FDA's MOOC on film distribution, produced by moving-image education specialists, The Film Space, has course materials including reading matter, set tasks and newly recorded interviews with individuals from the film distribution sector. It also features interactive user forums and moderated discussion boards to help build a community and enhance the learning experience.

Key areas that the course explores:

WHO the target audience for a film will be. The target audience is best defined as the largest group of people who might want to go and see a film. Considerations include comparisons with recent films of a similar genre.

WHEN should the film open to give it the best chance of success? Distributors will carefully track their competitors’ release schedules, as well as all sorts of other events, aiming to ensure that they do not go head to head with similar types of film or clash with major distractions for their target audience.

HOW will distributors advertise and promote the film and how much should they spend on these activities.

WHAT sets this film apart from all the other films on release at the same time – distributors weigh up a film’s ‘selling points’ or ‘hooks’ – the stars, director, genre, awards/nominations, is it based on a major book, and many other factors.

By the end of the course you will be able to:

  • Apply your own experiences of film consumption to the methods of film distribution.
  • Identify the key decisions made in the distribution business process, and gain a greater understanding of how the UK film business operates.
  • Compare the ways in which different types of films are distributed in the UK.
  • Discuss the apparent effectiveness of different types of film campaigns.
  • Differentiate the different ways in which audiences consume films and investigate the effects that the experience of consumption have on the mode of consumption.
  • Contrast the different ways in which films are brought to the attention of potential audiences – the differences between advertising and promotion.