So, you have an amazing film and you want everyone to see it- of course! And while social media is the most immediate way of connecting with your audience, chances are you’re going to want to secure some reviews, features and interviews as well.
Recently we talked about how to pitch to media to secure coverage for your film via traditional (newspapers, print magazines, television and radio news) and new media (websites, blogs, podcasts). In it, we talked about the fact that in order to secure coverage, your pitch for your film needs to be newsworthy (you can see the criteria we used here). If you do your research with regards to your audience and their demographic, you can very easily use these newsworthiness criteria to assist your chances of gaining exposure for your film. The best way to highlight the newsworthy aspects of your film is via your press release. So how can you find the newsworthy aspects of your film in order to secure media coverage? We’re going to give you examples using the newsworthy criteria mentioned above.
Timing: new, now, fresh: timing is everything. You don’t want to secure coverage for your film’s big advanced screening and Q&A after the fact. If your film was released to VOD six months ago, your chances of securing coverage lessens, especially with regards to gaining reviews in large media outlets. Film critics and reviewers are inundated with screenings every day, so you want to get your request to review in as soon as possible (we give you a good timeline here).
Significance: significance can be a useful newsworthy criteria, particularly if your film has a topic that would affect many audience members. For instance, you have a documentary about an illness that affects a large percentage of the worldwide population, it’s worth citing statistics in your press release.
Also, if there’s something of huge significance about the film or the filmmaking process, that’s definitely worth mentioning: for instance, your film raised the most money of any crowdfunding campaign to date on a crowdfunding platform, your principal photography had something of significance, like the longest recorded principal photography shoot in a certain location (or the shortest), etcetera. If, like me, you’ve just seen Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, it’s worth thinking about his film and filmmaking and then thinking about what sort of significance it had that would make it newsworthy (outside of the fact that it’s a WWII epic, directed by Christopher Nolan and with many prominent actors).
Proximity: Citing proximity is always great if you’re pitching to producers at local and national radio and TV news stations, or editors of local and national newspapers. No matter how big or small a film is, regardless of budget, people love the sparkle of movie-making. If the area your film was shot in has particular significance (again tying into the significance criteria) historically that can be a newsworthy element. Perhaps you’ve made an epic Western in an area that has a rich tradition of goldmining, or a psychological horror in a town where a particularly famous horror auteur was born. It’s definitely worth noting if your film has employed predominantly local crew, as it shows your commitment to that particular area and the skills the people of that area have brought to your film.
Prominence: Does your film have a name actor, or crew members that have been attached to Hollywood blockbusters (like SFX people, producers, scriptwriters etc)? This is what you can highlight to make your film more newsworthy, especially if your name actor has had recent successes, won awards or has a huge fanbase.
Human Interest: As the post about newsworthiness criteria states above, this is the sort of thing you see at the end of broadcasts: the cute, the quirky, the inspirational. So what’s cute, quirky or inspirational about your film? This is also where you can highlight anything funny or unusual that happened on set, especially if you have a name actor who is happy to be quoted about something that happened. For instance, a few years ago we mentioned in our press release of a short film (and also via social media) that the film only had two consecutive days allocated to shooting…during the British summertime. Of course, anyone who knows the particulars of British weather knows that this was asking for a miracle. Thankfully, the weather gods smiled on the crew and they had two consecutively fine days to film. This was the approach we used when pitching to British media, knowing they would appreciate the drama of waiting on two rainless days!
Finding newsworthy elements to pitch your film to media doesn’t have to be hard. Every film has a range of the various elements that can be mixed and matched in your press release in order to maximise exposure. Happy filmmaking!