How About a Career in Film Distribution?
With the global appetite for watching new movies on Netflix and other sources, at an all-time high, film distribution is now playing an even more important requirement for the film industry.
However, in order to get a movie up and running, a movie producer will aim to sign a deal with a distributor often before filming begins. For them it is much easier to raise money for a film if they can prove to investors it will be shown in cinemas.
Of course, the job of a distributor is a lot more complex now, as many major productions must now rely on the income from online views and sales of DVD’S, and not just as I in the past from cinemas.
So, distribution not only includes swanky lunches with the boss of a large cinema chain, but a whole number of other elements.
So, could this perhaps be an exciting career move for you?
There are jobs in numerous departments, needing a variety of skill sets including. Sales to Acquisitions, PR to Technical and Design to Marketing to name a few.
Acquisition staff decide which films a distributor should sign, which can mean watching a lot of films and reading endless scripts.
Therefore, a knowledge of film and market trends is essential, but you will also need great communication skills to deal with film sales agents, who represent the studios trying to sell the film.
Then the distributors sales team take over, to negotiate with producers and film exhibitors. So here you would require a good head for numbers, as well as be a tough negotiator to grab the best deal.
Accountants and other administrative staff will also need to be on hand to make sure the numbers add up, and the company can make a profit.
Once the distribution deal is signed then the marketing staff need to make sure the film reaches the widest possible audience. So, they must know the right places to advertise in the right ways and to the right social group. They will work closely with their inhouse designers, who must use their creative skills to come up with posters and websites to promote the film.
And when we open the local paper or watch TV, the PR department needs to create the buzz for that movie, which could occasionally mean schmoozing with the stars at premieres.
But more often it means talking to numerous journalists on the phone or in meetings to convince them to cover the film.
And the final link in the chain are the technical staff make sure the films are actually delivered in the right format and quality to the exhibitors and theatre chains that have ordered them.
So, how do I get into film distribution?
If you think you are perhaps qualified to take on one of these roles, read on.
There are a range of qualifications you could study depending on what side of the business you are interested in.
Acquisition staff would find a media studies degree useful, and technical staff would be more likely to have a vocational qualification like a HND or foundation degree in film production.
Sales and marketing staff could benefit from A-levels in business studies or a marketing degree.
Other subjects like English literature or a social science will give you additional skills that could be used in some aspects of film distribution, like researching audiences and cinemas.
While a design apprenticeship or even a foundation course at a local art school will provide you with specific practical skills for that area.
It could also certainly help you if you could get some work experience too, and finally proving your love of film, will certainly assist you in getting through the door when you apply to distributors.
Good luck and maybe you will even bump into Brad Pitt or Jenifer Lawrence!