Archive for the ‘marketing’ Category

I never liked you, and I always will.*

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Over on Voce Communications, Movie Marketing Madness mogul Chris Thilk considers the ramifications of a world with only positive feedback. Big brands are in his eyeline, but as independent artists, it is worth considering the opportunities we offer our audiences to interact and engage when we tell them things about what we are doing. Too often there is a one-way flow of information, partly because that was the old standard model (i.e. things like press releases, putting up posters, even sending out email) and partly because of our suspicion that we don’t have the resources to manage a lot on incoming traffic.

With more options in social media to become anti-social, it’s useful to make a conscious effort to look for options in blogging, Twitter or Facebook that allow more engagement- not just with us, but with other people interested in our work. In other words, the more we can allow people to find each other through their interest in what we do, the more what we do will be easy and remunerative for us. That was the initial strength of social media. We can continue to build and expand collaboratively rather than get dulled by “Like” buttons.

*Quote by Samuel Goldwyn

Do you need a Producer of Distribution?

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

There is a new job in the film world (relatively new; I held the position in 2006 and I was not alone). A production hires a Producer of Distribution & Marketing to substitute for or in some cases enhance a distributor’s marketing team.

As championed by theatrical marketing wiz Jon Reiss, the PDM starts early in production, building an audience through viral marketing and establishing relationships with potential fans and supporters.

A PDM may sound like a blessing or a redundancy depending on where your strengths and interests lie as filmmaker. If you hate the very idea of marketing, tweeting, or going to networking events, a good PDM can be a godsend. They will shape your marketing strategy and perhaps even give you clarity on your film’s overall message and direction by asking good questions about what audience it will serve.

If you actually enjoy thinking about the marketing strategy for your film and have a handle on who its core audience may be, a PDM may be an expensive option when a few hours with a consultant and a few well-chosen interns could serve as an effective alternative.

Creative and individualized marketing does take experience, work, and inspiration, but there is no boilerplate solution, in new distribution or old.

Here’s Jon advocating the position:

SXSW Panels for your consideration

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

As filmmakers face all kinds of challenges, I have two very different panels in the SXSW Panel Picker hoping for your vote.

Broadband Issues for Content Makers helps film and video makers understand some of the issues around Broadband and ‘Net Neutrality’ and how they specifically impact independent producers.

Live! Nude! Audience!
takes YOUR submission to be instantly reviewed by our crack team of experts and evaluated for marketing and outreach opportunities. You’ll get to see the process in action for your own film or discover the best ideas to use for future projects. And of course, we’ll be naked.

Think Outside the Box Office Workshop NYC

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Jon Reiss, furthering his bid to unseat Peter Broderick in whatever category they’re competing in, will be doing a 2-day workshop in NYC June 5-6 for filmmakers which will cover distribution & marketing, transmedia, and Jon’s many unique and insightful approaches to indie film dissemination. It’s $150 for members.

Think Outside: Jon Reiss tells you how to release a film today

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Think Outside The Box (Office): The Ultimate Guide to Film Distribution and Marketing in the Digital Era is the new book from filmmaker/author Jon Reiss (not yet available at For readers of this site, the book is probably both utterly essential and potentially old news. It provides a step-by-step guide to creating a strategy for your film in the digital age, and how to exploit different platforms and techniques to reach an audience.

I haven’t yet read the book but overall, if you care considering a DIY strategy for your film release, this looks like a fantastic resource.

Jon is touring about with the book, including stops at CPH:DOX; DIY Days: Los Angeles; and the IFC Center in NYC. He’s also the inaugural “Weekly Player” at Filmmaker Magazine, answering questions until November 16.

Killer Aced; sponsorship could help finance your indie film

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

There are all kinds of schemes and innovations emerging in financing and marketing, and it’s no surprise that veteran producer Christine Vachon and her production company Killer Films are at the forefront. Vachon has teamed up with online film production network Massify and the uberhip NYC Ace Hotel (the Seattle and Portland locations are favourites of mine) to produce a series of short films- with sponsorship money from the hotel and the website but basic creative freedom (the films are set in a hotel, but that is hardly a constraint).

At tonight’s IFP fete for Bob Berney and his new distribution company Apparition (whose first release BRIGHT STAR had a genius love letter/tweeting contest), I spoke with consultant Jennifer Warren, who specializes in obtaining sponsorships for films. A promotional investment in your film seems to be more viable than ever before with the increasing sophistication of online social networks. It’s worth considering possible partners and seeking out mutually beneficial relationships through your own contacts or via a specialist.

Top 5 places to post your trailer

Monday, August 17th, 2009

You’ve laboured to make the the perfect, taut, compelling trailer- now you need people to see it. Where are the places that will get your film to your audience?

1. Youtube
2. Apple trailers- if you can get on here, it is the gold standard, but they’re selective.
3. Facebook- A fan page is good, but the advanced user may want to consider a video sharing widget ala Brightcove
4. Hulu – trailers are in MPEG2 format and you should contact
5. Specialty sites- no matter what the topic of your film, chances are there is a video-hosting site for the genre. There are Christian video sites, pet video sites, activist video sites, GLBT video sites, and the list goes on. Find the right one (or more) and upload!

Do you have better sites than these for trailer sharing? Please comment.

I want to rock and roll all night (and wake up in the gutter)

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Ben from Shooting People was weighing the piracy issue a couple of weeks ago and its impact on independent filmmakers. The first dilemma is whether independent filmmakers can transition in the way indie bands have to be able to make money in other ways besides money for product transactions. In theory, this seems like it is the wave of the future- Robert Greenwald or Four Eyed Monsters-style. Filmmakers can, in theory, sell events versus selling DVDs, and potentially can make some money. No doubt touring in a bus is not as easy as having some record company shill a CD, either.

There is a part of me that feels a bit sad that there seems to be numbers of films that I think are good that would have a hard time reaching an audience in the emerging climates and I wonder if they will continue to be made. On the other hand, I’ve noticed that the spectrum of music that has awareness in general has really broadened in the past 20 years. The more people feel a direct relationship with the films they are accessing, the more they may be willing to branch out and explore.

Also, Ben suggests filmmakers have nothing else to sell? Why not? They could have games, ala Lance Weiler, cool swag like T-shirts for festivals or the web or speaking engagements for the filmmaker. Online they could give away the film and sell the extras, or create a community for the film with something value-added, or do contests or giveaways. Look at breakfast cereal- companies have been able to charge many times the cost of production because of packaging, extras, and perceived health benefits– filmmakers can learn from all kinds of marketing sources.

That said, it isn’t like a $5 million budget is redeemed with cracker jack prizes, but for filmmakers working on the cheap, making shorts or iTunes-friendly films, the indie rock model may not be that far-fetched.