Mon 11.10.2014

Tips for Demystifying the Deliverable Process


You’ve finished your movie. You’ve locked in a distributor. Now what?

Last month, Film Independent hosted an education event with Business Affairs Inc. entertainment lawyer Nicole Papincak to demystify the complexities of film distribution, specifically the fear-evoking delivery schedule that your distributor will drop on your desk.

A delivery schedule, Papincak explained, outlines not only a distribution timeline, but also a breakdown of everything the distributor will need from your team, from artist contracts to key art. The central question: what are all the possible materials a film distributor could ask a filmmaker for?

The answer is, as it turns out, essentially anything. Not only will a filmmaker be asked for a myriad of materials, but he or she will also be expected to pay for all of these materials. Papincak expressed that delivery is a strenuous and expensive process—and it isn’t a bad idea to hire an experienced pro to ensure the process goes smoothly.

Papincak broke down three distinct categories of materials that a filmmaker could—and should—expect to have to provide to a distributor:  physical materials, publicity materials and legal materials.

Physical Materials
This encompasses everything from feature  picture and audio to video elements and TV coverage. This could include the digital cinema distribution master (DCDM) and digital cinema package (DCP), digital intermediate data files, textless backgrounds, optical soundtrack negatives, check prints, internegatives and language subtitles.

Tip: Take great care with preparing your DCDM and DCP, which contain all of the components of a film (sound, pictures, text data). They are your most important physical materials, because they essentially, are the film.

Publicity Materials
This refers to everything your distributor will need to publicize and market your film: key art (the image you’ll use for billboards and posters), photographic images (up to 200 distinct photographs of key actors as they appear in the film), press kits/electronic press kits (production notes, biographies of key players, credit lists and a synopsis) and bonus materials (games, behind the scenes footage, interviews with key players and a ‘making of’ short).

Tip: Film interviews with cast and crew during production—don’t wait until your distributor asks for them.

Legal Materials
These are often the most complex component of a delivery schedule. Legal materials can include insurance information, cast and crew contracts, credits and approvals memos, clearances, guild information, music rights and chain of title information. This means all rights-related agreements, legal contracts, licenses and title reports.

Tip: Everything you create should be registered on, and every copyrighted material you use should be cleared.

Papincak explained the various delivery methods filmmakers can use to get their distributors what they need, such as physical delivery (sending your distributor physical copies of everything), access-only (granting your distributor access to materials at your lab), or the on-loan method (sending your distributor physical copies for them to process and then return to you).

Yes, a delivery schedule can seem overwhelming, but all is likely to go smoothly if you remember to start early, don’t skimp on publicity materials, budget accordingly and hire someone with solid experience to help you.

Maria Fish / Membership Intern