A distributor, like your talent, crew, agent, manager, attorney, accountant, or PR rep, is invested in the success of your projects and should be considered an integral part of the team. Assuming a good experience, filmmakers typically return to the same distributor on future projects. Like any other relationship in the filmmaking process, relationships and trust are earned over time.
"Trust is the most important word between a producer and a distributor," Chip believes. "Good producers put their souls into a production when they create it. Being a producer myself, I know how much work it takes to complete a program. I encourage producers to send me their programs, short or long, and I will tell them the truth as to whether I think it has a chance to sell. Sadly, some very good programs may not sell a lot of copies. I also tell producers the truth about payment and reporting of royalties. I personally have invested over $150,000 over the years to be sure my royalty reporting software is 100 percent accurate and provides producers with the exact information they want to know about their programs and ensures they receive their royalties on time. My software shows who previewed, reviewed, purchased, or returned a program. This type of information cements a producer's trust. With me they know exactly how much marketing went into their program, and they see the sales results. I don't know any other distributor who provides this type of information, as it's not required, but I simply feel more comfortable sharing it so they can trust that they've given their 'baby' to someone who cares about it as much as they do.
"One reason my catalog has grown from twenty-six titles in 1985 to over 2000 is because so many producers remain with my company. I invest in my producers, not only marketing their programs and paying royalties, but also assisting them in ways to get other monies to produce more programs by connecting them with people I know who could help them complete their projects. It is almost impossible to produce just one program and make a living from that afterwards, so a producer needs to keep working. In return, producers who see this value-added benefit of working with me come back with more programs and often word of mouth brings other producers to my company."
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