You made a movie, you finished editing it, now what do you do with it? Just put it on YouTube? From what I learned usually the order things happen is like this.
-Send it to festivals and see if it wins, what it wins, and what people have to say about it.
-Try to get a distribution or licensing deal
-Post it online
You can put your movie on YouTube or some video-sharing website first but some festivals won’t accept movies that are already available to the public, most don’t care but some of the larger festivals do. Why? Because then why would anyone go to the festival if they have the option to just watch at home on YouTube? It’s a marketing, business, thing. Its exclusivity and not allowing movies that are already on YouTube is a way to attract “better” “higher caliber” movies.
Movies that have more money on the line and that can legitimately make a profit, usually aren’t given away so easily. Think of it like this, if you spend $30,000 making a movie, do you want to put it on YouTube for free? That’s the rub. If you want your friends, the cast the crew, and other important people to watch your movie, you can upload it as a private password-protected video.
No two projects are alike and there is no one way to do it. What someone else can do, you might not be able to. What works for someone else might not work for you.
Public Screenings & Festivals
At this stage you can have a premiere at a movie theater, bar, or some kind of party, this is a public showing of the movie. If your movie is small and short it's ok! It’s a good chance for the cast and crew to see it together on a big screen.
This screening also doubles as a networking event. Even in the year 2021, the more theaters you can play it in, in your city or state or country, the better. However only having 1 is perfectly fine, renting the movie theater does cost money.
At the same time, you can be sending it to festivals! Submit it to appropriate festivals and categories and be sure to read the rules of the festival closely. Send to as many as you can and having things like BTS photos, bios of the cast and crew, a trailer, and other things can make people more interested in your film.
How To Make Money With Your Film, Distribution & Licensing
There is a lot I don’t know about making money with your film but ill explain what I do know.
One big thing I realized is that you have a better chance of getting attention if you have a feature film. Most distribution companies want feature-length films.
If an agent or distributor doesn’t approach you, you have to approach them. There are hundreds of distributors in the US and all you have to do is email them. Go to the company website or use IMDB pro, find the person in charge of acquisitions and tell them why they need your movie. Some of them might not respond, don’t take it personally, send it to as many as you can, be honest about your movie, and do this over several months to a year and you will find something.
The distribution company creates a contract with you and usually pays you for the legal rights to use your film, the payment can come as a one-time thing or be based on streaming or ticket sales.
If you can’t do this you can self-distribute. You can use Vimeo on Demand, your website, Amazon Prime, or a website like Sofi. These services allow you to sell your movie for a price you decide. These services are also available to everyone for free.
Amazon Prime video for example is available to anyone for free, meaning you don’t have to pay to put your movie on their site. You can put your movie on amazon prime video and make money off of it. I had a few people I don’t know watch my movie on Amazon prime video, I was able to get a few fans.
Out Of Your Hands & Putting It Online
Your movie will end up online it’s only a matter of how and when. I think of my movie like a cake that only I have the recipe for. What store do I want to sell this cake at? Where will most people see it? Netflix? Hulu? Vimeo? Tick-Tok? And if you can sell it, then why not? What’s your film worth? It's an honest question.
At a certain point, it's out of your heads, there is a little bit of luck involved in a movie or video becoming highly successful. It’s a perfect place at a perfect time type of thing you cant control. However, luck is usually a result of hard work, if all your bases are covered and you’ve put the hours in, you will be successful.
It's important to do good work and put a lot of effort into your films or anything you do. You never know it might come back to you one day and have a second life or help you a lot in the future.