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Sheri Candler on "New Online Distribution Service: Prescreen"

By Ted Hope | Hope for Film August 19, 2011 at 3:00AM

Don't you love it when you see something new and it all makes sense. I had the opportunity to view the new distribution platform PRESCREEN and I dug it. I was all set to tell you all about it when I learned they sponsored the book Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul , and as a result Sheri Candler spoke to them and quizzed them on what they were up to. How sweet is that: all the info you need, clear and simple, and I don't have to write anything. Love it. Check it out. Prescreen is just one of many new exciting new tools and partners coming for indie filmmakers who want to step into Direct Distribution.
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Don't you love it when you see something new and it all makes sense. I had the opportunity to view the new distribution platform PRESCREEN and I dug it. I was all set to tell you all about it when I learned they sponsored the book Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul , and as a result Sheri Candler spoke to them and quizzed them on what they were up to. How sweet is that: all the info you need, clear and simple, and I don't have to write anything. Love it. Check it out. Prescreen is just one of many new exciting new tools and partners coming for indie filmmakers who want to step into Direct Distribution.

The following post first appeared on the Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul blog to spotlight Prescreen as the Presenting Sponsor of that soon to be published book.

Prescreen was recently launched and is now taking film submissions to be considered for their service. Thus far, if you visited their web page, you were asked to submit an email address to be kept informed of their activities. Prescreen curates films and distributes them via a daily email to an opt-in audience. While they have started accepting applications for films to be showcased on their site, but they will not accept every film. “Unlike some of the other services that currently exist, we will not be a sea of titles. We will do our best to try and create signal out of noise,” said founder and CEO Shawn Bercuson.

What will PreScreen mean for the indie filmmaker?

“For the indie filmmaker, Prescreen means you now have a viable alternative to distribution. That said, we do not intend to replace any of the existing channels, we are merely a tool to help make the marketing and distribution efforts much easier. Being featured on Prescreen means revenue instead of marketing spend, analyzing demographics of *your* audience instead of looking at the audience of comparable titles, and increasing the potential to go ‘viral.’ We give the filmmaker and distributor relevant information that they can use to maximize the success of each title.”

“We believe there is a lot of great content that exists that never finds a home or has a hard time reaching the right audience. As we all know, movie distribution has historically been a very arduous and risky endeavor for filmmakers, distributors, or studios alike; however, we now live in a world with exciting technology that enables us to communicate in real time with...everyone. If you use these tools correctly, the supply vs. demand curve can be shifted. Whereas, before content was created, money was spent, and hours of work were completed prior to the release of a film trying to create demand for a title; we can now gauge demand at the beginning of the process such that the entire endeavor is more efficient.”

Will the service cost anything, either for filmmakers or for audience? If so, what?

“For moviegoers, it is free to signup to receive the Prescreen daily email. If a movie catches your eye, you have the opportunity to ‘rent’ the movie to stream. Each movie we feature lives on Prescreen for 60 days. On Day 1, the movie costs $4 and you'll have up to 60 days to view the film; while on Days 2 - 60, the movie costs $8 and you'll have 60 - (x days) to complete the film. Though a moviegoer has up to 60 days to complete the film, ‘renting’ on Prescreen is similar to that of any other the other mainstream steaming services and you'll have 48 hours to complete the film once you start the stream.”

“Why only 60 days? Movies live on Prescreen for 60 days for many reasons. First, to allow a film to capture (and capitalize on) the word-of-mouth exposure that organically ensues throughout the social graph. Movies are inherently social. If all my friends are talking about a specific title, I don't like to be left out of the conversation and I'll want to partake. 60 days allows people to join the conversation. The second reason is piracy. As iTunes has successfully proven with the music industry, people are happy to pay for content as long as they have access to it. For example, if a movie is screening in 6 cities not named Omaha, Nebraska and I live in Omaha, my only option is to illegally download that title. 60 days allows access to content that people might otherwise be forced to get through illegal means.”

“For filmmakers and distributors, there is no out of pocket charge at any point throughout the entire Prescreen process. Prescreen is only successful if the movie is successful. Prescreen will send the filmmaker a check for 50% of the revenue generated from the sales on Prescreen along with a 'Prescreen Performance Report' that details all of the relevant information a filmmaker or distributor would need to continue to reach the targeted audience including: a Prescreen performance summary, detailed demographic information, the size of the addressable market, and suggested continued marketing plan.”

*NOTE*: Prescreen has a strict privacy policy that protects all of the personal information of its subscribers. All information shared with the filmmaker or distributor is aggregated and does not compromise any personal or contact information that could lead to any unwanted use or abuse.

“At any given point in time, Prescreen has up to 60 films featured on the site: 1 featured film and the 59 previous featured films. As one movie enters our library through their feature, another one leaves. After 60 days, the filmmaker should have enough data points and insight to continue to market their film effectively and reach the right audience.”

How does one sign up for an account?

“For filmmakers and distributors, visit prescreen.com/submit. Here, you can submit your film to Prescreen to be the 'Featured Film.' The featured film is the highlight of our daily email that goes out to all of our subscribers and will also be the only film on our homepage for 24 hours.”

On what devices is the service geared toward viewing?

“We believe that movies should live where moviegoers want to see them. Because of this, Prescreen plans to be platform agnostic and live on the web, mobile, and other connected devices like streaming TV's, gaming consoles, and set top boxes. However, as any Prescreen engineer will tell you: ‘Rome wasn't built in a day’ so we'll start on the web and prioritize platforms based on where our audience is telling us to go.”

If you are interested in having your film considered for the service, please submit it here before August 12. For more information regarding Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul, please visit the website, Like us on Facebook and follow our Twitter stream #syfnotsys.

This article is related to: Tools, Platforms, Guest Posts