UPDATE: I was asked to delete the interview with ex-employee Neil Ames by the guest. It seems that Neil did, in fact, sign an NDA. This was confirmed by GlassRatner (company taking over Distribber)
Ex-Distribber Employee Speaks Out with Neil Ames
After months of rumors and gossip about what really happened behind the scenes of, now bankrupt, film aggregator Distribber an ex-employee comes forward to set the record straight. Today’s guest is Neil Ames, former Vice President of Accounts at Distribber.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I worked with Neil closely with my film This is Meg when I submitted it to Distribber. At the time I had a great experience with him and Distribber back in 2017. I even had him on the show before to discuss how to get your film to Netflix. I have since deleted ALL episodes of any guests from Distribber.
Oh, what a couple of years does. As many of you know Distribber went under in the fall of 2019 and left thousands of filmmakers dangling in the wind. Not only did Distribber owe filmmakers millions of dollars in fees and commissions that were never paid, but they also locked up access to filmmakers’ films so it was extremely difficult to gain control of their titles. For a full explanation of the Distribber debacle click on the links below.
- IFH 345: Distribber Bankrupt? How to Protect Yourself
- IFH 346: Do Film Aggregators Make Sense Anymore? + Distribber Downfall Update
- Distribber UPDATE: How to Get BACK Control of Your Indie Film!
- IFH 352: The Inside Story About Distribber Downfall, Film Aggregators and a Warning with Joe Dain
- BONUS EPISODE: Major Distribber/Go Digital Bankruptcy UPDATE!
The mainstream press picked up the story and ran with it. Here are a few of the media outlets that cover the Distribber debacle.
Recently Neil decided to open a new film aggregation business to try to repair his reputation and help filmmakers. He states that he didn’t know what was going on at Distribber and he was as blindsided as everyone else. I reached out to Neil when I heard this news and said to him…
“What the HELL are you think Neil?”
Neil told me he saw the mistakes Distribber made in their business model and wanted to create something to fix that and help filmmakers. As you can imagine there has been a lot of bad feelings from filmmakers towards anyone who worked are Distribber. I personally know some filmmakers that lost over $250,000+ because of Distribber and it’s management team.
Neil asked if he could come on the show to clear the air and tell his side of the story. Since I broke the Distribber story last fall Neil has been attacked and threatened online by disgruntle filmmakers who have been affected by Distribber’s disgusting behavior. Neil lost a new job because of his connection to Distribber and, like any former employee of Distribber, has become a leper in the indie filmmaking community.
When the Distribber story broke I created a Facebook Group Protect Yourself From Distribber which is now called Protect Yourself from Predatory Film Distributors/Aggregators. The community has become an oasis for filmmakers to help each other through the shark-infested waters of film distribution. As you can imagine, when the group found out I was going to interview Neil tensions were high. Neil agreed to answer any questions the group asked, as well as some I had for him.
I know not everyone will be happy with this episode or the answers Neil gives but at least he has the balls to come on the show and take the heat, unlike other ex-employees who will remain nameless but they know who they are. There is a TON of angry and disgusted indie filmmakers out there who were affected by Distribber and it’s horrible actions.
I know many filmmakers are out for blood and I understand completely. I too was taken for thousands of dollars by the bastards who ran Distribber. Video essays have sprung up online discuss the impact that Distribber had on filmmaker’s lives.
This will be the most divisive episode in the history of the show but I truly hope it does help in some way. I personally think the way Neil handle the situation was wrong and we talk about that for sure. Neil states that
“Working for Distribber has ruined my life and career.”
If you were affected by the Distribber bankruptcy then you need to listen to this episode. Prepare yourself, sparks might fly on this one.
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- Facebook Group: Protect Yourself from Predatory Film Distributors/Aggregators
- The Death of Traditional Film Distribution
- The Dark Underbelly of Predatory Film Distributors – BEWARE!
- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business
- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: FREE AUDIOBOOK
- $1 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)
- The Complete Indie Film Producing Workshop with Suzanne Lyons (COUPON CODE: IFHFILMPRODUCE)
- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business (FREE AUDIOBOOK)
- Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Filmmaking Story) (FREE AUDIOBOOK)
REAL-WORLD STREAMING FILM EDUCATION
- Indie Film Hustle TV (Streaming Real-World Film Education)
- Hollywood Film School: Filmmaking & TV Directing Masterclass
- Filmmaker in a Box – Learn How to Make an Indie Film – 18 Hours+ of Lessons
- DSLR Filmmaking Masterclass
- Storytelling Blueprint: Hero’s Two Journeys
- The Dialogue Series: 38 hours of Lessons from Top Hollywood Screenwriters
- IFH Academy – Exclusive Filmtrepreneur Training
- Indie Film Hustle® Podcast
- Bulletproof Screenwriting® Podcast
- Filmtrepreneur™ Podcast
- FreeFilmBook.com (Download Your FREE Filmmaking Audio Book)
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Stuff You Need in Your Life:
IFHTV: Indie Film Hustle TV
IFH Academy: Exclusive Filmtrepreneur Training
Book: Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: How to Turn Your Film into a Moneymaking Business
Book: Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Filmmaking Story)
FREE 3-Part Indie Film Producing Video Series