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What if I haven't gone into production yet?

By Stacey Parks  |  03-Aug-2006

I've gotten a lot of questions lately from filmmakers who haven't gone into production yet with their films, as to whether or not it's a good time to start thinking about distribution. My answer is always the same: it's a great idea to start thinking about distribution even BEFORE you make your film.

For example, I'm big proponent of casting professional actors for a film. This doesn't have to mean current A-list movie actors. What I mean is that there are loads of actors out there - television stars, former television stars, former A-listers, etc. - who are totally bankable actors in the international marketplace. By tapping into this pool of actors, you actually increase the marketability of your film from the get go. Depending on which actors you get, you may be able to make a pre-sale or two, but at the very least, once you have a completed film you'll have a film that's saleable.

Don't think you can afford to hire professional actors on your budget? Go to to check out their low budget schemes. You can actually work with professional SAG actors even on a very low budget! In my book, "Insiders Guide to Film Distribution", I interviewed Paul Bales director of SAG Indie, who made his first movie on a budget of $250K, with professional actors, and pre-sold the movie to a U.S distributor before he even shot one frame of film (yes, he also shot on 35mm even with a budget that low!). By working with professional actors, he was able to shoot the film in 11 days (as opposed to 30), because his actors came in and knocked their scenes out in a day. That's what you get when you work with professional actors.

So there you have it - one of my favorite tips for pre-production while thinking of distribution in advance.

Stacey Parks is the author of “Insiders Guide to Film Distribution”, a comprehensive program for filmmakers and producers dedicated to film distribution and the marketplace. Stacey has worked in independent film for over 10 years, and is currently a sales executive at the BBC Worldwide in Los Angeles. She was previously a foreign sales agent for many years. You can purchase her complete Distribution educational program at

Miss Parks began her entertainment career at Poly Gram Records in Paris, France as an International Marketing assistant. After returning to the U.S, she entered the William Morris Agency as an assistant in the Soundtrack division, and later moved to the Independent Film division where she learned film financing, packaging, and pre-sales from the pros. After leaving William Morris, Miss Parks went to work as Associate Producer on Shadow Magic (Sony Pictures Classics), one of the first international co-productions to be shot in the People’s Republic of China.

In 2001 Miss Parks paired up with British P.R guru Lynne Franks and directed and produced a series of short documentaries for SEED TV in London. After returning to Los Angeles from London, she began work at Echelon Entertainment as V.P of international sales, and later moved on to ACT 1 Entertainment where she was also V.P of International Sales. After spending years as a foreign sales agent, she decided to write a book entitled "Insiders Guide to Film Distribution", since there was nothing else on the market that told the actual truth to filmmakers about the distribution game. Miss Parks currently resides in Los Angeles, California where she is a Sales Executive at BBC Worldwide. Stacey Parks is the author of "Insider’s Guide to Film Distribution", a comprehensive manual for filmmakers and producers dedicated to film distribution and the marketplace. Stacey has worked in Independent film for over ten years and is currently an Independent Sales Rep. She was previously a Foreign Sales Agent for several years. You can purchase "Insiders Guide to Film Distribution", as well as sign up for a free distribution eCourse at

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