Film-Markets
Lungile Mayindi

Lungile Mayindi

Lungile is the founder & owner of Iron heart films

How to prepare to attend your first film market [ DISCOP,AFM,Cannes or DIFF]

If you’ve ever wanted to know how to prepare to go to your first film market or want to level up and be super ready for the next film market you will be attending this blog post is you.

I went to a film market a year ago. An African film market called Discop Africa in Sandton, Johannesburg . And ever since I went, a whole bunch of my friends have been texting me, asking me like, how was it? How what was the experience?Basically that’s why I decided to make this blog post.


If you’ve ever wanted to know how to prepare to go to your first film market or want to level up and be super ready for the next film market you will be attending this blog post is you.

I went to a film market a year ago. An African film market called Discop Africa in Sandton, Johannesburg . And ever since I went, a whole bunch of my friends have been texting me, asking me like, how was it? How what was the experience?Basically that’s why I decided to make this blog post.

So I went into my first film market a few months ago and this is was the Dicop Africa market in 2018. And most of my friends were asking me what was the experience like? And the biggest thing that was on the top of my mind was that film markets are hectic and crazy you need to be super prepared before you attend.

Learn how to stay creative as filmmaker

Research the Market

First of all, I think what you need to do is, do research about a film market, see if it fits your film project, if you’re trying to get financing for a film, Web series or TV show, do research about the market, see what type of companies go there, how do you get there? And obviously, if it’s in your town or a different city, try to find out what the prices are.

Buy and early bird ticket

What you should always try to do is buy an early bird ticket because markets are really expensive. So please check if there are any early bird tickets and then buy them cheaper sooner than later because you can save money.

Take advantage of the meetings on demand platform

There’s a section called meeting on demand,so basically, it’s like a platform for you to meet people from different companies. You can request a meeting on the on demand platform way before you go to the market and also through the discop market database, you can see which companies are going to be attending that market and set up a meeting with a TV broadcaster or a producer.So this platform is really cool because you get to find the companies that you think would like your project and research and see what type of content they’re looking for, whether it’s the Homechannel, a lifestyle or a music channel. You can go and do research because it’s really important to do research to see if they’ll fit your content,. It’s a really great platform because also the chances of you getting a meeting with these people, is sometimes very slim in the outside world but much much more easier at the DISCOP, which is a market literally made for marketing, selling and producing content.

Be ready to Pitch

Everyone there is there to buy and sell. And when it comes to pitching, you don’t really have a lot of time when you are pitching your projects. So you have to be prepared down to the tee. So what i mean by preparing is that you need to have a one sheet of your film project. So a one sheet is like a one page containing a budget for your project, synopsis, timeline and project specs. It’s literally one page. You can add pictures and text, You can give it to that person that you’re pitching to. Once you get to that meeting, you have three minutes to tell them about your project, because remember, they’re trying to buy content concepts ,they don’t really have a lot of time to listen to you blab on too long about your your concept. So keep it short ,three minutes tops, tell them what your concept is and then wait for them to ask you questions like what’s your budget? What what kind of work have you worked on? Can I see it? answer them and assure them And then the main key of that first meeting is to try to get second meeting. That is key because you need to have a goal of what you want to get out of the meeting. And also, you don’t wanna waste another person’s time.

Dress up and make good impressions

You also want to dress appropriately, be formal, be professional or smart casual, whichever way you prefer, but just make sure that you make a very good first impression because first impressions last as we all know .

Making movies is a business

And another thing that I learned from that Discop market is that filmmaking is a business ,I’ve always thought about filmmaking way to be creative and tell stories ,but what I realized is that making movies is a real serious business. And when I got there, there were like many many marketing stalls different TV channels, busy selling content. They were trying to get you to license their content, or to make you buy the rights to their content and they had catalogs and catalogs of content 70 episode x 52 minute series, Soapies with over 300 episodes.

What i learned

So what I learned from it is that if you make a movie, whether you gonna produce it or you haven’t produced it or you’ve produced the whole movie, you need to have a finance plan , basically an idea on how you’re going to make that money back. And one of the most shocking things that I’ve learned is that some channels pay you like a hundred dollars per hour to license your content and that’s not a lot , its a straight up rip off.

Licensing deals are tricky

Imagine having given your movie your all and paid a lot of money, maybe like 50 K or a higher than that and then finding out licensing your movie would be around 100 dollars. This is obviously like the lowest amount, you know, that you can possibly get. But that just shocked me to the core.. How can someone pay a 100 dollars for content and this is non-exclusive deal.This was just one broadcaster, one deal with one broadcaster.But how many broadcasters are you going to license it with to make a decent return? And when are you going to break even? And how much money you make from the film ? these were all the thoughts running through my head.

So i learned that I need to know how much I will make him well before I make a movie, because I don’t want to just make movies and not make money. But it was that really like mind blowing experience for me.

So it was a good learning experience. And I think, yeah, know the biggest thing also that I learned is that you always have to have business cards , and a lot of them,because markets are like networking marathons. The are so many people that you would never really meet in your everyday life.

You want a hand out as many business cards as possible, meet as many people as possible and build relationships. There were so many people with many business cards and I didn’t have any business cards at that point. So I felt like a little bit of a bum. That was hard pill to swallow. Anyway i hope this article has been helpful and i hope that you learnt something and eventually you will learn to take advantage of the next film market you attend in the future.

Written by

Lungile Mayindi



So I went into my first film market a few months ago and this is was the Dicop Africa market in 2018. And most of my friends were asking me what was the experience like? And the biggest thing that was on the top of my mind was that film markets are hectic and crazy you need to be super prepared before you attend.

Research the Market

First of all, I think what you need to do is, do research about a film market, see if it fits your film project, if you’re trying to get financing for a film, Web series or TV show, do research about the market, see what type of companies go there, how do you get there? And obviously, if it’s in your town or a different city, try to find out what the prices are.

Buy and early bird ticket

What you should always try to do is buy an early bird ticket because markets are really expensive. So please check if there are any early bird tickets and then buy them cheaper sooner than later because you can save money.

Take advantage of the meetings on demand platform

There’s a section called meeting on demand,so basically, it’s like a platform for you to meet people from different companies. You can request a meeting on the on demand platform way before you go to the market and also through the discop market database, you can see which companies are going to be attending that market and set up a meeting with a TV broadcaster or a producer.So this platform is really cool because you get to find the companies that you think would like your project and research and see what type of content they’re looking for, whether it’s the Homechannel, a lifestyle or a music channel. You can go and do research because it’s really important to do research to see if they’ll fit your content,. It’s a really great platform because also the chances of you getting a meeting with these people, is sometimes very slim in the outside world but much much more easier at the DISCOP, which is a market literally made for marketing, selling and producing content.

Be ready to Pitch

Everyone there is there to buy and sell. And when it comes to pitching, you don’t really have a lot of time when you are pitching your projects. So you have to be prepared down to the tee. So what i mean by preparing is that you need to have a one sheet of your film project. So a one sheet is like a one page containing a budget for your project, synopsis, timeline and project specs. It’s literally one page. You can add pictures and text, You can give it to that person that you’re pitching to. Once you get to that meeting, you have three minutes to tell them about your project, because remember, they’re trying to buy content concepts ,they don’t really have a lot of time to listen to you blab on too long about your your concept. So keep it short ,three minutes tops, tell them what your concept is and then wait for them to ask you questions like what’s your budget? What what kind of work have you worked on? Can I see it? answer them and assure them And then the main key of that first meeting is to try to get second meeting. That is key because you need to have a goal of what you want to get out of the meeting. And also, you don’t wanna waste another person’s time.

Dress up and make good impressions

You also want to dress appropriately, be formal, be professional or smart casual, whichever way you prefer, but just make sure that you make a very good first impression because first impressions last as we all know .

Making movies is a business

And another thing that I learned from that Discop market is that filmmaking is a business ,I’ve always thought about filmmaking way to be creative and tell stories ,but what I realized is that making movies is a real serious business. And when I got there, there were like many many marketing stalls different TV channels, busy selling content. They were trying to get you to license their content, or to make you buy the rights to their content and they had catalogs and catalogs of content 70 episode x 52 minute series, Soapies with over 300 episodes.

What i learned

So what I learned from it is that if you make a movie, whether you gonna produce it or you haven’t produced it or you’ve produced the whole movie, you need to have a finance plan , basically an idea on how you’re going to make that money back. And one of the most shocking things that I’ve learned is that some channels pay you like a hundred dollars per hour to license your content and that’s not a lot , its a straight up rip off.

Licensing deals are tricky

Imagine having given your movie your all and paid a lot of money, maybe like 50 K or a higher than that and then finding out licensing your movie would be around 100 dollars. This is obviously like the lowest amount, you know, that you can possibly get. But that just shocked me to the core.. How can someone pay a 100 dollars for content and this is non-exclusive deal.This was just one broadcaster, one deal with one broadcaster.But how many broadcasters are you going to license it with to make a decent return? And when are you going to break even? And how much money you make from the film ? these were all the thoughts running through my head.

So i learned that I need to know how much I will make him well before I make a movie, because I don’t want to just make movies and not make money. But it was that really like mind blowing experience for me.

So it was a good learning experience. And I think, yeah, know the biggest thing also that I learned is that you always have to have business cards , and a lot of them,because markets are like networking marathons. The are so many people that you would never really meet in your everyday life.

You want a hand out as many business cards as possible, meet as many people as possible and build relationships. There were so many people with many business cards and I didn’t have any business cards at that point. So I felt like a little bit of a bum. That was hard pill to swallow. Anyway i hope this article has been helpful and i hope that you learnt something and eventually you will learn to take advantage of the next film market you attend in the future.

Written by

Lungile Mayindi

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