The new film cannot be finished without outside financial help.Read More
Detroit, like BURN, is all about change.Read More
$310K — not bad for the "little film that could."Read More
Don't call it a comeback.Read More
Thanks so much for your email! And the kind words! We appreciate every single one of them.
We have not watched your trailer. The following is based on our movie, not yours.
The decision to self distribute really depends on what you want to do with your life. If you want to spend your time making movies, don’t do it. You won’t have time. If you want to make loads of money, don’t do it. It’s really expensive.
However, if there’s any money to be made from your film, self distribution is likely the only way to make it. Should they secure a distribution deal, most filmmakers end up disappointed by the performance of their distributor, and the lack of financial return. But, having done it, I have more sympathy for the distributor; it’s tremendously expensive, very hard and specialized work, and there’s an infinite list of things you can screw up. From what I hear, it sounds like most distributors aren’t great at their jobs, but it’s a really hard job to be good at.
Here are some resources that might be helpful:
- Film Independent's CASE STUDY: BURN
- Filmmaker Magazine’s Nine Lessons for Self-Distributing Filmmakers with No Money and No Experience
- Fractured Atlas Blog : Up Close with Arts Entrepreneurs: TBVE Films
- Carole Dean & the Art of Film Funding podcast: How to Make Money in Self Distribution
Between these links, you’ll find most every resource we used, lessons learned, and the narrative of our distribution experience.
You can read all the case studies in the world, but I don’t think there’s any way to sufficiently prepare oneself for the level of commitment, risk and stress involved. After getting your film finished, it’s like running a marathon, kicking back and putting your feet up, then being told you have to run another marathon. You also won’t be able to make another film while you do it; it’s an all-consuming full-time job for which you may or may not get paid.
With most films, we think the smart move is to focus on:
- A handful of screenings with related groups or in places you know your film has an audience
- Digital release
- Educational sales
Reach out to organizations or businesses of any kind that might be interested in your film and offer a screening. We did employee screenings for firefighting gear manufacturers, and for firefighting schools and community organizations. Charge a reasonable screening fee.
Find a digital aggregator and focus your attention on a digital release. Find someone who’ll give you a fair deal and whom you like and trust. Look at the other films they’ve released and reach out to the filmmakers for references.
Also, educational sales is a nice, passive income stream. You can do this by going with an educational sales company. We use Passion River. They’re great, but we can’t speak to how they compare with other educational sales groups because we haven’t used anyone else. Again, look at the other films they carry and reach out to the filmmakers for references. You can also handle educational sales yourself by purchasing a mailing list from someone like libraryeland, but it’ll be time consuming.
We’ve offered advice for free to thousands of filmmakers at this point, and none have followed through on self distributing their films. That makes us feel bad. So now we offer paid consult sessions for $250/first hour, $150/hour after that. If you have further questions, we’re happy to set that up.
Thanks so much for reaching out, and good luck with your film!
No one wants you to succeed more than we do.
Best to you,
Brenna & Tom
Whether you're Panthers, Broncos or just there for the snacks, watching the Superbowl is a lot like watching firefighters work as a team on the fire ground. Detroit Fire Department Sgt. Kenneth Claiborne, a former college player, lays it out for us here.
After receiving $310,000 worth of gear donated by BURN and BURN supporters last May, the Detroit Fire Department received five of its fleet of new rigs last month ... what a difference! Instead of wondering if their rigs are mechanically sound enough to make it to a fire, now they're worrying about dings and scratches on the new paint. Watch through the end of the video to catch a glimpse of Engine 50s new wheels! We've heard there are more new rigs to come ... stay tuned! Watch the video here: http://bit.ly/1OJZekH
**Correction: Outgoing DFD rigs are past their prime, but not 70-90 years old, as stated by the reporter.
DID YOU KNOW ... BURN director/producer Brenna Sanchez was also the film's music supervisor? That means she selected all of the tracks that ended up in the movie, a daunting task! She spent months listening to hundreds of tracks from her own collection and beyond, discovering old and new Detroit artists along the way. We only had room for ten songs in the film, but you can listen to a playlist of Brenna's picks on Spotify!
Link to the playlist on Spotify: BURN: Music from the Detroit Firefighter Documentary
Or listen right here!
BURN has the greatest fans in the world. Part of every movie ticket you've purchased, every DVD, Blu-ray, poster and T-shirt — went toward new equipment for Detroit firefighters. Thanks to you, more than $310,000 of much-needed new equipment:
April 2012: Momentous Insurance celebrated BURN's premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City with a $25,000 donated to the DFD. The funds were used to purchase spare parts to repair broken departmental rigs.
May 2014: Directors Tom Putnam, Brenna Sanchez and Executive Producers Denis Leary and Jim Serpico traveled to Detroit to donate $260,000 worth of gear, including:
- 14 MSA Thermal Imaging Cameras + repair of all existing departmental imaging cameras, putting one TIC in each DFD engine
- 14 MSA Thermal Imaging Camera vehicle kits
- 35 MSA Altair Fire CO Gas Detectors, putting one on each engine with five as backups
- 16 MSA Instrument calibration kits, putting one with each battalion chief with 8 as backups
- $15,000 of high angle rescue gear including helmets, ropes, pulleys and harnesses from CMC Rescue and Kask America.
- High angle rescue training and class time from CMC.
- More than $10,000 in rope from New England Rope
These donated items are now in the field and directly improving the DFD's ability to answer calls, help the citizens of Detroit, and stay safe.
Again, thanks for your continued support.
Tom Putnam & Brenna Sanchez Directors/Producers, BURN
As you may know, BURN is no longer available on Netflix streaming. But it's still available to stream, rent and own from a bunch of other places! Here's where to find it: