Stacy Peralta Does Something New, Again, With Direct-To-Fan Release via Topspin Media

You know that indie narrative or documentary film you’re working on?

You know how odds are it probably won’t get a massive all-rights sale at Sundance or another market festival?

Well, don’t worry about it. In fact, you may just want to celebrate it.

I’ve had what seems like hundreds of independent filmmakers tell me over the years that they sold their films at a festival and never received another cent in royalties. Apparently skateboarding godfather and documentary filmmaker Stacy Peralta ( Dogtown And Z-Boys, Riding Giants) is now saying the same thing.

So, with his latest film, Bones Brigade: An Autobiography, Peralta opted to retain the rights and distribute the film direct-to-fans. This isn’t the first time Peralta has done something new with his documentaries. Dogtown was made possible by financing from shoe and apparel brand Vans.

This time, Peralta picked some partners, such as Topspin Media, and lo and behold, less than a year after the movie’s festival premiere it is in profit and he still has the copyright – meaning, he’ll continue to see revenues on future sales.

It’s similar in spirit to what Louis C.K. did with his standup comedy special Live At The Beacon, albeit more intricate.

Read all about it at Topspin. It is a long, detailed post and very valuable. Perhaps especially interesting to filmmakers is the model the post lays out – and to marketers where author Bob Moczydlowsky, SVP, Product & Marketing, breaks down the stats on sales values for social sharing.

Here’s a very brief excerpt with the very high-level explanation of how the Bones Brigade campaign rolled out and became successful:


  1. Free downloads build a marketing database for the film.
  2. Database and social sharing then drive to the sale of theatrical tickets and exclusive pre-order of ultra-premium, high-margin products sold directly on the film’s website. This direct pre-order window overlaps with the traditional theatrical window.
  3. The pre-order ends the same day the film is available on Transactional VOD. Database and social sharing from the film’s direct purchasers then drive more fans to iTunes/VOD and DVD on release date.

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