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Indie Producer Blog
Steven Sprung Written by Steven Sprung
Oct. 16, 2011 | 7:41 PM

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DISPATCH Premiere at Hollywood Film Festival

Well, it has been a long journey since our last Film Radar Indie Blog post, but DISPATCH is finally getting its moment in the sun. To kick off our DVD and cable distribution deals, DISPATCH is having its World Premiere at the Hollywood Film Festival; Sunday, October 23 @ 7pm at the ArcLight Theater in Hollywood.

In the year-plus since we completed DISPATCH, I have become more a lawyer than a filmmaker. But that seems to be par for the course these days in the truly-independent film world. If you are lucky enough (as we are) to get distribution for your film, that comes with a lot of baggage- contracts, music cue-sheets, insurance, key art, dubs, closed captioning, etc. Tasks that the distributors used to handle are now the responsibility of the filmmakers. The tough part is that we also have to incur all the expenses for these ‘deliverables’ while receiving little to no up-front compensation. So the business model for truly-independent filmmakers appears to be completely inside out. The vendors are billing us as if we are a big studio or a distributor; the distributors are only interested in taking our product if we practically give it away. And right here in the middle, we stand as lawyer/filmmakers, paying to have our films shown.

For example, we prepared for shooting by paying to get a title search report and copyright report. But nobody informed us that there is a 30-90 day expiration on this report. By the time the film was done and we were ready to license it for distribution, we had to go back to the clearance company and get another report (for an additional fee). This is required so that we could take out an E&O insurance policy. We then were informed by the insurance company that we needed an ‘opinion letter’ to clear the title, because apparently there were some short films that had the same name as ours. So, for several hundred dollars more, we got an ‘opinion letter’.

We’re still waiting to hear if we need to do a new sound mix (for several thousand dollars) with the dialogue stripped out (M&E mix) in order to comply with the delivery requirements of a major cable network that is going to license our film.

Don’t get me wrong. I am excited about this and all the other positive response we are getting for our work. We have had some really notable people say wonderful things about the film. And in addition to this major cable network (which we will be announcing later this year), in the coming months, DISPATCH will also be available to buy on Unfortunately, in order to get on Netfilx, we need to have an unspecified number of people saving us to their Netfilx Queue- if we can even get in their database in the first place.

I am able to say that it was worth the work. I just don’t know that I will ever do it this way again. Next time I will get as many name actors as I can at the lowest price possible… or just shoot it true guerilla-style on a couple of DSLRs… or BOTH! But somebody still has to show me how to get my film shown on decent platforms without spending untold months and money to complete all these ‘deliverables’.

For details about DISPATCH at the Hollywood Film Festival screening on Sunday, October 23, 2011, and to watch the trailer, etc., please visit

Hope you can make it.

Steven Sprung
Writer/Director, DISPATCH

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