Regardless of whether it’s messaging your IMDb link to someone without context, or using a third-party provider to send an auto DM to your followers when they follow you, we need to get back to having the ‘social’ in ‘social media’.
The crowdfunding campaign for your film has finished, you’ve secured your funds and you’re ready for the next part of production. Congrats! This is a golden opportunity to continue to build anticipation for your film and keep forging links with your audience.
Sometimes with crowdfunding campaigns, the post-campaign period can be forgotten in the excitement of completing the film. Updates on the crowdfunding campaign page can go silent, and in some cases the campaign is not mentioned again- it’s a case of “so long, and thanks for all the fish” when it comes to contributors. So how do you make the most of the post-campaign period in order to keep momentum building for your film’s release and also increase your film’s visibility?
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.
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”.
Here at Film Sprites PR we are huge advocates of bloggers and podcasters. In the digital age one thing is certain: if you have an interest, there’s a blog or podcast for you. No matter whether you’re an avid hockey fan, a Whovian or love Himalayan cats, there’s content on the Internet that’s sure to be of interest.
If you’re a filmmaker you can probably tell me straight away which mainstream publications you’d want to see coverage about your film to appear in. But it’s worth remembering that film blogs and podcasts are just as valuable in terms of gaining exposure and reaching your audience.
A few weeks ago I was so disheartened to see someone commenting on a forum thread, saying that there’s no point in having publicity for an independent film because unless it’s a studio-driven blockbuster it’s not going to get the “big” publications to post a feature or conduct an interview. But that’s the thing- the mainstream film industry (especially the big studios) has the benefit of publicity departments and unit publicists. Add to that a known director and a big-name cast and they have it made. But don’t forget: the directors and the well-known actors did not just pop out of holes in the ground, fully formed. They worked their way up. The same is true for independent filmmakers and up and coming actors.
And that’s one reason why independent films need publicity. Don’t think of it as “taking on the big boys”. It takes a long time to build a reputation and a body of work to progress in any field, and publicity can assist with that process.
A crowdfunding campaign is very much like having an additional full-time job. It can be tremendously exciting, and when that percentage marker is inching up towards the 100% mark it can be very tempting to work every hour of the day helping to get even closer. I know- I’ve been there! But making sure that you and your team look after yourselves during the campaign period is vital- you need to avoid burn-out.
With that in mind, I’m giving you the advice I have given filmmakers over the past two years when it comes to self-care during a crowdfunding campaign.