Meet Jeremy Baum, head of theatrical sales for Icon Film Distribution, who told us all about what it’s like working in film distribution.
Jeremy Baum is in charge of sales strategy at Icon Film Distribution. He’s the guy who gets films distributed around cinemas for you to see and enjoy and without people like Jeremy, films would get made but you wouldn’t get to see them! Jeremy sets the release dates, communicates with cinemas and exhibitors, then he negotiates how much they should pay to show the films. He also organises showings of film trailers and previews and has to forecast box-office figures and he loves working in film distribution.
Jeremy told us:
“Although film distribution is essentially a ‘behind the scenes’ job, the role of head of theatrical sales brings me into contact with some big names and I’ve met many, including Tom Cruise, Will Smith, Ridley Scott and Don Johnson.”
Some young people know exactly what they want to do from an early age and Jeremy felt this way too. “I was always passionate about film and knew at an early age that I wanted to work specifically in film distribution. At the age of 14 I found myself a work experience placement with 20th Century Fox.”
After studying for his GCSEs, Jeremy did a BTEC Diploma in Media Studies and again found himself some relevant work experience, this time with Rank Screen Advertising. After leaving college he found himself a job as a runner for a post-production house and then went on to work for movie-making giants, Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros.
Often seen as an industry where it’s a case of who you know and not what you know, Jeremy is keen to dispel this myth about the film industry, saying:
“When I started out, I had no contacts at all but this didn’t put me off. I wrote hundreds of letters and persevered. I love the job that I have, I feel very appreciative and I cannot envisage doing anything else.”
Jeremy’s advice to anyone out there interested in working in film distribution is, “Put yourself out there. There are plenty of opportunities to work as a runner and lots of different routes into the industry. The one common theme though is this – be prepared to work hard. The hours are long, the pay is poor and a can-do attitude is vital but if you prove your worth, the reward is a career in a wonderfully creative industry, working with great teams and movie stars.”
Icon Film Distribution is one of the UK’s leading independent film distributors, with a library of over 200 titles, including: Paranormal Activity, The Babadook and most recently, It Follows.