What is a Film or Television Screener?

A distributor wants me to send the screener to my video. What exactly is a screener?

Amanda in Texas asks:

“A distributor wants me to send the screener to my video. What exactly is a screener?”

We get asked that question many times. The short answer is a screener is a finished copy of your project, completely edited.

It is much more complicated in terms of selling your video. The screener is your shot at a signing a deal.

Be precise on how you prepare your film or television screener or some distribution companies will accept a partially finished screener. DON’T DO THAT! I would never send out a project partially finished. This decreases your odd dramatically of getting signed. Be cautious of companies that say that, they may have little to no standards. You don’t want to sign with a company that puts out crap. You will make no money with them.

A good screener is the final edit of your project.

This is how we prepare our screeners and have our clients prepare theirs for us to pitch.

  1. Make sure that the film or television screener it’s clearly marked with a graphic at the beginning and at the end of the with your contact information.
  2. The most important part is always ‘watermark’ your screener. With your logo or bug in the corner of the screen. Or a line of text along the bottom of the screen that says property of (your name) promotional screener only!
  3. Your screener needs to be uploaded and password-protected on a site like Vimeo or YouTube. I know of dozens of films that have been stolen from sites that have no identification or watermark.
  4. Lastly only send your screener to your direct contact person not to an info mailbox or just a general mailbox.

NEVER just send out a film or television screener in bulk to distributors. All distributors trash unsolicited materials. Sending a screener that’s not watermarked means you’ll soon find it playing on Pirate Bay. Then, No distributor will buy it.

ONLY send your screener to the person that requested it! Even after doing all that the distributor will only watch the first five minutes of your screener, that’s it. Make sure you make a good impression quickly.

Thanks for the question, Amanda!

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