Question for

I am planning a trip to AFM this year to sell a horror film I shot late last year. What do I need to do to sell my project at the market this year?

Answer by Brandon Blake, Entertainment Lawyer:

With AFM starting November 2 this year, you are cutting it short in terms of market preparation time. However, even with this short notice there are some things that you can do to get market attention at AFM. I have represented more than 50 feature film and television series over the last 16 years and regularly consult on film distribution for clients so I have picked up a few tricks over the years. Find out more about me at

The following is a guerrilla guide to making the most of AFM at the last minute. A lot of these points are also great ideas for preparation for other markets. The major markets to hit during the year include Berlin, Hong Kong Filmart, Cannes, Toronto, Busan and of course AFM, so these tips can come in handy all year round.


If you hurry you can still get a little discount off of the cost of a pass. AFM is strategically held over a weekend this year, so you can’t go wrong with Saturday and Sunday. You can usually write off the last two days of the market, unless you like to look at piles of empty boxes and empty booths. Most conferences and screenings are a distraction, so just plan around your meetings.


Get a map to the market floor. The layout of the AFM is a complete mess, so figure out where all the offices are before you go. Don’t get caught studying your market guide Saturday morning when you should be selling your film. Spend every day between now and November 2nd scheduling meetings.


The days of 50 pound boxes of press kits are thankfully over. Keep the printed, bound, and laminated items to a minimum. Today people expect to get one powerful image that will drive viewers to an excellent website, online screener and social media presence. My firm can consult on how to maximize marketing and promotion strategies.


Less but higher quality marketing materials is the key. Usually film and television producers spend all their time on the footage, and none of the time on the marketing. But the first thing buyers see is the marketing material! Marketing sells movies. That is true for big budget feature films and SAG Ultra Low Budget projects too.


Yes, it’s official. The fan base for a movie matters. Cast, marketing, and concept all come together to either produce a great social media presence, or not. So make sure the social media campaign is as professional as the website and graphics.


Be able to explain why the movie is awesome and deserves a view in five seconds. Literally, that is how long you have to sell a buyer on your movie. Do not expect a movie to speak for itself. The movie cannot sell without eyeballs to watch it, and the only way to get that valuable eyeball time is to make the film or television project irresistible within five seconds.


No matter how many introductions you make at the market, the market is just the beginning. Film sales is about follow up. Keep the conversation going.

Feel free to contact my office about distribution and market consulting. From marketing, to negotiation of sales and distribution agreements, I have been representing filmmakers at markets for 16 years.

As with any entertainment matter, please do not make a decision about complex issues without consulting an experienced entertainment lawyer first. Feel free to contact my office at about a quote.

- By Brandon Blake, Entertainment Lawyer