Here are some facts to think about before you decide to start working on that new Independent Film.
Over 6,000 new feature films are produced worldwide every year. Many languish unseen and unsold. The films still seeking distribution follow a fairly straight forward route:
Producer’s attempt to get their film selected by film festivals in order to create awareness
Film sales agents scour film festivals for suitable product to represent and sell
Films are left to generate sales from vod and sod subscription services
Most films, whether festival films or not, end up at a film market like the American Film Market (AFM), the European Film Market (EFM) or Cannes (Marché du Film). With hundreds and thousands of films competing for acquisition executives and festival programmers, marketing should really start here.
Film Marketing TIPS
1. Establish A Target Audience
One of the most important things when creating film is to determine who is likely to be interested in it. What types of audience might enjoy your project, and which medium are they inclined to use if they do decide to view your film?
Thinking about these questions should not only determine your marketing message, but also the approaches you take towards its distribution – and ultimately, where the film will be available.
Is it going to be a YouTube release begging to become viral, a slower but steadier release through festival submissions, or maybe even have a theatrical run?
Your predictions must be based on concrete analysis, not on a mix of unfounded presumptions and hopes – relying on the latter might mean that you will be disappointed later on, and will have to shift assumptions midway through.
Film Marketing TIPS
2. DON'T ONLY MARKET THE FINISHED PRODUCT
Don’t wait until you’re able to supply the finished product. You can, of course, create some buzz even before shooting starts. Crowdfunding platforms are the most logical step and can provide you with a win-win opportunity of both a boosted production budget and a bit of early marketing for your film.
If you can find a way to integrate project updates with a clever social media strategy, you’re on your way to a promising start! Which leads us to the next and final point.
Here is a great example from a recent campaign we managed for the release of Indie Film Living In Futures Past.
The benefit to this campaign was that it starred a very well known actor. But even if your film stars lesser known actors, tap into their networks. They want to be stars. They want to share their experience. They want to share promotions.
Film Marketing TIPS
3. Go Digital, Go Social, Fast
Just in case you didn’t get the idea yet, social media is very important!
It’s free, for starters – obviously a good thing when facing financial constraints and operating under a tight budget.
If done right, it can get more exposure than classical ads – after all, there are BILLIONS of people using social media this very second. And with sophisticated audience networks, one can now target their prospective customers easier than ever.
One way to achieve this is actually designing a strategy, sticking to it and continuously improving it, rather than just asking your mum, dad and best friends to like your page and react with ‘Love’ to each and every one of your posts.
And if you do this, you’ve got another win-win scenario on your hands: you can use your potential fans’ feedback (which is oh so easy to collect via social media networks) to improve both your marketing process of the project, as well as the project itself.
If you start late, you’ll have no more opportunity to change, adjust and fine-tune ideas and content, but if you take our hint and start early, you might begin to see why it is such a good idea in the first place!
Take a peak at this great podcast from Indie Film Hustler, showing you 11 ways to use social media to sell your Independent Film.