Foreign Distribution

Learn how foreign sales agents work, how to find a reputable agent, common scams used to steal your movie without paying you, what you will be expected to deliver, how to collect your money, and hundreds of other tips.  We take you to the heart of it all at the American Film Market to see – firsthand, how the foreign distribution process works.

Foreign Distribution

Developed by Jason Tomaric, FilmSkills
ABOUT THIS LESSON
Selling your movie in the United States is only part of distribution.  Now, it’s time to sell your movie to the rest of the world, and in doing so navigate the challenging path to making money in the foreign market. With thousands of films produced and marketed every year, foreign distributors are faced with more choices than ever before. Knowing how this process works can put you at a tremendous advantage.
 
In this module, you will learn how foreign sales agents work, how to find a reputable agent, common scams used to steal your movie without paying you, what you will be expected to deliver, how to collect your money, and hundreds of other tips.  We take you to the heart of it all at the American Film Market to see – firsthand, how the foreign distribution process works.
 
Become the smartest person at the negotiating table by learning the process, and make a profit on your movie.
 
  • 37:19 video that explores foreign distribution
  • Illustrated companion guide
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
  • What foreign sales agents do
  • What makes a movie attractive to foreign distributors
  • How foreign distributors are structures
  • What film markets are
  • What happens at a film market
  • How to successfully navigate a film market
  • How to protect yourself from predatory distributors
ABOUT THE LESSON AUTHOR
Jason Tomaric

Jason Tomaric

Director, Cinematographer Los Angeles, California
Jason J. Tomaric is an Emmy, Telly, and CINE Award-winning director and cinematographer of four internationally-distributed feature films, dozens of national television commercials, music videos, and the largest film training content library in the world, published author of 8 books - used in many top universities, and creator of AccuSkills.com, an industry-changing learning management platform. 
 
Jason has worked in Los Angeles and around the world in over 20 countries. His clients include Disney, NBC/Universal, National Geographic, McDonald’s, Toyota, Scion, Microsoft, and Paul Mitchell, with narrative work screened at Sundance, Slamdance, and South by Southwest film festivals as well as on Netflix and on all broadcast networks.
 
Jason has taught and/or guest lectured at some of the nation's most prestigious film schools including UCLA, Columbia College, John Carroll University, Kent State University, San Francisco State, University of Notre Dame, and numerous film festivals.
 
Jason has written eight industry-defining books, all sold in bookstores, and used in film schools around the world. The American Society of Cinematographers hails Jason's books - "There are no wasted words in Tomaric's tome, which concisely summarizes each facet of the director's craft.  It's difficult to think of a step in the process that Tomaric fails to address." 
 
Jason’s DVD training series on Hollywood film production have trained filmmakers in over 40 countries, with distributors in Europe, Hong Kong, New York and Australia.
 
In 2010, Jason launched FilmSkills, which combines the world’s largest film training video library with his proprietary learning management system.  Adopted by 47 universities within the first year, FilmSkills is now the leading industry-standard training solution for motion picture and television production.
 
In 2015, Jason launched AccuSkills.com, an industry-changing learning management platform that bridges the gap between academia and industry.
THIS LESSON HAS BEEN UPDATED BY
Kingsley Benham

Kingsley Benham

West Hollywood, California FilmSkills
UPDATED ON 1/12/2016
CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS LESSON
Barbara Doyle

Barbara Doyle

Chair of Chapman University Film Department
Barbara Freedman Doyle has been active in film production and film education for more than 20 years. She began her film career at Creative Communications, in Boston, producing promotional films for non-profit clients and political campaigns, then moved to Los Angeles where she soon became the Assistant to the Senior VP of Worldwide Production at Tri-Star Pictures. During her five years at Tri-Star she was involved in the administration and organization of over forty feature films.
 
Barbara left Tri-Star to work in production on national commercial spots, music videos, network television movies, and feature films. She was Production Supervisor on television movies for the Disney Channel, NBC Productions, Hearst Entertainment, HBO, Showtime and Hallmark and worked on feature films for 20th Century Fox, Interscope, and Warner Brothers. She was Production Supervisor on the films "Two If By Sea" with Sandra Bullock and Denis Leary (Morgan Creek Productions), and "Lost and Found" with David Spade (Alcon Entertainment).
 
In 1999, Barbara became an Associate Dean at the prestigious American Film Institute. She left the AFI in 2002, and in 2003, while a Chair at Brooks Institute of Photography’s Motion Picture/Video program, she served as Line Producer on the BBC/Granada Television documentary, Martin Scorsese’s British Cinema.
 
Barbara joined the team at MPS Productions in 2003, as Line Producer of the Kaiser film project, On the Same Side. She produces and consults for the company on feature film and documentary projects, and is currently on the faculty at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. She is a frequent guest lecturer at colleges and universities specializing in film studies, and is working on her first book, Surviving the Business and Politics of Making Your Feature Film-the Answer Book For First-Time Filmmakers.
Jason J. Tomaric

Jason J. Tomaric

Emmy-winning director/Cinematographer
Jason J.Tomaric is a multiple Emmy, Telly and CINE Award-winning director and cinematographer. With four feature films, sixty commercials, music videos and an educational DVD series on the market, Jason's approach to filmmaking has made for a successful, fulfilling career. Jason has worked in over 20 countries as a director and has taught at some of the nation's most prestigious film schools including UCLA and the New York Film Academy. Jason's book, "Filmmaking"(Focal Press) is available in bookstores worldwide.
 
Jason is also the creator of FilmSkills.
Jeff Ulin

Jeff Ulin

VP of Worldwide Distribution, LucasFilm; Former Senior Executive at Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios
Jeff Ulin’s background includes being a media executive, attorney, lecturer, entrepreneur and author. Half of his 20+ years in the business were spent at Lucasfilm, where he headed worldwide distribution for all markets (theatrical, video, TV, online), managed franchise sales for Star Wars and Indiana Jones, and oversaw the release of the last Star Wars film Episode III.  He has also served as a senior studio executive, helping manage Paramount and Universal’s overseas video distribution venture; co-founded and ran as CEO animation studio Wild Brain, where he created Disney’s pre-school hit Higglytown Heroes; and navigated the convergence of digital media at Silicon Valley’s most renowned law firm (Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati), where he served as Of Counsel.  Based in the San Francisco Bay area, Jeff currently works as EVP of Autumn Games, sits on advisory boards of media start-ups, and teaches the class Media & Entertainment: Economics, Policy, and Strategy at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.  He is the author of the Variety-endorsed book The Business of Media Distribution- Monetizing Film, TV and Video Content in an Online World (Elsevier/Focal Press, 2009).
 
Jeff is a graduate of Harvard University and The University of Chicago Law School, and a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Lloyd Kaufman

Lloyd Kaufman

President, Troma Entertainment, Chairman International Film and Television Association
Entertainment industry veteran Lloyd Kaufman was elected chairman of the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA), the global trade association of independent distributors and producers of motion picture and television programming, in September 2007. With more than 40 years of experience in the world of independent film, having dealt with literally every aspect of the business, Kaufman embodies IFTA’s creative, visionary and entrepreneurial spirit.
Since 1991, Mr. Kaufman has served on and contributed to the IFTA Board of Directors and Executive Committee in numerous capacities. A pioneer in new media who recognizes the value and potential new technology provides to the independent community, Mr. Kaufman is a leading proponent of maintaining “net neutrality” so that independent filmmakers and distributors are not left out of the promise and benefits of the Internet. To that end, he was asked by IFTA’s Board of Directors to help create and chair the Alliance’s New Technologies Opportunities Committee, which explores video distribution over the Internet, telephony, etc. and identifies avenues by which independents may realize new revenue from the emerging media.

Mr. Kaufman also is president of New York-based production and distribution company Troma Entertainment, which he and partner Michael Herz founded in 1974 shortly after they graduated from Yale University. In 35 years, Mr. Kaufman and Mr. Herz have built Troma up to legendary status as a bastion of true independence and a strong consumer brand through a visionary body of work that has had a huge impact on pop culture and today’s mainstream filmmaking. New York Post film critic Lou Lumenick recently wrote that Mr. Kaufman “has been cited as a major influence by Peter Jackson, Quentin Tarantino and Takashi Miike, among others.” Other writers and directors who have cited Mr. Kaufman as a major influence include Sam Raimi, James Gunn, Kevin Smith and Eli Roth, to name a few. In addition, Mr. Kaufman has mentored many young independent filmmakers and Troma movies or releases have given numerous now-famous talent their first start in the film industry, including Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Costner, Oliver Stone, Marisa Tomei, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Jenna Fisher. Other major figures whose first work appears in a Troma film include Robert DeNiro, Dustin Hoffman and Carmen Electra.
Suzanne Lyons

Suzanne Lyons

BAFTA-winning Producer, "The Calling," "The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things," and "Undertaking Betty"
SUZANNE LYONS has over 25 years experience in television and film. She was VP of Marketing and Promotions for a Canadian TV Network and while there she created, produced and directed news and series programming and has won numerous awards for her work. In 1999 Ms. Lyons co-founded Snowfall Films and Snowfall has produced or executive produced eight movies, including British comedy UNDERTAKING BETTY (aka “PLOTS WITH A VIEW”) with actors Brenda Blethyn, Alfred Molina, Naomi Watts, Lee Evans and Christopher Walken and British director Nick Hurran. Miramax is the domestic distributor. UNDERTAKING BETTY has won a BAFTA award and in now being turned into a Broadway musical. Snowfall Films produced a British/Canadian co-production thriller titled JERICHO MANSIONS staring James Caan, Genevieve Bujold, Maribel Verdu and Jennifer Tilly with Spanish director Alberto Sciamma. JERICHO MANSIONS was an official selection at the Montreal Film Festival.