by Jihan Achkar
Filmmaker Question: I want to sell a documentary movie that won awards to Arabic TV stations. How do I present it, what questions should I ask and how much do I charge for it?
Recommended: Documentary Proposal Template / Pitch Deck Template
Answer: Have you considered contacting a sales agent? These people already have relationships with various television outlets. They will know how much your film is worth and can negotiate deals for you. You pay these agents a percentage of the sale -- usually about 10%, or 15% if they are a lawyer.
So how do you find a sales agent?
Very simply, ask around. Call up other documentary filmmakers who's films have sold to the networks and streamers you want to approach. Ask them how they did it.
You could even contact the Channel or Streamer and ask them to share with you their guidelines on how they choose programs.. or to recommend sales agents that they have relationships with.
It's important to interview several agents and make sure you choose someone who seems to truly care about your project. Find a law firm that specializes in entertainment.
Find a database of sales agents in our Documentary Sales & Distribution Course.
The below resources are highly recommended to learn more about the distribution process and how to sell your film:
Netflix 2023: Selling To NETFLIX & The Streamers! Do you have a great documentary idea or an amazing series you know Netflix would love? This resource-packed course gives you everything you need to know to win a Netflix or Streamer deal. Includes 950+ searchable Netflix database, pitch deck sample, live Q&As and much more!
Documentary Sales & Distribution: The Ultimate Guide For Selling Your Documentary For Maximum Profit & Impact - A perfect complement with the Netflix Course. Learn how to generate multiple streams of income with your documentary.
Documentary Success Stories: 50 Case Studies - Get a roadmap of success for your own documentary by learning how other top filmmakers navigated the complex world of production, film financing and distribution. Get inside strategies & data from 50+ award-winning documentaries and unscripted projects.