One must analyze one’s investment of time and costs in doing delivery before committing to any distribution option. Can you do yourself what the platform is offering to do for you? How much time and cost will you take on to accomplish the task? Is it worth it to pay someone for their expertise and connections? Just because it is theoretically possible to handle the work yourself doesn’t mean that is the best option for you to choose.

Much of this information can be found within our Digital Distribution Guide, available to our members. For this week, you can gain access to the full Guide by contributing $35 to our IndieGoGo campaign.

Film Deliverables

July 21, 2009
posted by sheric

The term Deliverables will come up when it is time to sign a contract with your sales agent in order for him to find traditional distribution for your film (theatrical, DVD, VOD,  broadcast, basically public viewing of your film handled by someone else) or with a distributor directly. Deliverables refer to a list of  requirements such as print materials, publicity materials and legal documentation needed to release a film. Deliverables are the last things created by the production team and delivered to the film’s distributor, but are often overlooked by the novice filmmaker.

A deliverables list is usually extensive and can vary wildly depending on the company handling the sale. It is also an expense that is underestimated, wildly underestimated. The latest figure I heard from a professional in the industry was close to $50K and that is if you have done your post production correctly! It is an expense incurred by the filmmaker, usually up front but in rare cases the distributor will front it and take it out of the filmmaker’s cut. So what is on this list that can be so expensive?

Below, you will find a general example of the things asked for by a sales agent or distributor to release your film to the public. This is not an exhaustive list, just commonly asked items. I have heard of some lists running into 7 pages long! Some items can be negotiated. The most expensive items are the prints which can run up to the tens of thousands alone for a feature film. If your audio and sound track were not professionally cut and separated, this is a very expensive redo as well. Careful now, your head is going to spin!

This information was sourced from the Access Film Markets web site.

  • NTSC Digital Betacam master of film
  • DA88 5.1 stereo final mix master for DVD – this must be conformed in perfect synchronization complete with matching continuous time code to the Digi BetaNTSC 16/9 masters above.
  • DA88 6-track 5.1 stereo digital music + effects master (configured as left / center / right / left surround / right surround / sub-woofer.) Effects must be comprehensively filled. Any contentious dialogue/vocals/songs etc that may be required for foreign dubbing should be on a separate track alongside a separate guide dialogue track.
  • DAT stereo mixdown of all source & score music recorded in the film. This must be in its raw original form – i.e. without any fades / dips etc. PLUS a fully detailed inlay card listing music titles; number; running times, etc.
  • DA88 copy of the 6trk dialogue; 6trk music & 6trk effects stereo digital f/mix ‘stems’.
  • Digi Beta NTSC master trailer
  • DA88 6-track stereo digital final 5.1 mix master of trailer
  • DA88 6-track stereo digital 5.1 music + effects master of trailer
  • The Producers grant to the sales agent access to all original source picture and audio materials for Film and trailer, and certify that the items are actually available and are sufficient to manufacture first class technical quality materials.
  • Publicity photos. A minimum of 50 different, varied and approved selected original images to be delivered on 35mm colour transparencies and on CD as High Resolution TIF files, these images to have been photographed and developed by a professional and experienced stills photographer. An itemised caption list relating to the transparencies, naming the events, action background, character, actor or crew depicted in the shot. The selection shall contain mainly major scenes and the main cast of the film as well as a few of the director and production activities. The still photographs delivered or accessed by sales agent must have full use approval, otherwise be clearly indicated as not available.
  • One line/ Short Synopsis (2 paragraphs)/ Long Synopsis (3 pages)
  • Promotional/production materials as available, copies of any and all artwork, publicity and promotional material which may have been created for the film including but not limited to production notes containing full cast/character and crew position listing and biographies of principal cast and crew, interviews, flyers and/or brochures, press books and/or press reviews, final main and end credits as they appear on the original negative.
  • Statement of all contractual screen credit obligations for the theatrical, television and video complete versions of the film to be given in paid advertising, together with a layout of the advertising copy in the form of a billing block.
  • For film and trailer, fully timed and spotted post-production dialogue continuity script containing all dialogue, narration, song vocals as well as the image and sound description corresponding to the final composite release print including the main and end titles and any sub-titles or other text that appears. If the dialog of the film contains any local colloquialisms, mannerisms or any other language other than English, the continuity is to contain a literal English translation.
  • Music cue sheet (for film and trailer) detailing all music contained in the picture (including title, composer/arrangers, publishers, copyright owners, performers, pre-recorded source references, usage category, duration and cues).
  • Electronic Press Kit (EPK) on NTSC Digital betacam with Stereo Full Mix on tracks 1&2 and Stereo Music & Effects on tracks 3&4; fully cut mixed and assembled promotional tape containing no less than 30 minutes footage of cast and crew interviews, behind the scenes footage, and ‘making of’ footage pertaining to the Film. The EPK should also contain some selected scene clips from the film, the final trailer and any available TV spots that can be used for promotional purposes. Access shall be provided to the source tapes and audio from which the EPK was edited and created.
  • DVD extra material including but not limited to any deleted scenes, actor or director’s commentary, camera, VFX, screen and audio tests etc.
  • Sample poster
  • Certificates Of Origin/Nationality.
  • Copies of all documents evidencing Chain of Title including proof of ownership, proof of payment and transfer of rights and, if Sales agent so requires, an independent legal opinion from a reputable lawyer qualified in the relevant jurisdiction confirming that the Chain of Title is satisfactory and adequate.
  • One fully-executed copy of the applicable Dolby Licenses in force and effect between the Producer and the sound laboratory(ies) in connection with the Feature & Trailer, (if applicable).
  • Copy of censorship rating (if obtained). 
  • Final shooting script.
  • Contact list for principal cast and crew.
  • Copies of all fully executed music synchronization, performance and mechanical licenses pertaining to all music contained in the film.
  • Copies of all principal cast and crew’s contracts.
  • One typewritten statement setting forth any and all nudity restrictions with respect to any actor’s services with the applicable language relating to such nudity restrictions.
  • Copies of all fully executed licenses, contracts, assignments or permissions pertaining to all musical, literary, dramatic, film clip, archive footage or photographic materials contained in the film.
  • Original signed statement relating to any and all relevant dubbing restrictions, editing restrictions and subtitling restrictions excluding advertising restrictions.
  • Original signed statement of the precise theatrical running time in feet and frames, minutes and seconds and any other relevant technical data in relation to the theatrical composite release print (reel lengths, aspect ratio, sound format).
  • Original Certificate of Producer.
  • Original Certificate of Authorship.
  • Original signed Producer’s affidavit, sworn by a duly authorized officer, confirming that all costs associated with and incidental to the production of the Film, that may in any way affect the ability of sales agent to market and distribute the Film  have been paid and that there are no liens, encumbrances or claims in respect to the Film.
  • Final Certified Cost Statement. One fully-executed original copy certified by Producer’s Chief Financial Officer as being true, correct and complete accounting of the final negative cost of the Film. This item to be delivered within two months after the date of delivery of the Film.
  • Standard Producer’s Liability Insurance (Errors and Omissions Policy) covering the Film for a period of three (3) years from delivery hereunder and with Sales agent Limited and its subsidiaries, affiliates and financiers, as requested, to be named as additional insured. Sales agent acknowledges that such insurance will only be purchased in the event that it is required by a distributor.
  • One fully-executed US Form PA Copyright Registration Certificate(s) and renewal certificate(s)for the Film and for the Screenplay. Plus evidence of filing with the US Copyright Office and evidence of payment of filing fee. These items to be delivered as soon as the same is available to the Producer, the Producer having used reasonable endeavors to obtain the same as early as possible.
  • Title Material. All non-photographic material used in the photography of the main, credit insert and end titles of the Film.
  • Original signed statement of all prior distribution and exploitation rights including under another title or with additional or cut footage in any and all media and copies or summaries of agreements currently in force with regard to any such distribution.
  • Complete copy of all residual, re-use and future payment obligations, including the final cast list as prepared by the Producer’s payroll company from which all residuals are to be calculated.
  • Guild Approvals. Written statement setting forth any and all Guilds and/or Unions which may have jurisdiction over the Film, and any and all letters of approval, notices or waivers from said Guilds or Unions.
  • TV version records and documentation. One typewritten copy of a statement setting forth in specific detail all cover shots taken for the TV version of the Film, including all dialogue changes and film cuts.
  • This post is not meant to scare you away from following your artistic dreams of making a film and having it traditionally distributed. However, the film business is a business like any other and you must be prepared for the realities of it. Every deal is different and there is no set in stone contract. Make sure your deal is assessed by a knowledgeable entertainment attorney and let them advise you on what can and should be negotiated.