I firmly believe that there is no such thing as a wasted opportunity. Even in your bitterest disappointments, you’ll find a diamond in the ashes. You might have to wait a while to find that diamond (because let’s face it- disappointments are awful and you might ruminate for a while), but it’s there. If you’re in the indie film industry, you’ll know that sometimes productions fall through, you might not get the role, or locations that were initially viable at the start of production are taken off the table suddenly. None of this is a waste of time. A production that stalls or doesn’t go through to post is valuable experience. The role you didn’t get gave you the opportunity to audition and put yourself in front of an agent and director and put yourself on their radar for future projects. The location you had your heart set on that was made unavailable may open the way for a better location
In the post-production period, many films opt to crowdfund for post-production funds to finish the film, and this in itself can prove to be another opportunity to grow your social media audience and media exposure whilst securing your funds. If you’ve prepped thoroughly during pre-production through filming, chances are you have a wealth of materials available that you can use to let people know about the film, both on your crowdfunding page and via social media and regular media. People don’t like being bombarded with constant links to crowdfunding campaigns on social media, so if you can keep the consistent tone you have developed on your social media platforms from day one, you don’t run the risk of having people ‘switch off’ or unfollow. Yes, you can direct people to your crowdfunding campaign, but it doesn’t have to be done in a ‘salesy’ way.
At Film Sprites PR over the years we have had the great pleasure of working with a lot of filmmakers who wanted publicity and digital marketing for their short films. As a result, it’s safe to say we’ve developed a huge affinity for short films. There’s something very special about the short film format, and the filmmakers who are able to weave their vision into a shorter time space than a regular film. While it’s tempting to file away a juicy script and wait for the opportunity to turn it into a feature, there are some definite advantages to short films when it comes to cementing your place as a filmmaker. And if you’ve made (or are thinking about making) a short film, it has advantages beyond screenings. Here’s some of the advantages of making short films.
Recently, I wrote about the optimal times for publicity and digital marketing of independent films (in that post I give filmmakers a handy timeline), but I wanted to discuss getting prepped in pre-production through to filming even further, because these are the key points when you can grow your audience in anticipation of your film’s release. It’s also a great period when you can gather materials that are going to be a huge asset when you submit your film to film festivals, look for a distributor and release your film.
Whether you hire a publicity and digital marketing consultancy for your film or not, it’s vital to have materials available that can be used for press kits, posters, promotional materials, DVD/VOD extras and further social media content. While it’s entirely possible to do publicity and digital marketing of your film solely in post-production and/or release, you have a better chance of succeeding in having people watching your film and your film securing media attention if you have a solid social media presence and materials available that media outlets can use. Investing additional time in pre-production and filming to ensure that you have these materials will save you a lot of time in post-production and release.
It was the great Groucho Marx who said: “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read”. I’m hoping that anyone reading this post has not mastered reading inside a dog, but I think Groucho’s assessment of the magic of books is correct. And if you are an indie filmmaker, books can be a wise investment on your journey. Whether it’s technical texts or books to inspire, having a resource library at your disposal is very useful. Quite often when conversing with filmmakers, if there’s a book I know of that I think will be useful or that they will find interesting, I definitely make a recommendation. I also try and do an update on this subject on the blog as I find books that I know filmmakers, producers, people aspiring to work in the film industry, or entrepreneurs may find useful (and most importantly enjoyable).
Here’s an updated list of reading recommendations for filmmakers, people wanting to broaden their film industry knowledge base, entrepreneurs and dreamers everywhere.
When it comes to film I can honestly say I have a great love of documentaries. There’s something so magical about a filmmaker being able to show lives through a lens and present the viewer with unique true stories.
Recently, I watched the documentary I Am Jane Doe. Written and directed by filmmaker Mary Mazzio (who also serves as producer with Alec Sokolow), I Am Jane Doe is the powerful story of American mothers waging a war against online sex trafficking on behalf of their daughters who were trafficked. The film is narrated by Jessica Chastain (who is also an executive producer). I highly suggest looking at the film’s synopsis page to find out even more about this incredible documentary.
As the credits rolled on I Am Jane Doe, I was in pieces. I wanted to do something about this. I didn’t just want to be a passive viewer. What sprung to mind was the famous quote by Aung San Suu Kyi: “if you’re feeling helpless, help someone.” Making my way to the film’s website, I was pleased to see a section dedicated to actions that viewers can take themselves: actions like signing petitions, donating to organizations listed on the page, right through to spreading the world via social media.
The reason I wanted to talk about I Am Jane Doe is twofold: firstly, because it impacted upon me so profoundly, I knew I wanted to spread the word. The second reason is that I Am Jane Doe highlights the fact that filmmakers can make a significant social impact. I Am Jane Doe goes beyond just being a documentary- it is a call to action.
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.
Recently on the blog I wrote about whether or not independent films really needed publicity. There’s still a perception that publicity for independent films is on the list of things that would be nice to have, but aren’t essential. That as may be, if you’re looking to gain significant coverage of your film and build your audience then it’s completely doable- especially as I’m about to give you a good timeline of when and how to generate publicity and social media coverage for your film even if you don’t have your own publicist on board.
Our world is built on stories. Everyone has one! And as a filmmaker you know the power of stories because you weave powerful stories into visual magic with your films. This gives you something very special to work with when it comes to social media marketing of your film. Too often I see people relying on the kinds of annoying social media tactics I wrote about earlier, when they could be utilizing the potential of social media to tell a story. Yes, even Twitter with its character limit!
As natural creatives and storytellers filmmakers are well-placed to use the power of storytelling to connect with the audience. Here’s a few ideas of how to use the power of storytelling via social media.
When you’re fully engaged and enthusiastic about what you’re doing (especially via social media), it shows. You’re more likely to get more engagement from followers, more shares and amplify your signal.
This holds true even when you’re setting up social media automation. It’s not time-contingent. What matters is your authenticity and your “voice”.