We've been waiting for a film distribution contract to come through. Pretty exciting, huh? They contacted us, which makes it even more so. To be wanted. Doesn't everybody want that?
Well, as in all things moviedom distribution contracts aren't nearly as glamorous as they sound.
It arrived after a few weeks between contacts. Hurry up and wait, I guess. As a little background, I'm not completely ignorant of distribution deals having been a part of some "reality" tv shows (don't get me started) and a couple films. But, I wrote this one. It has my name all over it and that's pretty thrilling to me. So, the chance to get it out there is just what the doctor ordered.
I expected it to be one sided. I expected it to be lean. I expected it to be opportunistic. And I wasn't disappointed. After forwarding it to my partners in production, we all came to the same conclusion. "Not good."
So what do we do now, I ask them (and myself)? Turn them down and look for someone else? Look for someone else and negotiate with offer A? Leverage potential suitors while looking for someone else? I think you know where I'm going with this.
Distribution is the cat's pajamas for film making. It's great from thirty thousand feet, but sticky on the ground. Without it a film has little chance of success. To get it compromises must be made.
I don't often name drop (because I can't), but I met Dee Snyder of Twisted Sister a couple years ago. He said their first deal was awful. Just awful. But, they knew it was awful and signed anyway. Why? They had to. Without it they were doomed to faux furs in Long Island dive bars. They wanted to be rock stars! So, they ate it. Bit the bullet. Swallowed their pride. (Have you ever noticed how doing something distasteful is often likened to eating? Ha. There. I did it again). Then, after "We're Not Gonna Take It," they had leverage. That's the idea.
Our little film is struggling to make a profit and we need distribution. Maybe not any distribution, though. Hey, we're not gonna take it.
The long winded thirty six page document twists and turns from one mundane idiom to another, at the end of which is a line where we can sign over our film for, well, basically nothing. Nothing but not-guarantees of future earnings. To be fair, not-guaranteeing is actually responsible of them. But, to sign over for nothing rubs me the wrong way. (Insert innuendo here).
We won't sign the original offer. Maybe we won't sign with them at all. But, gee, it's nice to have the option, even if it's a crummy one.
I'll keep you posted.