Real-Time Distribution Case Study, Week 9: Poster Release & Ticket Sales

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Motoring along over here in Phoenix land.

A few more tactics, and less philosophizing, today:

Sold out: The Ashland Independent Film Festival world premiere screening sold out in under an hour. Wow! This completely caught us off guard, and it feels wonderful to be so supported by our community.

Tickets can still be purchased in the RUSH line on the day of the event.

Press: Gary, Luis and I did our first live radio interview for the film on JPR this morning. It was good practice for upcoming Q&As.

Contemplated before the interview:

  • who gets to answer: what’s the film about? (Gary won)
  • do we talk about themes or plot points?
  • how much do we say about the tour, the theatrical release, upcoming dates, the cast, the budget?
  • how can we best leverage the interview towards future events?

Promoting Ticket Sales: We will announce the Klamath Falls premiere tomorrow. Tickets go on sale one week later (three weeks before the screening). We are testing with the intention of creating a template for each city.

We’re considering:

  • what is the ideal window between announcing a date & selling tickets?
  • how soon before the screening should ticket sales start?
  • when & how should local press be engaged leading up to ticket sales?
  • how can we most effectively use social media to create urgency?
  • when should we transition from announcing individual dates to announcing dates for the whole tour?
  • how & when do we transition from a local story to a national story?

Poster: The poster is here! At midlife… are we still growing & becoming? Or have we lost energy, allowing ourselves to disappear, being drawn away by an “alien-controlled” pen?

Poster Printing: The theaters are requesting 27"x40" prints. We use printkeg to print & ship directly to the theaters ($29.99 + shipping) or local printers for DIY shipping ($18 + shipping).

Bookings: We are making steady progress with 25 venues booked.

I had been nervous to do the count, but this actually feels great. We are half way to our tour goal of 50 events.Our overall release goal is still 100 venues, but these could include screenings outside of the tour.

It’s been working well to email art-house theaters directly sharing tour details, a link to the trailer, company info, and press quotes from both previous films and Phoenix.

Reaching the bigger chains is challenging as the request gets kicked up to the “corporate office”. Still TBD on if we’ll book any of these.

Theaters: Interesting learnings this week about theaters (big and small)… Their hands are often tied by contracts with the studios.

Theaters are contractually obligated to play studio films, and in most cases, they must screen each film the same number of times per day as any other film.

Often this leaves no remaining slots for indies. In some theaters, we may only get one or two screening times per day, sandwiched between bigger films.

But this affects gross weekly sales, which determine whether or not a film is held over for subsequent weeks.

Each week, the lowest grossing films are cut. During a run, we will need a minimum of 200+ people per week to buy tickets in order for the film to continue.

It’s a conundrum and is definitely not set up for indie film break-out success.

Distribution: Each week, we waffle on when to start approaching distributors.

Some indie distributors and sales agents have started contacting us directly, some with the hope to sell the film at the Cannes market in May. We are holding back for now…

Ratings: We decided to spend the $3,000 required to rate the film. This gives us the freedom and opportunity to approach larger chains as needed.

Funding: Thanks to a few special people who believe in us and in the project, we have received additional funding to pay for music licensing, rating, and crew deferments.

Production and post production funding are now complete.

For release funding, we are working on grants, sponsors, and revenue / expense cash flow adjustments before taking on additional debt/equity.


Off now to meet the team to discuss bookings, announcements, ticket sales strategy and some awesome t-shirt designs!

♡ Annie


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