Samara Lectures

Speakers Bureau Interview


Samara Lectures

I’ve looked everywhere for a speakers bureau that represents filmmakers on the college circuit. As mentioned in the First Workshop blog post I finally found one that represents a number of filmmakers as well as others. Beth Martin Quittman from Samara Lectures was friendly and happy to explain more about the backend of her business. My goal was to find out how she picks talent and what she does to land the gigs.

Are you a match?
Samara Lectures has no formal submission process. Just be in touch! Know they only represent people who are excellent public speakers. Prove this with your bio and a polished presentation, preferably to a live audience, like this sample reel. In other words, submitting a book or film or even a video of your Q&A session will not suffice. If you are a good match, Samara Lectures handles all booking, travel arrangements, and customer relations on your behalf, sometimes even planning blocks of gigs to optimize travel time.

How the gigs are landed:
Samara Lectures relies on Beth’s longstanding reputation and customer relationships. They do outreach at NACA (more on that in the next blogpost) but no other major publicity. Because Samara represents several speakers with varying topics, Beth listens for what the customer (college) is looking for. She then suggests a client (speaker) from her roster. This is so different from peddling a singular topic or theme. (Ask me how I know.) Other than that, the mechanics of sales and customer relations are very similar to what I teach, here for lead generation, conversion and customer relations.

Filmmaker Takeaway:
Partnering with a speakers bureau has great potential and sharing a cut may be worthwhile since a company like this offers connections and also handles a lot of the front-end admin. If this isn’t for you – do not be discouraged. Ask yourself: Is my film one that students would enjoy? Is it relevant in any academic circles? If so, the colleges WILL PAY for screenings with or without filmmaker Q&A sessions and you CAN broker these on your own. Stay tuned for more tips on how to set this up for yourself, or hire me to help kick-start the process.