In the book "Think Outside the Box Office" by John Reiss is an entire section I have been ignoring: "Sanity and the Future". The first chapter is: "Keeping Sane". Last night I took that chapter to bed with me and as I read it I must have had a hundred "AHA" moments. As in: "Wow, I'm not the only one who feels like she's working into a black abyss of self-distribution" - it was like reading confessions of a "DIY-Distributor's Anonymous" meeting. - DIYDA.
The book talks about other things the fact that creative talent hates to deal with the business side of things, but that's not even it for me. I'm a producer and I run small business and I actually very much enjoy the business side of things, but what drives me absolutely NUTS is the fact that everything moves at a glacial (as in when glaciers didn't melt yet) pace. In production decisions are made fast and you get bids, crews, equipment, answers, etc. immediately. Now everything feels like pulling teeth - and very slowly so. Consultant Peter Broderick gave me one good piece of advice: don't rush anything, take your time to decide what to do.... great advice, especially for a producer, but more than not it feels like I don't have a choice either.
I think a very obvious piece of advice and one I wish I would have gotten from the get go would be: your film is not like any other film and what worked for others will not necessarily work for you - sounds really straight forward, no? Yes, and no. There are SO MANY moving variables. Every decision you make has ramifications for other venues of distribution and some of them demand a very strict sequence of distribution, lest you shoot yourself in the foot and have your world premiere inadvertently with a small screening in a library and the big film festival you've been dreaming about will now no longer consider your film.
I would say, first and foremost: learn who likes your film; show your film: who loves your film, who responds to your film - how do different groups react? Are there common denominators with groups of people, e.g. educators, women, religious groups, professionals? LISTEN....