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Public Television Screening Agreement with NETA

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Marc KornblattPublic Television Screening Agreement with NETA
by on Aug 29, 2016 at 7:59:42 pm

I'm looking for advice about signing an agreement with the National Educational Television Association (NETA), which has expressed interest in distributing my new documentary to public television stations. They are offering me no licensing fee.

On the contrary, the screening of my film would be free to all NETA members, and the association would charge me a $250 handling fee. NETA would also require me to invest considerable time, and expense, under a very tight deadline in order to meet their broadcast requirements. That means shortening the film and cutting profanity (it's a political movie related to the presidential election). It also means providing close-captioning and exporting the film in the proper format, two tasks that, I, not the most technically savvy director, will have to farm out.

The film is currently under consideration at film festivals across the country. Festivals typically stipulate that a film seen on television in their area is not eligible for selection. I won't mind missing out on most of the festivals, but there are a few that are more prestigious that I would be sorry to skip, especially since the Public Television deal would bring no renumeration. Is it worth the hassle and expense to sign on with NETA? Thanks, in advance, for your thoughts.

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Mark SuszkoRe: Public Television Screening Agreement with NETA
by on Aug 29, 2016 at 9:14:23 pm

Sounds like a poor deal the way you describe it. The only upside on the NETA side might be the larger potential audience. Think of the NETA opportunity as if it were one of the festivals, weigh the possible networking connections and publicity versus touring the festival circuit exclusively.

Also, what kind of shelf life does the film have in terms of being topical after November? That may be an even more important question.

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Marc KornblattRe: Public Television Screening Agreement with NETA
by on Aug 29, 2016 at 9:26:15 pm

Thanks. Your reasoning is consistent with mine. People who have seen my doc have told me they believe the film has a shelf life, but because it's related to the election, it has particular appeal right now.

The exposure, assuming public stations across the country pick it up, will probably be better than what I've typically gotten on the film festival circuit in the past. (If I was in at Sundance, Toronto, Tribeca or Cannes, it would be another story.) So, the next time I look for funding, it may be easier.

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Todd TerryRe: Public Television Screening Agreement with NETA
by on Aug 29, 2016 at 9:37:15 pm

Ummm.... can you explain to me what you would get out of this?

From what I take away from the original post it's a distribution deal that pays you nothing, actually costs you money, and considerable time and effort and hoops to jump through, and negates the possibility of festival participation.

What am I missing? Why would anyone consider doing this??


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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