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Total Transparency: How Much a $100K Film REALLY Generates w / Liz Manashil

Episode 196: Total Transparency: How Much Revenue a $100K Film REALLY Generates with Liz Manashil

Have you ever wondered how much revenue a real indie film can make in the marketplace? Wouldn't you like to see the real and raw numbers for a nontheatrical film with no major film festival premieres? Today's guest has been brave enough to do just that. Filmmaker Liz Manashil decided to open up the accounting books on her debut feature film Bread and Butter, starring SNL's Bobby Moynihan and Lauren Lapkus.

Liz Manashil earned her B.A. in Film and Media Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, and her M.F.A. from USC's School of Cinematic Arts. Post graduation, Liz spent several years as a film critic for the PBS/Hulu series JUST SEEN IT (which she also helped produce and direct). Overlapping this, Liz worked with distribution guru Peter Broderick.

Her debut feature, Bread and Butter, was called “an absolute must-watch for women everywhere” by HelloGiggles. It was released by The Orchard and can be seen on VOD nearly everywhere (including Hulu!). Liz is currently in pre-production on her next feature film, SPEED OF LIFE, and lives in Los Angeles with her dog, Laura Palmer, and her partner, Sean Wright. She is the Manager of Sundance Institute’s Creative Distribution Initiative.

Here's the breakdown (taken from her amazing article on Moviemaker Magazine:

Our film, Bread and Butter, is a digital success. A digital success you’ve never heard of.

Let’s break it down.

Our film cost $100,000 to make

We grossed $96,000 a little bit more than a year into our release (and we’re still making deals)

Our distributor did have a marketing spend but we invested in no other resources outside of that (other than me running our social media campaigns and newsletter)

We got two airline deals, two SVOD deals, and decent promotion of transactional and cable VOD

We’re operating in the black with the distributor’s marketing spend and heading toward eventual recoupment in terms of our expenses

In an age where people debate the utility of making independent feature films, there is hope.

I had a ball speaking to Liz and we get into the weeds on traditional distribution and self-distribution. If you want to sell you film in the marketplace perk up your ears and take some notes. Enjoy my conversation with Liz Manashil.
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