front page every film maker will just start putting money and I am going to get it on VOD but that is not really fair it will be deceptive.
So you are being fair to the filmmaker look guys after we see the movie come in maybe that’s a conversation we will have down the line but it is not something you can advertise right off the bat.
NICK SOARES: And that’s exactly what we do right, so we have the platforms and then we have the data base our employees access at Distribber and in that data base once a film is submitted we actually review every film if the film posed a good fit for cable VOD we reach out.
ALEX FERRARI: Because I think this is going to make you some money on cable VOD and I think they are going to accept or vice versa depending on the star power or whatever kind of movie it is. Now do you find that documentaries do a little better than narrative or vice versa or is it even.
NICK SOARES: It is a great question it is there is a lot of variables to that question right because there is multiple platforms different audiences watch different genre and stuff so I will say that documentaries without data documentaries perform very well on iTunes they perform well on Amazon.
They perform okay you know on like a Voodoo or Xbox but yes there is a lot of data points and variables into that question so my basic entry will say yes they perform very well on specific platforms.
ALEX FERRARI: And you are also now getting into short films is that correct.
NICK SOARES: Yes we secured a couple deals to release short films on iTunes Amazon had already been there but iTunes was a big one we can deliver short films to Netflix they are just highly curated and we noticed that some time it takes a pretty big award to get a film on to Netflix.
ALEX FERRARI: How about star power does that help at all?
NICK SOARES: Yes it helps but star power with a bad store or a bad movie it doesn’t star power with a good story and high quality production yes.
ALEX FERRARI: So Netflix is accepting shorts now but they are very, very picky.
NICK SOARES: Yes, you know they actually asked us to hand the Oscar shorts for Netflix so we actually delivered tall of the Oscar winning shorts to Netflix last year.
ALEX FERRARI: Got it now there is a big myth about Netflix I want to kind of talk to you about that I have heard many, many distributers including Jason tell me that Netflix should be the last stop on the life cycle of the film because once it goes on Netflix you kind of cut yourself off from other revenue streams from other platforms like on iTunes for you paying them renting because so many people on Netflix, Netflix should be the very end of that run, is that wise.
NICK SOARES: Yes that is definitely not a myth that’s a fact you always want to save for last that’s a fact you always want to save S VOD for last right.
ALEX FERRARI: S VOD can you explain what that is.
NICK SOARES: Subscription video on demand so any sort of platform that offers subscription service you want to save those last and that’s what we start dipping into a weathering strategy and that’s probably another interview we can do for the hour but the typical windowing strategy keeps SVOD last, now keep in mind there is two variables here there is actual release of the film.
Now you want to have the release of the film to release on SVOD last so you can monetize and this is just generally speaking there is a lot of to do with strategy and it can vary, but you want to monetize you audience transaction fully because if you release on iTunes and Netflix the same day a lot of devises have those two platforms right beside each other.
Say Apple TV a good decent chunk of these people will take the five seconds it takes to go and look on Netflix before they spend five ninety nine on a movie and see if it is o Netflix for free so to avoid that you want to try and monetize on iTunes and or any of these platforms first. Once you kind of, once that hockey stick kind of drop down and you plateau then you monetizes with SVOD sale.
ALEX FERRARI: Got it, so what would be s standard window strategy for just a normal film with maybe a couple of name stars that happens to win an award or two.
NICK SOARES: Yea you know sixty to a ninety day traditional window is what we seen have been producing successful and what I am saying there is two variables at the release that’s the actual release every movie going live on Netflix but it doesn’t mean you can’t secure a SVOD deal first, right.
So it is entirely possible to submit and pitch to Netflix first right, if they want it again they are highly curated but there are also one of the most empowering platforms out there I should say you can put it in Netflix first and if they want it to secure a SVOD deal right and through the negotiation carve out a transactional wind so you secure your SVOD deal and then you secure a sixty to ninety day window so that’s means is you can log your films on all transactional platforms monetize it.
Those first sixty to ninety days which it typically by that time it plateau you already have your SVOD deal now so it goes live on Netflix and you start collecting your money from Netflix.
ALEX FERRARI: No what and that’s the one thing I have not heard of I heard a couple of price points how does Netflix work on a general on a range like on a Indie film do they pay a flat buy out is it for a few years do they renew, how does that work.
NICK SOARES: So Netflix typically will secure license fee and payout the term of the contract so let’s say they say we want it for two years what they will do is they will unless I am just going to use an even number not saying that this is what they pay because I am not allowed to say how much they pay out but let’s just say they secure title for two years at a hundred thousand dollars.
Once your title goes live the first quarter they will send out a check because what they are going to do is they are going to split up that hundred thousand first over two years so every quarter over two years they are going to pay out that hundred thousand dollars.
ALEX FERRARI: So, in other words it’s just broken down into payments a payment basically.
NICK SOARES: Yes and you know I can’t go into details but I can say this you know over the last two years in my opinion Netflix is one of the most empowering platforms for independent film makers I have ever seen.
ALEX FERRARI: And they are buying a good amount of it, in your experience are they buying a good amount of the films you know if they have stars and win awards and things like that.
NICK SOARES: It varies you know I would categorize it like that I would say they are buying good content.
ALEX FERRARI: So if it is a good movie they will get it.
NICK SOARES: If it is a good movie and it fits their audience there isn’t a reason why they wouldn’t want to buy it, so you know obviously lately their focus has been on producing originals and this is me I am not speaking for them this is just from my experience from my perspective but they have been very empowering to independent film makers.
ALEX FERRARI: Now what do you think of Ho Loos and the Amazons of the world as well for Indie films.
NICK SOARES: Yeah you know I think they are all trying to compete there is obviously going to be more platforms out there I think everyone is thinking there is going to maybe three or four top ones that people are all willing to subscribe to and so I think they are trying competing to be in the top three and top four to get the majority market share so it is great time right now for SPOD competition is so great because as these people come up and want to compete well it really comes down to whomever going to pay the most, right and again just going back to this example if Netflix says hey, we will give you a hundred grand you can tell Amazon hey they are going to give me a hundred thousand for this title SPOD and Amazon can then aim hirer. It is a great time right now for SPOD world to make some money.
ALEX FERRARI: Now what is, what would you suggest a marketing strategy for would be for an Indie film to get the most out of a platform like Distribber because you open the door, but just because you are at the place doesn’t mean that just because you build the field that they will come so you have given us access you opened the door for us basically with these major platforms but what kind of marketing strategies would you suggest.
NICK SOARES: That’s a great question, and there are a lot of ways to answer that but I would say just have a marketing strategy right.
ALEX FERRARI: Step one think about marketing.
NICK SOARES: Yes that’s step one you know these platforms they want these films and the content creators who created the films they want them to have some sort of idea on how they are going to get people to the platform to purchase because each platform they want to create sales, sorry I lost my train of thought.
So you know have a marketing strategy, I can’t go it would be a long conversation we can create and maybe we can do another review where we actually go over another marketing strategy is and how you do one, but honestly to answer the question first have a marketing strategy and if people need help with that I am happy to help going forward.
ALEX FERRARI: So you guys aren’t just the gatekeepers that open up the gate you actually help film makers to get the most to get the best bank for their buck.
NICK SOARES: Yes we do that in multiple ways we strategize right it is all about strategy so as packages come through as people select certain packages on the website and they come through we review each one especially Jason, Jason Burbaker is very good at this and we strategize with them on how to make the most money, right for the amount they spend.
ALEX FERRARI: Got, now can you please, please, please tell people the importance of building an audience prior to self-distributing.
NICK SOARES: It is extremely important I would say it is number one it’s not you are just going to betting on the organic audience right ad betting on organic audience is a tough one and I wish I could whiteboard right now but this is just I am such a whiteboard guy but this is just audio so I am trying to think how to visualize this.
Yes audience I will give you a couple of success stories you know let’s talk about resurrection of Jacob Snake, they had a decent audience size that was they were hungry for the content right and they were very smart with their strategy a lot of people un like Indie Gover on Kick starter they will raise a ton of money but as a perk they will give the movie away for free right and that’s a big mistake when you talking about film distribution.
You want people coming hungry to acquire the content if your audience have already seen the content then the chances of then going to spend money is a lot lower you definitely going to have those die hard guys that is going to spend money because they love you but you know you want these people to be have the audience and want to have them hungry to buy your content.
So you release them on the platforms you create you get all these unites sold and a lot of the ESPV platforms you know a lot of their and just total guess again from data a lot of their alga rhythms is based on units sold right, so you get those units sold you kind of come up from the weeds and you start picking up naturally organic audience and you know you created a snowball effect
You have your people buying you now have organic people buying your content you created a snowball where you just like wow this movie is really selling and you know the platform kind of bumps it up and if the movie is any good then it will stay on top for a while and that is where the real money is.
If the movie is not good then you know it will fall back down the idea is to get it up to the top and then the fastest way to do that is to have an audience that is hungry to buy your content.
ALEX FERRARI: So I heard that with resurrection of Jake the Snake because they were like number one or number two on iTunes, right.
NICK SOARES: They were number one in the dark section for like two weeks.
ALEX FERRARI: Which is massive I mean so just being number one on the dark session you are going to get a tremendous amount of sales because that.
NICK SOARES: They generated six figures.
ALEX FERRARI: That’s insane but I heard that one of the keys specifically iTunes is if you can get a great amount of sales right when it launches that helps you boost up in the rankings correct and it doesn’t have to be like thousands could be hundred but if you do it quickly ad fast it helps you out with the rankings is that true?
NICK SOARES: That is that is, and I am always causcious in giving this information out I never want people to abuse the system we want it to be a good experience for everybody, everybody including the platform and so I never encourage anyone to like just like sit there and buy the content get real people to buy the content let the system work naturally but yes if you can generate a certain amount of sales in a short period of time it is going to help boost you up to the top right and when you get to the top like I said you start hitting organic audience and when I say organic audience.
Those are the people sitting down at home after work opening up their Apple TV just looking at top ten right.
ALEX FERRARI: And see what they want to watch tonight.
NICK SOARES: That’s where you access millions and millions of users, a lot of people think that just because you get on iTunes you are in the market place I call it the village right you get into the village but if you can get your audience focus on purchasing your content you have a better chance of getting up to the real market place.
ALEX FERRARI: Got you, got you now there was another film that you worked on call Food Matters a few years back correct.
NICK SOARES: Yes Distribber had released that film and that was you know it was prodigy on how to build your business.
ALEX FERRARI: These guys have built I studied how they built this they build this small empire off one small documentary about food.
NICK SOARES: I mean go to their website and study it.
ALEX FERRARI: Its insane haven’t they become like a distributor now.
NICK SOARES: They I actually think they not a distributor but a platform, right. I think it is food matters TV and they have like almost like a Netflix where people can subscribe and watch that but this is where the entrepreneurship comes in they are standing a lot of factors understanding what a lead is understanding what a funnel is understanding how to monetize those people and understanding how to direct them to products for sale.
Gosh I forgot his name the director he has come to our office about two years ago but I have forgotten his name but, James, James he is a really smart guy and I think a lot of film makers can learn from him because you know this is I think the dream is to create a business do film making and make money and make a living doing it that’s all, tell me if I am wrong but that’s what we want to do right.
We want to create a product make some money go out and make another product.
ALEX FERRARI: That’s a thing a lot of film makes everyone gets caught up in that whole entourage of Hollywood millions of dollars kind of life style, but that’s not the reality by any stretch but imagine if you could pull in a hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year and do what you love and make a living or wherever that number might be.
You know we live here in LA so I live in LA and depending on where you live you got to make a certain amount of money to survive but I think the food matters guys live in Australia right.
NICK SOARES: Yes.
ALEX FERRARI: Right so their definition of what it take to make a living is another I know Joe Swanberg you know when he was starting out he was like I was making fifty sixty thousand dollars a year selling movies and making movies and he goes I am good and that’s the dream so it is not about and now he is making millions I am assuming I don’t know his business his taxes but I am assuming he is doing he just got a Netflix show.
It is just that consistency but if you could just make money doing what you love to do even if it is just making a living.
NICK SOARES: And just to kind of go off that you know just a quick bit of advises you know don’t give up a lot of people will get discourage and just quit and my thing is just keep going you will find a way especially with the tools now a days you know like Distribber there are ways to make this happen we are you know empowering so may film makers now that are actually making a living using our product and eventually you will become a master at it and at that point you know that’s where you start making a killing so just don’t give up.
ALEX FERRARI: It is about the long term it is about the long gain and that’s where a lot of film makers think they are just going to I always use the analogy of base ball which is like everyone goes up to the plate and they want to hit a home run every time but the thing is to get as many turns up to the that plate as you can and singles are just fine because the more singes you get the more eventually you will make some runs and occasionally you will hit a home run but you got to get up there and just understand that it takes time.
NICK SOARES: Exactly right
ALEX FERRARI: It takes a lot and lot of time now what is the do you mind talking about what the cost is so people will in the audience know what the cost is generally speaking for a distributor.
NICK SOARES: Sure not a problem so everything is there on our website as far as cost but you know Netflix is nine fifty to access Netflix given the example we had a film maker two weeks ago because it takes about two weeks for them to get back to us with an offer he came to us and say hey this company wanted to do a fifty, fifty split because they wanted to be confident that they can get my film on Netflix and he heard about Distribber and you know what I am going to try this and if Netflix say no I will get a refund.
So he came to our office first just to check us out and
ALEX FERRARI: To make sure you are real.
NICK SOARES: He is like yet let’s do it and so he paid the nine fifty and we got him and SVOD offer I won’t say from which platform for sixty five thousand dollars you know it wasn’t a big, big chunk of money but that’s sixty five thousand dollars.
ALEX FERRARI: That’s obscene.
NICK SOARES: You know he would have had he gone with traditional distributor that wanted it he would he paid thirty thousand dollars for a distribution fee rather than the nine fifty, right so with the platforms we have we do charge the flat fee and that’s for process for quality control it helps the time for everybody working on the project to get it out there but if the platform say no we give a refund of one hundred and twenty dollars.
ALEX FERRARI: So basically you risk a hundred and twenty dollars to see if you can get into the major platforms of the world.
NICK SOARES: Per platforms.
ALEX FERRARI: Per platform but still that’s the risk that’s the dice you roll and you have a package deal as well you put all you get X amount of platforms for X amount of dollars and so on.
NICK SOARES: Base on how you select the platforms you want or you can do all platforms I think we offer like fifty percent off if you select all the platforms because there is a what we call a mezzanine file which we can duplicate which saves money which means a film maker can save money so yes.
ALEX FERRARI: And so you also handle the files getting everything ready the QC making sure that te image quality is at a certain level,
NICK SOARES: We handle everything
ALEX FERRARI: So real quick because I am a post guy I have been with post for twenty years I have seen my share of QC reports do you guys handle how does the formats deal with QC because I know traditional distributors they just go frigging crazy with the dam QC reports you know oh this is wrong here this is wrong and I am not talking about big monster things like you know a broom hits the actor in the head that kind of stuff but it is so stupid and with certain things it is just a way I think to make more money by charging but, how intense are the platforms because I never dealt directly with Netflix or Amazon or Holo or those guys I always deal with Distributors so how intense is it as far as QC reports are concern and what’s the process like.
NICK SOARES: It is really intense so I would love to say it’s not but these platforms are the ones that create the rules and they are you know example think of iTunes you know iTunes is Apple, Apple is a hardware company and when people watch content on their hardware if there is any sort of issue with the movie whether it is inner lacing whether it is a glitch a digital hitch it can cause a player to stop working.
They are going to the audience the consumer is going to blame the hardware, so what they do is they have these just I wouldn’t ridiculous but they are
ALEX FERRARI: Stringent
NICK SOARES: Stringent quality standards and it’s not the quality a lot of people think of it’s not quality of the story or the movie it is the actual access it’s the actual the quality of the file, we handle.
ALEX FERRARI: That’s fair enough that’s fair though, the stuff I was talking about was more like oh there is a cable in the shot or it is something so small that you wouldn’t.
NICK SOARES: I never really run into that what we run into you know are digital artifacts nothing visually we haven’t had a rejection if a boon kind of comes in the frame you know from my experience I haven’t seen iTunes say there is a boom in the frame I think what your experience was the distributor was being that it was in the frame and they wanted you to shoot it, but the platforms aren’t like that.
ALEX FERRARI: So then basically It is all about the technically aspect which is completely fair and fine you know like make sure your progress file is tight make sure there is no issues with it make sure the sound is good everything is still being delivered in stereo or is in 51 as well.
NICK SOARES: No everything is in 51 definitely if you have 51 do 51 if no 51 exists you can so stereo still, they prefer 51 and you technical issues on assets is probably the number one reasons why some of the films don’t go live I think some people think it is the platform saying no but believe it or not it is actually aside from Netflix which is highly curated it is actually the quality of the assets but we really good at, Distribber is so good at fixing those for the film maker but sometimes it’s so much lack of knowledge in the industry that we are actually are trying to educate film makers more on how to prop they bios and so we do.
Once a quarter we do like a take away day in conjunction with Sun Dance Festival you know we blast out to everyone and we say look we are going to meet here on this day there is going to be free pizza and free beer come sit and learn how to prep your movie for distribution.
ALEX FERRARI: Oh Jesus.
NICK SOARES: So I think the next one is November it is either November or December I will let you and I would love for you to come and see what one of our tech days are like.
ALEX FERRARI: Are you going to be at Sun Dance this year.
NICK SOARES: Yes I am.
AEX: Okay great I am going there hopefully Meg will be in one of those two festivals but if they are not we are going anyway just for the fun of going to the festivals because they are so much fun.
NICK SOARES: We will be there we were there, we were there last year and the year before we partnered with Sun Dance big fan of them they have empowered a lot of film makers and that’s what we like so we will be there the whole time.
ALEX FERRARI: Perfect, so I was just really curious about that technical aspect because a lot of people get all caught up with that the one thing I learned too because now Amazon video direct allows you to go directly without even going through a service like you they actually open the gates.
NICK SOARES: Which is wonderful.
ALEX FERRARI: But there is a little bit of a hiccup there because I put my short films up on there and it took me a few..and I am a post guy I am a tech guy and they are you right stringent like.
NICK SOARES: You know I can tell you this if I could have my way I would the whole point of Distribber is to democratize everything right is to get rid of the middle man but because the platforms don’t allow it you know Distribber has to exist if we can have our way we wouldn’t be in existence like because iTunes will work directly with the film makers Netflix would work directly with the film makers but that’s not the way it is so there will always have to have a Distribber in place to let them in and allow them to keep 100% of the revenue I totally lost the.
ALEX FERRARI: The Amazon video store I was telling you about.
NICK SOARES: That’s what I was get at thank you, when we had that launch it was really exciting and we would always just direct people to go there and do it but what we found is they were having so many problems with the submission process you know and these people value their time which you know of course respectable because it would take some people six to ten hours just to get through it and because Amazon allows everyone to do it we now just offer the delivery service.
We charge I think it is like two hundred bucks and we will deliver it for you into your own account.
ALEX FERRARI: They are literally just doing it for you.
NICK SOARES: We just do it for them right and they get paid directly you know Ideally that’s what we will be doing if we could democratize a step further and film makers could do this through iTunes and all the other places and we could just be the technical delivery partner right and then iTunes swill pay the film makers directly Holo will pay the filmmaker directly that’s kind of the end goal.
ALEX FERRARI: But I think it just makes sense on these platforms not to have to deal with millions and millions of people they rather deal.
NICK SOARES: There is a few that they know you are exactly right.
ALEX FERRARI: That they are going to do that but the biggest problem that I have is submitting to Amazon was close captioning, the lovely captioning and I tell you I had to pie through it three or four times because they were just like oh you can’t leave any blank space like souvenirs no noise or there is no body talking you got sound effect whatever I was like oh my god this is such a headache I pt four short films up and now I have to and Indie Film school there as well and every time now that I got my close captioning guide on point now and now my video is like I figured it out.
It took a little time but man I have to I probably submitted it three or four times easily and it was with short films like some was short as five minutes some was long as twenty but I could only imagine it deal with a feature but it’s wonderful though I mean having access to basically there is no acquisition there is no, is it good enough to be on its like you just get on make sure these technical aspects are ready and it is good but Amazon does still do have buyers for SVOD correct.
NICK SOARES: Yes we have a deal with them to push some content and very similar to Netflix even though they actually pay for it so that’s something unique we have that a lot of people don’t have.
ALEX FERRARI: It is a license deal like that do you see any up and coming formats that might be making run of the big three that we should about.
NICK SOARES: So when I hear formats I think like.
ALEX FERRARI: Platforms, platforms I mean.
NICK SOARES: When I hear formats I think of Apple 4 risk 422 okay so just repeat the question really quick.
ALEX FERRARI: Obviously the big three right now are Netflix Holo and Amazon if I am correct right and then there are a couple of other one if Rogue and those other guys are there anyone that we should keep an eye on for like you know these guys might make a run for the top just keep an eye on them.
NICK SOARES: You know that’s a great question there is quite a few there is a ton of SVOD platforms and I honestly don’t know which one are going to be you know, from my perspective I am keeping my eye on all of them.
ALEX FERRARI: It is just another revenue stream it’s just another every on that pops us is another revenue stream that could.
NICK SOARES: On the SVOD side there it is about competition right, it is whoever going to pay the most gets it, it is not like some transactional where you know whomever platform has the most organic users on the SVOD side it is competitive because if Netflix licenses it for SVOD guess why Amazon is not getting it period.
You know what I mean so it is very competitive which is great for the film maker, honestly I think just focus on top dogs right now and we can help you do that we can with our knowledge of the industry we can help you chose which one kind of fight over your movie ad we will have to touch based later one and see who has come up and have a discussion on that.
ALEX FERRARI: Awesome now and where do you see film distribution in the next five years.
NICK SOARES: Let’s see here I would like to see it right I have already touch on this is full democratization but I don’t think that is going to happen because the platforms do deal do want to deal with just a few partners.
You know I think we are there I think we are at a great point right now where people can, I think distribution is there I think what needs to happen over the next five years is educational film maker side, right I really think distribution is in a good place right now next is education on the film maker side on how to monetize a movie correctly.
ALEX FERRARI: Which Chase and I have had this conversation it’s not the sexy side of filming it is not you can’t do it without as a producer friend of mine said show business is business is twice as many letters as the word show and there is a good reason for that there is a very good reason for that it isn’t sexy, but boy if you don’t know it you will make one movie and you done and you are back doing a day job that you hate or you can learn how to become a sustainable business and it is very doable it is do able.
So today when we start in 2004, 2005 making our movies with VBX’s it was semi do able then if you have the budget super low maybe but now you could borrow a red and shoot high quality images and get some star power in there and do some good stories and keep ad wit options like Distribber, I mean it’s pretty I mean it is pretty amazing.
NICK SOARES: The tools are there now it is just about education and everybody was right education on the distribution side obviously producing a high quality product is important that will come first but them just education on the distribution side it has never been a better time for film making in my opinion than right now.
ALEX FERRARI: How and just from your perspective and this is just a side perspective what do you think the studios think about all this SVOD and you know the Netflix and the Holos and the Amazon’s of the world and, because basically Amazon and Netflix came into Sun Dance and basically just were the bullies.
They just bought everything and they out paid everybody for everything,
NICK SOARES: Sorry are you there?
ALEX FERRARI: Yes it was pretty obscene what they did should what do you feel about the studio I am asking to tell me how studios feel what’s your impression of that because it was pretty amazing to see what the prices that was being bought for things.
NICK SOARES: At first I think you were going to ask what the studios think of me and what we are doing here at Distribber and I was going to say.
ALEX FERRARI: That a good question too.
NICK SOARES: We have a big target on our back let’s me just say.
ALEX FERRARI: Why is that let me ask you a question why is that.
NICK SOARES: Because we are taking money out of their pocket and putting it in the film makers pocket.
ALEX FERRARI: Because the studios as distributors normally
NICK SOARES: Right there were studios that One Range 15 a film we just released last month that we actually did a call and he is very open about his numbers, let me just say this the studios won the title he found out about Distribber get on iTunes generated a quarter of a million dollars in the first two weeks and that’s money out of the studios pocket and so we have a big target on our back because they don’t like that right you know we are democratizing film.
ALEX FERRARI: You are a disruptor.
NICK SOARES: Right, I don’t know what they are thinking but I think it is awesome what Netflix is doing because if you just kind of strip everything away they are coming in and they are paying more than everyone else, period that’s all that matters to film makers right, and obviously there are some we heard the story about, what was that movie that didn’t want to sell to Netflix they sell to Fox for less.
ALEX FERRARI: Birth of every nation.
NICK SOARESS: So there are those variables I get it.
ALEX FERRARI: Which didn’t do well at the box office anyway you know it just got released last week it dies it was a very poor purchase on Fox.
NICK SOARES: You know I don’t know what the studios are thinking but I am happy of what’s going on because before they would pay X amount and guess what Netflix would come and pay more period.
ALEX FERRARI; Yes I didn’t even remember a time when other than the old Army Weinstein days like when Harvey was going in to you know when Merry Max was a round heavily.
NICK SOARES: And you know one they get that lets say that before the Netflix time once they come in and they get that first chunk it is always to make money after that chunk of money.
AEX: That’s all they get.
NICK SOARES: They have the deductible so if you have a company coming in and paying you more then who cares, they will take that bigger chunk and that kind of leads into, I hear some I just want to touch on this a little bit because I hear people complain about Netflix not giving data I don’t think they have to right.
The reason you want data is to help you increase sales right and to make you a better film maker and platforms like iTunes they give you that but because Netflix is paying you they are buying their movie the right to release form their platform and they are paying you upfront they really don’t need to give you data right because no matter what you get you are not going to increase or decrease the amount of money you made.
So I just thought that I would throw that out there some people get upset that Netflix doesn’t release any data I just have to say they shouldn’t have to they are paying good money for your content.
ALEX FERRARI: It is pretty amazing honestly that Amazon and Holo and Netflix have done and all the other formats too but those are the big boys and Netflix being at the top of the heap at the moment I mean a little start up could, what is it HBO has I think like nine million subscribers and Netflix has eighty two million.
It like HBO man it frigging HBO and you know you are like what that.. and this is a side note too you know I always tell people don’t be Block Buster, don’t be Block Buster don’t think that you can’t be knocked off don’t get high on your horse always think what is coming down the pike and they have the opportunity to buy Netflix for fifty million bucks and they. You know isn’t it amazing though.
You and I are both similar vintages so we grew up with block buster we grew up with video stores and Block Buster had a brand that literally could up hold the streaming they could be Netflix by not only buying Netflix but they could have starred streaming they could have started the business model up but they were so stuck in this whole video store thing they couldn’t see three inches before their nose.
Same thing with Xerox and that wonderful operating system that apple you know they couldn’t see pass the copiers and so there is always these stories along the line but blockbusters it is one of those legendary stories of what a screw up.
So what are the I ask all my guest the same last two questions, this is my Oprah moment so prepare yourself what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether it is in life or in the film industry.
NICK SOARES: When to stop sending bad film to distribution contracts.
ALEX FERRARI: That’s an awesome answer.
NICK SOARES: It took the longest and the most money.
ALEX FERRARI: That’s a great lesson to earn because you are right signing bad distribution contracts.
NICK SOARES: And I kept thinking this one is great.
ALEX FERRARI: This is the one that is going change I am going to champs, it is like being in a bad relationship you just dating the wrong people.
NICK SOARES: That is exactly so that’s the one that took the longest to learn.
ALEX FERRARI: And the funniest thing is that speaking f bad distribution deals, I had a short film and I combined I had a bunch of short films and I combined them all into a anthology and called it Lipstick to bullets and I signed a distribution deal with a distributor a traditional distributor and they change the cover and they weren’t it was just like the standard sloppy stuff And I had some stars and stuff involved and for whatever reason I just felt like they were not doing their jobs and there was, something fell through and at the end of the day I had the right to pull everything away.
Because I didn’t cross a T somewhere and I did and the second I did that I started selling my movies again some of these movies are over a decade old I am making money with them on a daily basis still and it is because of things like what Distribbers is going and Amazon and creating your own distribution out let so it is about being an entrepreneur it is really about being an entrepreneur A film that mature however you would say it.
NICK SOARES: The money need to go to the film maker as soon as you start adding all of these people that takes a chunk before it gets back to the content creator the chances of them seeing anything is just reduces so much.
ALEX FERRARI: Alright now what are your three favorite films of all time?
NICK SOARES: Of all time so hopefully you don’t make fun of me here Brave heart, Equilibrium,
ALEX FERRARI: Wow that’s the one with Christian Bell right, the gunKata if I remember correctly
NICK SOARES: I love that movie not sure about that.
ALEX FERRARI: They use guns as fighting is that the one right.
NICK SOARES: Well it is all about the drugs that they had in their system they it was this drug that removed emotion and so it sound like you have to re watch it.
ALEX FERRARI: I haven’t seen it.
NICK SOARES: So Brave Heart Equilibrium and Minority Report.
ALEX FERRARI: I see that the last two I kind of see together Brave Heart is a little out of that.
NICK SOARES: You know Brave Heart was when I was a kid it just never left, but it being the way you know oh my goodness it just never left me it just always been one of my favorite movies so I know I told you someone is going to make fun of me.
ALEX FERRARI: No i have had people say the craziest movies on this show and it’s fine some people I had a cinematographer who I forgot one of the movies he said but his was enter the dragon, he is an ASC cinematographer and he said enter the dragon.
And I go why and he said because it was from when I was a kid and it was one of those movies and there is nothing wrong with it, it is an amazing movie was it one of the top ten movies of all time, no but it is a frigging awesome movie,
NICK SOARES: I would say the number one of those three would be Equilibrium I don’t know why it was just one of those awesome one last thing my number four it might throw you off more could I just say a fourth.
ALEX FERRARI: Sure of course.
NICK SOARES: Would be Fearless with Jet Lee.
ALEX FERRARI: Fearless with Jet Lee wow I see a theme.
NICK SOARES: So for your listeners but I want to know like why do I maybe your listeners like Equilibrium what is it I want to know if other people feel that way about that move or is it just me like, I think it is so awesome.
ALEX FERRARI: I got to go check that out again, so where can people find you?
NICK SOARES: My email I have a pretty small footprint on social I just keep that mainly for family but happy to give out my email and answer to any sort of questions.
ALEX FERRARI: I could put it on the show note you don’t have to say anything. NICK SOARES man thank you so much for being on the show man, I learned a lot today I asked a bunch of questions I wanted answer to so I appreciate it thanks again for being on the show and dropping some knowledge bombs.
NICK SOARES: My pleasure thank you for having me.