I think it is totally illogical the way movies are sold nowadays. Sales Agents really need to figure out a new way to do business or soon, what with the coming of VOD into the everyday consumer routine, they will all be out of a job.
When one goes to sell or buy a house, there is a very clear asking price to begin negotiations. I think movies should be treated the same way.
This, of course, doesn’t apply to mega studio super budget movies that are all done in-house and have nothing to do with the rest of the world. I’m talking about independently made films looking for distribution.
Say you’ve made a movie for $75,000. I think it’s best to just say it. If you try to make it sound like your movie is worth $500,000 you’ll look foolish. Likewise, if a typical three-bedroom house in Kansas costs one thing and you’re asking five times that, you are likely not going to sell your house.
Of course there are dumb shits in the world who will pay for something that costs more than its worth. But even though it seems those types have the run of the place, they really are quite rare. So I suggest finding out what your movie is worth on a realistic level and just tell people that’s what you want for it.
If you say you want $75,000 for worldwide rights, expect an offer for anywhere $50,000 or even lower. If your selling worldwide rights, that would be the end of the deal. No royalties, nothing else. There is a lot of greed out there, naturally, so people would rather “lease” their movie, or “rent it” like they would a residential property. But, I say, just sell the damn thing and move on.
Of course, location has a lot to do with selling a house. For instance, a $300,000 house in Kansas would be worth about $3.2million in Los Angeles, or five times that based on square footage in New York City.
Think about your movie in terms of genre and star power. If you have Julia Roberts in your movie, you’ll likely be able to ask $3.2million for it even if it only cost $200,000 to make. Do you have a Victorian mansion, or a two-story duplex, or a mid-century modern ranch-style? Is the home you’re selling sit in a desirable neighborhood, or is it on the wrong side of the tracks? Is it a horror comedy, coming of age drama, or musical?
You can try and disguise your movie all you want, but at the end of the day, it might help you to understand your movie from a realistic perspective. Bring in someone to evaluate the worth of your film, and strategize the best way to get it out there.
If you’ve made a movie for $75,000 it might serve you better to release it yourself. For that amount you only have to sell 4,000 DVDs or VOD purchases. That isn’t a huge ordeal. But, on the flip-side, if you’ve made a movie for $300,000 you’ll have to sell 15,000 DVDs or VOD purchases. While that’s not out of the question, it’s a lot easier to sell less. So keep your costs as low as possible. Or remember that if you’re selling a home, it’s best to get as much as you can and then move to a town where you can get a lot more for less.