How to Deliver Your Film with Tips and Tricks that Actually Work

It’s tough work, but you’ve got to do it.

Marcus Mizellefilmmaker of the upcoming thriller Chameleon, breaks it down for us below.

You’re at the one-yard line: You’ve locked down a sales company or distributor and they now want you to deliver the film and all of its elements for International sales/distribution. What comes next is the seemingly little-known, final gauntlet of your film’s journey: delivery.

Be warned: this is a trying and expensive (yet necessary process) that a lot of first-time independent filmmakers don’t see coming. Be prepared, be ready, and don’t give up.

Delivery requirements typically fall into the following categories: Lab Access, Publicity & Advertising, Metadata, Editing Materials, Credit/Contracts, and Legal Documents.

Delivery Elements

Lab Access

  • Master Video File (in it’s Original Aspect Ratio and an addl. 16.9 export if not OAR)
  • Master Audio Files (Stereo, 5.1 and M+E mixes)
  • QC Reports
  • DCDM
  • DCP
  • Trailer Master
  • Copy of the Score
  • HD Extras/DVD Commentary
  • DVD Screeners

Publicity & Advertising

  • Color Stills
  • Key Art (Layered)
  • DVD Packaging
  • Flyer Artwork
  • Press Kit (PDF)
  • EPK (Video)
  • Website/Ancillary
  • Picture Info Sheet

Metadata

  • Questionnaire 
  • DVD Chapter Breaks

Editing Materials

  • Final Continuity Report
  • Final Picture EDL 

Production Credit/Contracts

  • Final Main on End Credits
  • Cast & Tech Personnel List
  • Copies of Personnel Contracts

Legal Documents

  • Music Cue Sheets
  • Music Licenses
  • Composer Agreement
  • Copies of Acquired Licenses
  • Screen & Paid Ad Credit/Likeness
  • Chain of Title
  •  -rights agreements
  •  -copyright registration
  •  -copyright reports
  •  -title report
  • Cert of Origin
  • Distribution Restrictions (if any)
  • Dubbing/Subtitling Restrictions (if any)
  • Production Storage/Lab Access Info
  • Errors & Omissions Insurance Certificate
  • TV Safe Titles Cert (if any)
  • MPAA Rating Certificate (if needed)

Tips and Tricks

Organize your elements into folders and color code them to show either Completed (green label), In Progress (yellow label), or Not Yet Begun (red label). You can then share this folder via Dropbox etc.

Prioritize into favorites which elements are needed first and what can wait until later. That way your sales company/distributor will be able to access what they need the most in order to get the ball rolling on their end. Be sure to ask what can wait and also what might not be necessary at all. 

Deliver on time and as requested. Don’t sit back and take it easy after completing a delivery element. Just move on to the next one until there aren’t any left.

Reach out to a post-production supervisor, the unsung heroes of post-production and film delivery. This is in large part what they do for a living and their knowledge is invaluable. Plus they’ll calm you down and tell you that it’ll all be okay. If you can’t pay them, offer a Co/Associate-Producer credit for their contributions.

Reach out to independent filmmakers who have also already gone through this or are getting ready to. Share info, help, and be helped. This has happened to me more than once at film festivals, etc.

Don’t get overwhelmed and just focus on one thing at a time. As they say, “Eat the elephant one bite at a time,” or something like that.

3 – Take a bow (and a break)

Once all of these elements are delivered to your sales company, they will then take the baton and go out to sell to the world’s buyers – OR if you’re delivering directly to a Distributor – you can finally sit back and really say “I’ve finished my film.” Now get ready to take a bow for all your hard work, but first, take a break.

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