Features: How To Choose A Rep

Always ask around about the reputation of a sales agent, and
September 1, 2005

Always ask around about the reputation of a sales agent, and always look at their catalog to see if they know how to represent your type of film. If you have an exquisite little documentary about an obscure topic, certain sales agents can really sell that stuff. Other agents might take it on but bury it.
Christian Vesper, Sundance Channel

If you’re going to have a long career, you need to have a relationship with somebody who’s going to have your business interests in mind for you – somebody who believes in you and is going to give you good feedback about a lot of things, including selling a movie.

You want, as a filmmaker, to find a person who’s going to be your partner, hopefully, for the rest of your career. It’s good to start the process of figuring out who’s going to be the right person for you with your first film.
Sara Rose, Picturehouse Films

In the main, producer’s reps are great at creating a domestic u.s. deal, but they don’t know how to do international sales. At the end of the day, you’re probably still going to do 60% to 70% of your sales internationally.

If you want to return your investors’ money, you’re much better off starting from the get-go with an international sales agent. If you go with someone like a Fortissimo, they’re going to be able to give you 95% of the coverage that an agency could in the U.S., but they’ll give you 180% when it comes to selling internationally.
Hamish McAlpine, Tartan Films

It’s important to have the most informed sales team possible. Many producer’s reps think it’s all about the Rolodex. This side of the business isn’t about who you know, it’s about what you know about who you know.

If you can’t sit down with a potential sales consultant who can really convince you that they know who will buy this film and what’s going to make them want it, then you have to start doing it on your own. You’ve got to start doing a lot of research about buyers, you’ve got to get a great publicist, and you have to position your film to make it feel like something that’s commercial and similar to films that have been performing or have been popular on television.
Micah Green, Cinetic Media

About The Author
Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.