As far as getting pre-sale, it is the strength of the production company’s reputation, and the package of director, actors and story that will determine whether or not the distributor is willing to take the risk and pre-buy. But above all, the most important consideration is having name actors attached. At the script stage, distributors prefer to make commitments for pictures with known elements so that when the film is completed and delivered, it will be ready for distribution and can more quickly provide for the distributor to recoup its payment of the minimum guarantee and/or the costs of P&A.
From a casting standpoint – certainly, for genre films and new media platforms – where a producer might not get a key star attached, but an emerging actor with an immense social media following, this will give a distributor a huge embedded marketing tool. The ability to organically leverage talent’s social followings continues to be an effective way to reach fans and drive sales. That is why, as with press interviews and promotional appearances, conducting social media for a project is often built into actors’ contracts.