Self-Distribution Case Study: "Four Eyed Monsters"

The following information was compiled by cross-referencing  several articles, books, and videos on the success of the "Four Eyed Monsters" release. Watch the film on YouTube

FOUR EYED MONSTERS (2005)
by Susan Buice & Arin Crumley

Synopsis: An artist and filmmaker begin a relationship after meeting on meetsup.com, but only on one condition: they would not be allowed to speak to each other directly. 

Production Budget: (undisclosed)
≈ $100,000 (the amount of debt they incurred)

Marketing/Distro Budget: (undisclosed)
≈ $0

Source of Funds
credit cards (debt)

Marketing Strategy:
• building audience and keeping them engaged with consistent media: Video Podcast + Blog
• Social Networking on Myspace
• Audience dialogue from the very beginning (asking audience how they wanted to see the character arcs and story evolve, informed the editing process of the film)

 Source of funds: credit cards

Source of funds: credit cards

Distribution Strategy:
• ORGANIC
• premiered at Slamdance January 2005
• awards @ 2005 Brooklyn Intl FF, 2005 Newport Beach FF, 2005 SXSW FF
• no theatrical offers
• building audience with 13-episode video podcast
• CTA at the end of podcast episodes: collecting zip codes and e-mails from viewers
• Theatrical Screenings Sep 2006 – “Thursdays in September” screenings every Thursday in September in NYC, LA, SF, Seattle, Boston, Chicago – 1691 people went to see the film in September, averaging 70 people per screening
• Cinema Village releases the film Dec 1, 2006 in NYC
• Cachefly sponsorship – donated $5,000 for promotional supplies for NYC run
• NY Times reviewed the film
• 2007 Spirit Awards
• Sundance + Electric Sheep – first movie to screen in Second Life video game
• winner Undiscovered Gems Showcase – granted a theatrical release – 31 cities Valentines Day 2006 (awarded $50,000 toward theatrical release and $50,000 for TV deal with Sundance Channel)
• started selling DVDs on website
• June 2007: first ever feature film released on YouTube for free (monetized with Ad revenue)
• 1,000,000 views on YouTube in 4 months = $50,000 ad revenue
• Spout sponsorship alongside YouTube release = $46,000 
[they found a 5% turnover for engagement in sponsorship activity]
• YouTube views boosted DVD sales on website
• $30,000 DVD gross in 4-month Youtube release
• online attention landed a $100,000 Broadcast & DVD retail release
• very open and transparent, supporting releasing the film for FREE, DRM-free, open-sourcing, encouraging people to not pay for it and use and share as they wish

 "Four Eyed Monsters" editing room

"Four Eyed Monsters" editing room

Reach: 
• 1.4mil YouTube views
• 15,000 Myspace connections
• 60,000+ video podcast views per episode

Gross Profit:
• $50,000 YouTube ad revenue
• $46,000 Spout sponsorship
• $5,000 Cachefly sponsorship (for promo materials for NYC screening)
• $30,000 DVD gross (4 months of YouTube release)
• $100,000 Broadcast & DVD Release
• $50,000 Undiscovered Gems showcase award (for theatrical)
• $50,000 Undiscovered Gems showcase award (for Sundance TV deal)
• ??? Box Office Gross
• ≈$331,000+ TOTAL GROSS
• NET ≈ $231,000+

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