How will you get your project seen? It depends who you want your work to engage and with so many devices able to access online content you can easily broadcast yourself through social media sites or dedicated blogs.
We have listed the main distribution categories here:
You can organize your own live events such as community or neighborhood screenings, which can be really effective for social justice campaigns or other political issues – best known examples are Outfoxed and Gaslands, the latter being responsible for a huge rise in awareness of the risks of fracking.
But the easiest and most effective way is to use social media platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo, facebook, tumblr and other blog sites. If you don’t want to push your work through the juggernaut corporate channels you can set up your own blog through freeware such as wordpress.
To get your work seen on TV can be much harder, especially if you also want to get paid to make the work to begin with… This is called a presale arrangement, with broadcasters usually requiring a certain level of control.
The second way is to sell your finished project to broadcasters after it is done. This is usually done through a license agreement, where you (or the producer), grant the broadcaster a license over several years and certain territories [countries, continents] and platforms. Avoid signing away too many rights just because you are thrilled to get the word out – if the broadcaster is keen, they will negotiate with you on all the terms – if something is a deal breaker they will tell you soon enough.
If your work has commercial potential, to become a franchise, format, series etc – make sure you retain full control over these right and the ancillary rights [spin offs, merchandise etc] – not that this happens often.
Or you can buy airtime for your community announcement or campaign advert. Our community partners in Leeton Shire did this for a Change Media collaboration, ‘Don’t Be That Guy’ anti-binge drinking video, that screened to over 70.000 people across the Riverina district in NSW.
And you can check in your area if there are any community broadcasters left – visit the Community Broadcast Association of Australia or your equivalent organizations to find out more.
Depending on the genre, length or relevance of your project, you can also submit your work to an ever-growing number of film festivals.
If you have a distribution budget, make sure you spend it on the most prestigious festivals – always check their pedigree, how long they have been around, who is supporting them, where they get their funding from and are they not-for-profit.
There are a huge number of free festivals, but check them as per above, you don’t want to hand over rights in the small print of their agreements just because its free or sounds awesome…
Check with your national screen support agency such as Screen Australia for updates on festivals.
Tip: Screen Australia counts a screening at a renowned film festival as a credit towards your eligibility for funding, so these festivals can become very valuable if you want to apply for funding at some point.
The other idea is to contact relevant conferences and offer your content to them as entertainment material, a lot of conferences now have a curated media/arts component and are keen for films or media art that talks to their issues. Most won’t have money to commission or license work, but talk to them and be surprised.