Industry expert Daniel Marquet from Groupe Un discussed the “very fragile balance” that existed between producers and sales agents and called for greater teamwork between the two at a Masterclass titled ‘Reaching the world – introduction to film sales’ staged at the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF).
Marquet commented that the average picture in the US cost $50 million to distribute — $30 million to release in the US and $20 million outside the US.
At the class, he reminded filmmakers that agents' priority was to sell films “to a handful of distributors and not the public”.
He also urged industry executives to learn foreign languages, so that they could “turn into cultural chameleons depending on where they were visiting”.
“The agent’s job is to give the film the best distribution. But a good agent is somebody who clearly has an idea of what your picture is about – if you have a discrepancy here, you will have problems later on,” he warned
He added that commission structures vary, ranging anything between 5-35%, with rates starting low for surefire hits and rising for less well-known works where sales may be more challenging. He also reiterated that the key period for all parties was the pre-release stage.
“We are in the business of selling dreams – and the most appropriate time to sell a picture is before it is produced,” he concluded.