Producing A Film? Create Your PR Plan First

Film PRMaking a film can be a magical experience, but  many filmmakers get so excited about and engrossed in the making of their film that they forget producing their film is only step one.  Actually the production of your film should be pretty far down the line in your film to-do list.  Particularly when it comes to new filmmakers, the excitement of making a film, and all that is involved in scripting, pre-producing, casting, production and post production, has a tendency to become all consuming.  Creating the film becomes everything.  But here’s the question, what are you going to do once your film (filled with joy, enthusiasm and dreams as well as blood sweat and tears) is completed.  How are you going to get your film, promoted, marketed, distributed?  How are you going to build that bridge between your finished product and your audience?

If this article were actually a script, we’d be having a flashback sequence here.  We flash back to the incarnation of your project.  We would fade back to before you edited, shot, cast, or wrote your film and add a new focus to the process.  In this sequence your new flash back approach in the past would change your future.  You’d figure out a game plan outlining how to PR, promote and market your film.  Your new public relations plan would act as a guide, as a roadmap as you moved forward in your filmmaking process.  It would be a bridge-building process between you, your audience, distributors, potential investors and influences.  It would be the focus that helped insure your film would have a strong shot at succeeding.

So many filmmakers come to me after they’ve finished their film.  They’ve been so wrapped in the process and the project has inevitably gone over budget.  They didn’t consider a marketing campaign before they started production and now have very little money left for marketing.   There’s often little I can do for them at that point.  Those I have most success with either start with me during pre-production, or from the start realized that marketing was an essential part of the game plan and kept that in mind during the production process.

Ideally you want to start promoting your film and creating a buzz online and in the media before you finish shooting or editing your project.  A well thought out media relations and social media campaign can serve you in a number of ways.  Keep in mind, depending on your needs; you are going to be addressing different audiences with your media relations campaign.   One outreach could be directed to the general public, another to a more targeted grout of viewers, another to distributors and still another to possible investors.  You can also start creating a buzz for upcoming projects while promoting your current film.

So dive into your film project.  Make the very best film you can.  But be smart about it.  Make a PR and marketing campaign an essential part of your film’s game plan.  You don’t want to end up with a film that a few of your friends see, or gathers dust in your home, or gets submitted to a few film festivals and then fades away.  You’ve put your heart, soul, time and money into your film project.  You now owe it to the film and to yourself to give it a chance to succeed.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012

Promoting Your Movie via the Media

You see your job as director or producer (or both) but not as marketer.  Well, if you want to maximize your chances of getting your film out there, it’s time to get comfortable with this new role.  Whether you promote and PR your film on your own or hire a firm to do it for you, you can effectively create a buzz for your film and you will maximize your chances of building your audience and fan base.

By actively promoting your film, you’ll maximize your chances of:

  • Building awareness for your film within the industry
  • Increasing your audience and fan base.
  • Securing a distribution deal.
  • Establishing yourself as a director, producer or writer within the industry.
  • Generating interest for upcoming projects.
  • Securing financing for future projects.

Using PR and media relations to establish your film and/or production company is the most validating and legitimizing route.  By appearing in the media you establish yourself as a presence and a player in the industry.  You gain the validation of be covered by and featured in the news.  I’ve written other articles on how to launch an effective public relations campaign, which would be worth reviewing.  Your best bet is to bring a company or consultant on board that has experience and can work with you to launch an effective campaign.  If that’s not possible, do some homework, learn the process and give it a stab on your own.

Along with launching a PR and media relations outreach consider adding the following:

  • First and foremost create a compelling website or a blog with a compelling design and an easy to read layout.  This doesn’t have to be a bells and whistles affair.  Make it clean, easy to read and simple to navigate.
  • Utilize Social Media including Facebook and Twitter.
  • If you have a small budget for it, consider running Facebook and Google ads; consider forum marketing.
  • Edit some compelling, short videos to use as teasers for your film
  • Tag your videos.  Be sure to use keywords that effectively describe your videos in the associated tags for effective SEO.
  • Submit your video to directories and social bookmarking sites to help up your Google ranking

There is quite a lot you can do to help market, publicize and promote your film.  I believe that the most effective approach is to combine blogging and social media marketing with  traditional PR and media relations.  As a filmmaker, this is an exciting time.  Now more than ever you can take steps that can help ensure the success of your projects and your careers.  Be bold.  Go for it.
See you at the movies.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012

Launching Your Independent Film Online

The traditional film production/distribution model is dramatically shifting, yet with change comes opportunity.  As in the fields of music and publishing, the Internet has opened up new avenues to promote market and create a buzz for your film.  Whereas traditional public relations is still a critically important aspect of any film marketing campaign, it’s one tool in your overall marketing and promotion kit.  PR includes reviews, interviews, and feature stories in print radio or TV.  Now add to the mix online marketing, including blog postings, article marketing and creating a presence in the social media world.

Being covered in the media is important because it offers you and your film the credibility and validation of being featured in the news.  It helps create a buzz and builds a reputation for you and your film.   Media coverage also separates your film from the competition, which is incredibly important.

My one caveat here is to think long and hard before submitting your film to be reviewed by the major entertainment trade publications.  Those reviewers are used to being courted by the major studios and reviewing multi-million dollar films.  Not that some of them can’t see beyond the budget constraints of a true independent and judge a film on its own merits, but it is a risk.  As a small indie film without a name cast your chances of being reviewed without a distribution deal are slim, and not always that much better with distribution.  Beyond that getting reviewed and possibly torn to shreds in one of the major trades can do you more harm than good.  Distributors are seldom going to jump at the chance to carry a film that has been publicly humiliated.  Shoot for features or stories about your film, or the filmmaking process.  Check out my article on film pr for suggestsions.  Once you do get some media coverage, now go online and amplify it.

But don’t wait for media coverage to start promoting your film.  Create a cool, preferably interactive, website.  Develop a presence on Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and other social media sites.  Don’t just talk about your project.  Post information that film enthusiasts will be interested in.  Comment on other indie films.  Start conversations.  Focus on film sites, but also look at other possible markets that have to do with your film’s topic.  If your film is sci-fi oriented, search for blogs that cover that world.  If your project is a western, target some sites that focus on the old west.  You get the picture.

Search for blogs like Giant Robot, Ain’t it Cool News, and Rotten Tomatoes.  Find blogs that cover the type of film you’ve made, make a list of any and all film and entertainment sites and contact them.  Don’t try to cover all of the social media sites.  You won’t have the time, money, or energy to cover all of the blogs, forums or social media sites.  Make a list of those sites and blogs that you feel are most in-line with your project and work those.  You’re better off concentrating on a few sites and building connections, than posting one or two items on hundreds and creating no relationships.

Think of the different ways you can create interest:  humor, sex, controversy, fright – stuff that blows up – all of that sells. Use it.  Don’t focus on selling, but on creating interesting content.  Since you’re working in the film world, you have visuals, video clips that you can post.  Use that to your advantage. When it comes to marketing your film work like the independent filmmaker you are, but think like a savvy marketer.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2010

For further information visit:
www.AnthonyMora.com

How to Use PR to Launch Your Independent Film

The film world has been going through seismic changes.  It hasn’t been rocked quite a hard as the music world, but still, this is not your dad’s film world and it’s changing by the minute.  So start by shifting your mindset.  The days of making a film, finding a distributor and opening theatrically may still be alive, but on life support.  Going from conception to production, to theatrical distribution was never an easy road to begin with.  Only a handful made it, but now it’s even tougher.  Traditional distribution channels are shrinking and financing whether it be for development, production, or distribution is getting harder and harder to come by.  Particularly when it comes to small independent films, the heyday of companies such as Miramax, Gramercy, New Line and Lions Gate is now behind us.

But let’s say you’ve finished your film.  You’ve maxed your credit cards, or mortgaged your home, and sold your cat, but you managed to get it done.  So now what?  You’ve submitted to Sundance?  You’ll give a few more festivals a shot and then you’ll… wait?  Well that’s one approach.  But it might be a good idea to start considering a few other avenues.

When it comes to the entertainment world, whether it be film, music or publishing, perception always helps shape reality.  No one knows this better than the studios.  Particularly when it comes to blockbuster sequels, which often tend to be dreadful, the PR, marketing and online blitz is generally enough to send millions to stand in line at theatres and to buy DVDs.  The studios are creating urgency through marketing that all but forces the public to consume.  So, why not take a page from their playbook?  You can’t compete with them budget-wise, but you can jump into the game with creativity, savvy and some marketing know-how.

Launch your own PR campaign for your film.  You don’t need to have a theatre opening date or even a distribution deal in place.  You can launch your media campaign in order to land a distribution deal.  By creating a media buzz you separate yourself from the rest of the crowd.    PR can help build an audience, attract investors, interest distributors and position you and your film to succeed.

So, how can you launch a PR campaign for a film with no distribution?  Be creative.  Maybe a pitch on how you raised the money to make the film, or a story on how the subject matter relates to something that’s currently in the news, or how it illustrates a trend.  Perhaps your journey from your previous life to filmmaker would make for an interesting local feature.  Is there something else you’re working on, or a cause your involved in that could make for a good story?  If so, pitch that and then bring your new film into the interview.  There are a number of possible story ideas.  Think outside of the box.  Once you have some PR, now you have the Internet which you can use to amplify and magnify your media coverage.  I’ll be covering online marketing approaches and using you PR on the Internet in an upcoming article.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2010

For further information visit:
www.AnthonyMora.com

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