Self-Distribution Case Study: "Indie Game the Movie"

The following information was compiled from cross-referencing many articles, books, and the Indie Game the Movie website. See reference list below for further reading. Watch the film on their website.

INDIE GAME THE MOVIE(2012)
by Lisanne Pajot & James Swirsky

Synopsis:
A documentary that follows the journeys of indie game developers as they create games and release those works, and themselves, to the world. 

Production Budget
$94,676 (2x Kickstarters)
$150,000 total from pre-orders + Kickstarter 

Marketing/Distro Budget:(undisclosed) 
$150,000 total from pre-orders (including both Kickstarter campaigns)
A few sponsors (Adobe, IFC, Hotdocs, Steam, etc.)

Source of Funds
• 2X Kickstarter campaigns
• web pre-sales
• personal savings
• No investors (net profits reinvested into the movie or into filmmakers’ pockets)

Marketing Strategy: 
• 2 people building the audience while making the film (2-3 years)
• “Leveraging accessible technology tools and early audience engagement…” (indiegamethemovie.com)
• “Think like a fan” philosophy: audience responding, frequent blogging (182 posts), video extras (88 minutes), audience involvement (pre-orders, crowd-funding)
• social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube)
• “The tour was instrumental in building enthusiasm for the film and the release” (indiegamethemovie.com)
• Only 42% of the time was spent making the film (the rest marketing and distributing)
• no advertising dollars spent on tour, but worked with two PR agencies in NY for theatrical run

 (IndieGameTheMovie.com)

(IndieGameTheMovie.com)

Distribution Strategy:
• First collecting DVD pre-orders throughout production (2-3 years)
• piggy-backing off of the momentum and buzz from press and festivals, released very quickly after Sundance Screening (3 months compared to the normal 6-9 months)
• Screening Tour (March–May 2012, 15 cities, 23 screenings, avg 700 people per screening, that they showed up to in person, sponsored by Adobe)
• Theatrical Run (May–July 2012, 5+ markets through IFC)
• One-night only theatrical event in Canada (May 3 2012, broadcasted to 37 theaters through HotDocs Fest, followed by a live satellite Q&A to 2000 viewers)
• International Screenings (March–ongoing)100+ community & festival screenings in 25+ countries
• Festivals (March–ongoing, after Sundance, SXSW, Hotdocs, 30+ others)
• Digital release (June 12 2012 on iTunes, VHX, and first-ever film on Steam)
• Online expansion (July 12 2012 to Amazon, VuDu, YouTube, PS3, Xbox, etc.)
• Netflix Streaming (Oct 1 2012)

 (IndieGameTheMovie.com)

(IndieGameTheMovie.com)

Reach: 
• 29,049 Facebook likes
• 27,200 Twitter followers
• 30,000 e-mail list
• 10,000 personal e-mails replied to
• 2,784 fan e-mails replied to after the original June 12 release
• 3,000+ screening requests
• 1.3 million views of behind the scenes footage on YouTube
• Debuted at 2012 Sundance and won “Best Editing”
• Worldwide screenings – 25 countries, 100+ international community screenings, 30+ festivals
• IGTM reached #1 in documentary on iTunes, #14 of all movies on iTunes
• IGTM reached #7 of all games on Steam 
• In June (release period),indiegamethemovie.com got 165,000 unique visitors 

Gross Profit(undisclosed)
• 29% Tour + Theatrical ≈ $200,000–$250,000 (≈ 20% Theatrical, ≈ 80% Tour)
• 58% Digital ≈ $400,000–$500,000 (41% Steam, 30% iTunes, 29% VHX)
• 13% Broadcast ≈ $89,660–$112,070
• ≈ $689,660–$862,070 TOTAL GROSS PROFIT
• Net ≈ $539,660–$712,070

Any other self-distribution cases you know about? Comment below!
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