Been thinking as of late that in order to start trying to recoup my massive financial outlay towards my documentary (see http://www.waterbuster.com) that maybe the only way out is to through DIY (Do It Yourself). Scary yes, but possible in this day in age.
Question to anyone on the topic. How do you formulate the price of the educational sales and who is to stop anyone from buying a retail version for educational use? Are there any decent ways to police this scenario other than to rely on people's inherent desire to do the right thing? I guess it also begs to reason that there are those who may wish to try to duplicate the DVD to tape and I'm unaware if CSS offers any protection against that practice as well as Macrovision.
In all, I'm very interested in hearing from you out there who have taken the DIY approach and what your stories are. I know that no one will ever get rich over documentaries and the educational film market, but it sure seems to beat the terrible splits that are offered by the specialty distribution companies that do this for a living. Right?
Carlos, I would strongly recommend to avoid the DIY route to distribution; especially when it comes to the educational market. Schools and Universities purchase 99.99% of their media through established distributors and the room for independent producers trying to sell directly is very limited. Instead, seek a distributor that likes your doc and specializes in your genera and you will see more rapid and lucrative results. The DIY approach to distribution is expensive and a lottery game
I find it interesting that you are looking to charge educational institutions more, or at least take advantage of the idea that through higher, multiple-viewer licensing fees, your money can be recouped faster. Unlike a video rental house, which might purchase multiple copies of a program, university media libraries typically purchase only one. So I'm not sure this is a very large piece of the pie. If you are going after that market, keep in mind that the competition is fierce and in addition to a strong product, you'll need an excellent promo packet.
FWIW Individually, most teachers have minimal to no funds available to purchase media examples for use in the classroom. As an instructor, I view the pricing of most educational media titles as a joke. Not many teachers have $75 to spend on something they will show once during the year. Educational media distributors might be succesful marketing to libraries and such, but not to individual teachers. Personally I tape in-class examples from broadcast television and order anything else I need from Borders- who provides teachers with a 15% discount.
In terms of documentaries, as you probably know it's a buyer's market. Most producers I work with secure underwriting and distribution before production. At this point, the best thing to do is to gain as much exposure and favorable reviews as possible. It's good you have two on your website, but see how many more you can get. It would be great if you could get the Voice, Times, or some large-distribution paper to write an aritcle on it.
PS The project looks interesting and I would like to watch it sometime. I did a "displaced by the dam" documentary myself a few years back. (Elkinsville: Washed Away by Progress)