Matt Gannon & Michael Sarner

Producers , In the Crease

As we all know, the film industry is a tough nut to crack and in the not so distant past successful movies required an exorbitant marketing budget and studio distribution deal. Today, however, new technologies and on-demand services, like those Matt Gannon and Michael Sarner used with CreateSpace, an Amazon.com, Inc subsidiary, allowed their debut film, "In the Crease", to become the No. 1 Sports DVD on Amazon.com and ranked No. 34 overall on Amazon.com's Top Sellers list for DVDs just a week before Christmas.

In the CreaseIn October 2006 Gannon and Sarner, two well-seasoned film studio executives who previously held positions at Fox Searchlight and United Artists, finished directing their first independent film. The duo's documentary, "In the Crease", is an eye-opening window into the world of youth sports, depicting the inspiring, true story of one young hockey team's journey to becoming national champions and the life-altering impact the sport had on the team's diverse players and their families.

In an effort to reach a worldwide family audience, Gannon and Sarner chose to bring the film directly to the DVD market with CreateSpace DVD on Demand. CreateSpace manufactures professional-quality DVDs as customers place orders, which allowed Gannon and Sarner the ability to launch the film without the high up-front costs associated with traditional distribution. The DVD on Demand service also gives filmmakers the opportunity to distribute their film in multiple formats – as a video download through Amazon UnBox, on DVD, or both – to reach an audience of millions on Amazon.com.

"We decided to bypass traditional distribution altogether and just do it ourselves with CreateSpace," said Gannon. "There's no risk and they allowed us to maintain complete control over our film as well as the entire distribution process. Filmmakers don't usually have that luxury. One of the biggest advantages of CreateSpace DVD on Demand is that it enables filmmakers like us to leverage multiple potential sales channels, from Amazon.com to our own website that seamlessly links to our CreateSpace eStore. And, because they offered all of the production, manufacturing and distribution services under one roof, we were able to focus on creating awareness for our film. We've been ecstatic with the opportunities on demand manufacturing brings, as well as the results."

Gannon and Sarner immediately took advantage of the CreateSpace service and began taking orders of the DVD on Amazon.com and through their website, while simultaneously promoting the film through an innovative grassroots marketing campaign with the governing body USA Hockey and several NHL teams. With the film now at the fingertips of an audience of millions of Amazon.com customers, monitoring in real-time the sales of the DVD as it shot up the rankings at Amazon proved to be both exciting and lucrative for Gannon and Sarner.

"The time- and money-saving inventory-free model, combined with the ability to offer 'In the Crease' on our own website, through the CreateSpace eStore, and to millions of Amazon.com shoppers, made the CreateSpace DVD on Demand service the perfect choice," said Sarner. "We've been really impressed with CreateSpace and so have our customers. They order the DVD, can receive it the next day from Amazon, and we see our profits almost as fast. Had we gone with traditional distribution, we would still be waiting for our first check. We wouldn't be where we are today without their service."

In less than two months of becoming available for pre-order on Amazon.com, "In the Crease" became Amazon.com's No. 1 Top Selling Sports DVD and reached No. 34 in sales rank on Amazon.com's Top Sellers list for DVDs. The film has hit mainstream audiences through features in publications such as Variety, Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register, Daily News, Chicago Sun-Times, Star Tribune, Mercury News, and Video Business, as well as NBCSports.com and NHL.com. Gannon and Sarner have also made television appearances on Fox Sports Net in Los Angeles and St. Louis and been interviewed on radio stations across the country including WFAN NY and XM Satellite Radio. The success of "In the Crease" is just one example among thousands of independent filmmakers using CreateSpace's inventory-free, manufacture on demand approach as their distribution solution.

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