After a year of our webinar series, we’ve collected insights from experts across the film distribution landscape, including CEOs, Marketing & Acquisition Executives, VOD Specialists, and more! We’ve compiled a list of the top tips we’ve gotten over a year of film markets to help you get the most out of Marché du Film.
Preparation and follow-up are crucial for driving business at Marché du Film. To maximize your impact at the market, it's essential to move quickly, get in front of buyers, and close deals. Make sure to book your meetings in advance, prepare your printed material, and filter your avails sheets. You can utilize tools like Cinando to research market attendees and arrange meetings with those you believe are most interested in buying or selling titles.
Jack Campbell, CEO of Jackrabbit Media, suggests using an email marketing campaign to reach out to buyers before the event and set up meetings using a calendar tool. After the market, track your follow-up activity using a platform like Monday.com to stay organized and move quickly towards closing deals.
For independent filmmakers, perfect your elevator pitch and practice it thoroughly, as many market participants are primarily there to sell and have limited time. Distributors and sellers should also prepare their content, ensuring that avails, posters, and screeners are visually appealing and well- organized. The ability to run instant avails and send screeners quickly can be the difference between securing a deal or losing out to competitors.
While it’s a common strategy to arrive at a market with meetings already in your calendar, Barrett Dungy, CEO of Urban Home Entertainment, recommends arriving with a calendar scheduled half-full. The other half, he recommends leaving open to the serendipity of the market.
In Barrett’s words,
“The most important thing about these markets is having a strategy but also being fluid enough so you can receive things that you didn't even know that you needed in your future...It’s not just for making money, but actually building a foundation so you can survive in this market. That’s really what your goal should be.”
When asked the best way to stand out against thousands of other companies, SKOOP Media’s Fulko Kuindersma advised that it’s not so much about standing out at the market, but standing out throughout the year.
Markets are an invaluable opportunity to build your brand. Establishing yourself as a trustworthy will pay off in dividends. Both Jack Campbell and Barrett Dungy agreed that if a buyer approaches them with specific content in mind, and they know someone with a better fit, they wouldn’t hesitate to send them to another distributor. Barrett explained that doing the groundwork to build trust with buyers was key to building the solid business that Urban Home Entertainment is today. Kindness and trust go a long way. Take the loss today and reap the benefits in the long run.
This is a relationship driven industry, and one of the key functions of the market is to solidify those relationships. In fact, according to Daredo’s Thorsten Hesse, who offered us his insight into the European Film market, most of the actual work comes after the market. This isn’t to say that the market isn’t work - you’ll likely be busy from 9am to 9pm. But often, the deals happen post-market.
Fulko emphasized the importance of investing in current relationships, sharing that if you serve your existing partners well, new business will follow. With this philosophy, SKOOP Media as managed to expand from the Netherlands to Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, and beyond.
On top of investing in your existing relationships, you should be looking to build new ones. Even on a shoestring budget, you should leave some money for the bar. Jack Campbell and Barrett Dungy agreed that one dinner or round of drinks at the market might feed you for years to come.
The connections you make at the market are the foundation of your business for years to come. Leverage your time spent at an in person market as an opportunity to make connections, and invest in your relationships. Build strong relationships at the market, and the business impact will follow in the year to come.
Jack shares that his main goal when it comes to market operations is to make the buyer’s job as easy as possible by removing any barriers between his content and his buyers. Time is everything in a competitive marketplace, and any additional work or waiting time could lead to opportunity wasted.
If you’re an exhibitor, the number one thing you can do to make life easier on your prospective buyers is by preparing your avails in a way that is both visually pleasing, and easy to browse! This means organizing your avails by what matters to your prospective buyer - for example by genre or territory. You’ll also need to make sure they’re extremely accessible. Linda Nelson of Indie Rights generates PDF versions of her avails on MOLTEN and prints them to create big binders that will be available in her booth at Cannes. Jack Campbell generates QR codes for his avails, to make them easy for visiting buyers to access via their mobile phones.
Barrett Dungy shared an interesting sales tactic during our webinar on the American Film Market. At the market, he instructs his sales team not to share more than ten titles with a buyer at one time. Rather than overwhelm a buyer with his entire catalog, he’ll share a small handful of avails, filtered down to the exact specifications his buyer is looking for.
Not only does this help avoid buyer overwhelm, but touches on a deeper psychological principle: it’s much easier to sell four titles two times, than it is to sell eight all at once. This is true even when working with the same buyer both times. A buyer might only feel comfortable walking away with a few titles. Let your buyer walk away, and another sales rep might make another deal with them later in the market. The trick is narrowing down your avails to a granular degree, and the patience to play the long game.
The Marché is like a candy shop, and you’d be remiss not to try a little bit of everything. Over the course of the festival and market there will be a cornucopia of panels, networking events, seminars, premieres, screenings, and parties. Your schedule will be undoubtedly packed, but, when it comes to film markets, Fulko highly recommends leaving room in your calendar to attend some of these events. This is a great opportunity to learn more about what’s been happening in the industry.
Across our webinar series, one piece of advice we always get around film markets is to make sure to attend as many film premieres and screenings as you possibly can. You spend your entire year working hard to turn the gears of a creative industry - big premieres are a chance to experience and enjoy the art at the center of it all.
When you skip out on a premiere, you never know what you might be missing. MOLTEN’s very own Arjun, CEO, reflects on the time he was offered free tickets to a premiere and had been too busy to attend. A few months later he stumbled across his ticket and it turned out he had skipped the premiere of the wildly successful Parasite. Ouch!
Across one year of market wisdom from industry experts, it’s clear that the best thing you can do for success at the market is to embrace the human side of the business: your personality, your mentality, your brand, your readiness to build relationships, and your being present at the right place at the right time.
Of course, film markets require a great deal of physical preparedness: your documents, materials, avails, screeners, and content. The best market tools are those that can free you from the burden of tedious or technical tasks, and empower you to focus on putting your best foot forward. If you’re interested in learning how the MOLTEN CLOUD can help, don’t hesitate to reach out.
For more tips and insight into making the most of the Marché, read our full Cannes Survival Guide here.