It’s a genuine pleasure to be bringing you a guest post from Daniel Harlow about Project Lodestar, UCLA Film Studies! Want to know what Project Lodestar is, and how you can participate if you are an independent filmmaker? Read on…
As a publicist and digital marketer, I spend a significant time on the Internet. Whether it’s sending off a press release to a media outlet, pitching a potential story, generating social media content or crunching social media numbers, I’m either hooked to my laptop, tablet, or phone. And while that comes with the territory, because digital technology is so ubiquitous in everyday life, I found myself in a bit of a predicament.
The lines between work and life began to blur. I found myself looking at the number of ‘likes’ on my personal Facebook page, the follows on my personal Instagram…and feeling dejected. Why weren’t people engaging? Why did the feeds of people I knew look SO damn interesting compared to mine? WHY was I feeling like such a d*ck on social media?
It’s been a spook-tacular month at Film Sprites PR in more ways than one! There’s lots going on in the office, so I thought I’d share some of the things we’re working on, as well as some client updates!
Following the success of our blog post featuring PR and digital marketing resources for indie filmmakers, we’re back with even more general resources! These are things that are too good not to share. After all, it’s all about working smarter, not harder. Here’s some resources we stumbled across recently that we think you’ll like.
On the weekend of September 30 and October 1st, people from the entire spectrum of the film industry in New Zealand converged on Auckland to take part in Big Screen Symposium 2017. It was Film Sprites PR’s first year at the Symposium, and due to the fact that we’ve worked mostly with international films thus far, it felt like a bit of a homecoming. For two wonderful days we were treated to a line-up which included speakers from various threads of the industry, including directors, producers, a casting agent, and writers. There was also plenty of time to network and catch up with old friends (as well as make some new ones).
The theme of Big Screen Symposium 17 was Authenticity and Pretence, a theme which is so pertinent in the digital age. As Big Screen Symposium Director Esther Cahill-Chiaroni notes in her introductory letter which accompanied the schedule: “[i]n an age of selfies and fake news, what is the role of the storyteller and how is it that sometimes ‘making shit up’ enables us to get closer to the truth?” Thanks to the wealth of information given via talks, masterclasses and the keynote address, I know we all came away with our own unique answer for that question.
Over the years at Film Sprites PR, we’ve amassed a mountain of really useful resources for independent filmmakers; everything from graphic design lifesavers for your social media graphics, through to inexpensive (or free) ways to advertise your independent film to your audience. They’re all things we’ve been recommending to our clients, and now I want to share them with you. They’re not huge trade secrets- just things that we personally rave about and things that work.
In addition to these resources, we’re also including a ‘sanity saving’ section, additional books to add to your reading list, as well as some inspirational resources to help keep your momentum up. Let’s face it- every bit helps when you’re working hard for your dreams.
As much as I have loved what we do here at Film Sprites PR, I’m ready to start moving further towards my original dream and goal and I can’t do that alone. So it’s going to take more training, more networking and more heart than ever before. Here’s some of the lessons I’ve learned in the past 5 years.
In Christchurch today we’ve had the first particularly cold day this year, signalling a head towards autumn. Autumn weather always makes me think about when I founded Film Sprites PR in 2014. This year Sprites is turning 3 years old on April 17 but it feels like we’ve been operating for much longer, possibly because of the fact that prior to starting Sprites I had been networking and studying for my PR certification since 2012. It was in 2012 that my dream of working in the film industry suddenly sparked into life after the devastating effects of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. So this has been a long journey!
At Film Sprites PR we have a particular fondness for Twitter. After all, it’s how we got started. We’ve seen how incredibly powerful it can be to convey a message, bring people together and grow a film’s audience.
It can also be a powerhouse when it comes to spreading the word about your film during a crowdfunding campaign. In 140 characters you can spread the word, share your vision and have contributors helping to back your creation. We’ve assisted with many crowdfunding campaigns for films, both in pre-production and post-production, and we’ve seen how well Twitter can work for crowdfunding. Most recently we assisted with the successful Kickstarter for Daphne Fisher’s Enough, helping to not only secure the $6K goal but also helping to raise an additional $945.
So how can you, as a filmmaker, harness the little blue bird to help secure the funds you need for your film? Here’s a few tips to help you make the best of Twitter during your crowdfunding campaign.
On April 14 this year Film Sprites PR will turn 3 years old. Yes, my humble little PR and digital marketing consultancy for film will become a rambunctious threenager. Part of the reason Film Sprites PR became a reality was because I could see that there were amazing filmmakers out there who deserved sparkling publicity and social media marketing…and I wanted to be of service.
But if it wasn’t for the spirit of these filmmakers themselves I wouldn’t have reached out. I might have waited pointlessly for my ship to come in instead of making my own opportunities. But interacting with indie filmmakers on Twitter and seeing the way they were making their own opportunities encouraged me to step out and do the same.
If you’re an entrepreneur you can learn so much from the world of indie film. Indie filmmakers are creative, resilient, self-starting, motivated and flexible- all the qualities that a lot of entrepreneurs embody or would like to embody.