INTRO | What Good Marketing Will Do For Your Film
It’s commonly an antagonistic force around filmmakers, but marketing is a necessary language to dominate if you want your film to prosper. It’s not just about financial gain, any film is the product of exhausting labor, technical frustrations, and fantastic experiences that deserves to be seen.
Today, film marketing has evolved completely from what it was, mainly because there are so many roads to follow. From printed promotionals to social media platforms, these keep growing with every ticking of the clock, what makes predicting the next promotional sensation impossible. The bright side is filmmakers can take advantage of all this variety and get fantastic results. A good marketing campaign will get your work noticed, raise credibility, create revenue, and—most importantly—build a relationship with your audience that can support your future projects.
Now, just like learning any language it can be challenging to master, but if you’ve already worked so hard to complete your film, the challenge is worth facing. This guide will help you on how to market, brand, and get your film discovered. Nonetheless, every movie has a specific audience, therefore each movie needs a distinct approach. So it’s up to you to produce one in a unique way that will make your promotional campaign stand out from others out there.
“We don’t make movies to
make money, we make money
to make movies.”
PREP | Things you can do before your film is completed
GET SAVVY WITH THE INTERNET
Everyone these days is familiar with the internet. Everyone can open a browser, type “popcorn” on a search engine, and upload a picture into the web. That’s why you must advantage of every single app and website to exploit your project’s reaching numbers.
Here are a few important elements to keep in mind:
BUILD A WEBSITE
Websites are backbones for any project this days. They’re great hosts for your movie’s information and the main source people will use to contact you and get reliable details. It’s always smart to have a site for your project and one for yourself.
Luckily you don’t need to be an expert designer to build a formidable website. Sites like squarespace and wix can help you build one that grabs the user’s attention. They’re simple to use and at great rates for any type of filmmaker budget.
START SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILES FOR YOUR FILM
Social media profiles are just as important as websites. They’ll connect your project with larger audiences and boost awareness for your film.
Social media has more than three billion users and it has quickly turned into more than a passtime. They’re one of the top five business strategies and perfect to show your project’s personality. Use them as a vehicle to show your film’s tone and story as a character rather than a straightforward promotional conduct. Practice your social media language before you get things running; is your movie a comedy? Horror? Drama? Display those emotions in your posts and encourage your audience to relate to your profile by crafting engaging, interactive content.
Major social media platforms to consider: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, SnapChat.
START AN ONLINE JOURNAL
An online journal is a digital record where you can write and share the experiences you had working on your film and anything that relates to it. They are fantastic to make your project part of the audience’s life by immersing them in the world you live while making the film.
CRAFT A CLEVER HASHTAG
Hashtags are powerful tools to create an online presence for your film. They are inventive keywords—no spacing or punctuation, always preceded by a pound symbol (#)— that function as bookmarks or highlighters for your social media content. By including them in your posts you immediately raise their levels of visibility and make them accessible to all other users curious of themes similar to your movie’s.
To use hashtags to their full potential make sure to keep them short, don’t overuse them, and to create original ones. Try using your movie’s title in a unique way to create memorable phrases or alliteration. Use them to spark curiosity by rising questions about your plot or interesting quotes from your script. Make sure to use your area and territories around it too.
POPULAR HASHTAGS THAT WILL GET YOU NOTICED: #film #video #shortfilm #filmfestival #filmmaking #filmmakers #audio #indiefilm #watch #supportindiefilm #director #movie #cinema
RESEARCH OTHER FILMS PROMOTIONAL CAMPAIGNS
There’ve been multiple marketing campaigns worth studying just for their level of creativity. They’re also fantastic sources of inspiration. Make sure you research multiple ones, specifically those from films similar to yours.
Good examples for outstanding campaigns include the thriller Cloverfield, where director J. J. Abrams and his marketing team created a series of handheld “found footage” clips to show New York City in total chaos. These videos become viral and area big reason for the film’s success.
GET THE PRODUCTION TEAM INVOLVED
Talk to your team about the value of marketing and get them engaged with everything that your campaign involves. Ask them to share social media posts and everything they find relevant so that you can craft a better campaign. There might emerge amazing ideas you never thought of.
LOOK FOR POTENTIAL INVESTORS
This can get intimidating and sometimes seem like a bigger challenge, that’s why it’s important to keep it in consideration from the start. Make sure you navigate your network and investigate if there’s people interested in supporting your project. You can also contact known investor online or through the phone but doing some web research. A good place to start would be crowdfunding sites. Their main goal is to connect creators with investors.
Be conscious that investors have pitches thrown at them everyday, so make sure you workshop your pitch with as many people as you can and that you feel confident enough to present it so you won’t get a no for an answer.
“Filmmaking is a real democracy -
it’s up to the audience to vote with
SHOOT | How to Market Your Film
WRITE A STELLAR SYNOPSIS FOR YOUR MOVIE
A synopsis is a brief telling of your screen story in written form, in other words, a short description of your script. It contains all the important elements—characters, storyline, actions, reactions, and major incidents—from beginning to end in chronological order, that being defined as the order in which events occur in the story. Above all else, a synopsis is a sales tool designed to get the reader eager to read your complete script or view your short film or web series. To accomplish this, your synopsis should be as compelling, detailed and cinematic as you can make it in the limited amount of space you have available.
A good synopsis leaves the person who reads it longing to see the movie. Make sure you don’t give every surprise away. Always leave the readers hungry, wanting to know more.
Keep this items in mind when you sit to write your synopsis:
- Limit to one page or less.
- Dedicate the first one or two sentences to the film’s beginning scenes.
- Take time to describe your film’s location and main character.
- Don’t waste space describing details of secondary characters.
- Always include the most important conflict or event in the story.
- Use present tense.
- Make sure your paragraphs are linked to one another in a logical way.
- Use a writing tone everyone will understand. Be clear and make it flow.
- Persuade your reader into wanting more, be confident and convincing.
- Dedicate the last sentences to your ending scenes.
- Let your movie’s particular tone and themes visible in your writing.
- Proofread, Proofread, PROOFREAD!
CRAFT A HYPNOTIZING LOGLINE
Loglines are short sentences—no more than one or two—that answer the commonly asked question “what’s your film about?” directly. They also are essential to pitch your story and convince people to want to learn more about it. Even though they’re very short statements, you should treat them with the same dedication and carefulness you did with your script since they’re usually the first thing everyone will read about your project. Make sure they contain you hero, their main obstacle, and their goal.
Having a hard time coming up with a logline? Try using this popular formula:
- In this (genre of your film), a (your movie’s hero described with clear, powerful adjectives) faces (you hero’s main obstacle/antagonist) to (your hero’s goal).
EXAMPLES OF SUCCESSFUL LOGLINES:
- The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son. (The Godfather.)
- A wheelchair bound photographer spies on his neighbours from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder. (Rear Window.)
- With the help of a German bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner. (Django Unchained.)
LIST YOUR PROJECT ON IMDB
IMDB or the Internet Movie Database has turned into the main source for filmmakers, investors, audiences, and movie enthusiasts. As its selfdescribing names states, it’s a database containing detailed information about a film’s crew, cast, stills, trivia, production notes, and more. A profile on this site is almost required for anyone who wants to get their film noticed.
Helpful tips in order to get your film listed in IMDB database, for the entire world to see!
- At the top of the IMDB homepage, click the button labelled ‘help’
- This will then take you to another page, which has a lovely long list of top questions. The one you want to click on is ‘How do I add my title?’
- There will then be another long list of frequently asked questions, however the one that concerns you lot is ‘How do I add a new title to the site?’ and click on the link ‘New Title Submission’
- The next step involves a lot of reading and you will see four important subheadings: General Notes, Title Formats, Capitalisation and (the most important) Eligibility: General Public Interest. Within the final subheading it is very important to read all of the information, below is a summary of what they deem both of public interest and what they don’t. It must be noted that they do not list commercials, video clips or music videos.
- After you have read carefully all of the information, then you can begin to fill in the actual submission form. Make sure you complete all the fields with the correct information. If you ever get stuck or need help, just look for the ‘blue’ question mark.
- What Happens after? Well, if all goes according to plan, once IMDB adds your film to the database it can take another week for it to appear on the website. The reason for this is that an IMDB manager will then need to look through all of your information and verify it.
SET UP A WIKIPEDIA PAGE
Just like IMDB, Wikipedia is now a main site to research a project. Setting up a page on the site means that your audience and anyone who types your name or your project’s title will be able to learn detailed information about it or quote it. Be aware that, since Wikipedia is completely free, any of the site’s managers can make edits, so make sure to check your page constantly to revise the veracity of your information.
How to set up a Wikipedia page:
- Go to www.wikipedia.org in your web browser and click on the language version that you want to use.
- In the upper-right corner, click Log In.
- Click in the box labelled “Enter your user name” and type in your user name. Then click on the box labelled “Enter your password” and type in your password (it will appear as bullet points to protect it from prying eyes). Finally, click the Log In button.
- You will notice that the menu in the top-right corner has changed. Click on Sandbox.
- Your “Sandbox” is your personal editing space, where you can practice how to create and edit pages, and even submit new pages to Wikipedia once they’re done. The top toolbar gives you some quick formatting options, such as bolding or italicizing your font, inserting a hyperlink or image, or using other common formatting conventions (such as lists or tables). The bottom toolbar lets you add special characters, including codes that have various effects on Wikipedia. The middle of the page is your main window, where you’ll start typing to bring your article to life!
- If you’re still totally lost, type https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Simple_guide_to_creating_your_first_article into your web browser to get an easy example of how to create a Wikipedia article.
- When you’re done, you can click Show Preview to see what your article will actually look like once it’s up on Wikipedia. If you like what you see, you can click Save Page.
- If you’re satisfied and want to try to make your page available for everyone who visits Wikipedia to see, click Submit Your Draft for Review. Then click Save Page again when you get to the next screen. You’ll probably get plenty of feedback from the community on things that are good or can be improved. Don’t be discouraged if your article doesn’t pass the first time; just take the feedback you get into consideration and try again, or ask for help on a “talk” page. Either way, you’ve taken your first step towards contributing to a global archive of shared knowledge!
CUT FANTASTIC TRAILERS
A good trailer will leave the audience at the edge of their seats, no matter the genre. It also sets the tone of your film and resists itself from revealing the best details of your story. They are usually 90 to 120 seconds long. A lot of audiences tend to search for a film’s trailer before purchasing a ticket, and most times they will tell them whether to watch the film or not.
Make sure to choose amazing visuals in your trailer and rather than narrate your story, focus on the emotion and atmosphere you want your audience to stay with. This will prove more successful results and make their minds wonder of your project for a long time.
By this we mean all the printing materials you can use to market your film, this includes: posters, banners, magazine advertising, novelty items, public transportation advertisements, etc. The most popular item is probably the poster, often called one sheet.
The best thing you can do is to craft a one sheet that conveys your story genre immediately at first glance. Take a look at other movie poster and try to figure out what they’re doing right. What elements stand out? What type of text do they include? What visual elements are they utilizing?
Consider working with a professional designer. The difference between a good poster and a terrible one is incredibly significant and you might regret it if you don’t treat this part with great value. Just like filmmaking, film marketing is all about the visuals. Apply and adapt your one sheet results to other print marketing media and have fun creative interesting collateral.
BUILD A PRESS KIT
Press kits are items related to your film that filmmakers, producers, or publicists gather to distribute them to the press. The list is not set in stone, but usually press kits contain:
- Your film’s synopsis.
- Bios of the film’s major creative players (writers, directors, and producers, etc.)
- Bios of the actors.
- Production notes.
- High resolution film stills.
- High resolution production stills (behind the scenes photography.)
- Artist’s statements (usually the director explaining why the film was made, what’s the source of inspiration, what they hope the work will communicate, and other additional highlights.)
- Contact information from all major players.
- Trailers, teasers, and film clips.
- Posters, banners, and other promotional materials you think interesting.
ORGANIZE A TEST SCREEN
At first glance, test screens can sound pretentious. Most people think of them as unnecessary, but history has proven the contrary. Test screens are fantastic to see the reactions of your audience and hear their opinion on what works and what should probably be reconsidered. Directors like Martin Scorsese and Garry Marshall made considerable changes to their films, Goodfellas and Pretty Woman respectively, after audiences’ comments. The films improved and, therefore, were better received among moviegoers.
Film festivals are fantastic opportunities for filmmakers to show their work. Not only that, festivals commonly organize events that allow them to relate with other creators and build a network. There are free festivals and others that require a fee to submit, so make sure you do your research and figure out what festivals are the right fit for you. Some of them focus on a specific genre or unique quality, keep this in mind before you submit.
Here at the Newport Beach Film Festival we encourage filmmakers to submit and enjoy watching them succeed, so don’t hesitate and enter as many festivals as you can!
Booking yourself for a personal appearance need not make you sound like a desperate minor celebrity hired to open a new shopping centre. Take every opportunity to sit on panels discussions, agree to do Q&A’s after your festival screenings and make yourself available for interviews.
Other events/platforms to consider:
- Local TV Stations
- Radio Stations
FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH PRESS JUNKETS.
And be smart about them. Make sure you are confident and have your best qualities on display. Press junkets are tricky to navigate and each one has a different vibe, so research the event you’re attending before hand. Contact the staff and ask as many questions as you can. Research similar events and be prepared to answer many questions. Practice the most common ones so you’re completely ready.
Don’t limit yourself to journalists – they’re not the only people who can create buzz around your film. While the main journalists and critics will be key, you may also want to experiment with inviting influential bloggers and fans to the event. One tactic may be to run a ‘mini press junket’ in all of the major cities that you’re planning to launch in. This will open up huge potential to run a social media competition for a number of fans in each city to attend their local press event and meet the cast.
POST | Additional Ways To Promote
ORGANIZE SWEEPSTAKES, ONLINE CONTESTS, AND EXCLUSIVE PROMOTIONS
A contest requires a correct answer, and you can decide whether or not the prize is limited to the first winner, the first ten winners or an unlimited number. This is an ideal way to give away tickets for a festival screening, for example.
A competition requires the user to do something, like create the best Vine video or tell a certain number of their friends about your project. Whoever gets the highest ‘mark’ wins the prize. This is often used to get ideas for a title, a scene in the film or to create a viral video for your movie. entrants to a competition have to invest an amount of time and effort meaning they, in theory, are more engaged with your project.
GET IN TOUCH WITH SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCERS
Consider listing the help of social media personalities. They affect the opinion of thousands of followers and can help your audience grow. Influencers are very open to working with filmmakers, but everyone asks for a different incentive. Get to know them since their lifestyles will also affect people’s opinion of your project.
NETWORK WITH OTHER FILMMAKERS
Lastly, while the audience for your work is obviously incredibly important, you can’t forget about others in your industry. As you should know by now, the film industry is all about relationships and who you know.
Networking is the key to collaborating with artists you respect. It’s the secret to getting a deal on a great piece of gear and gaining access to a perfect location. Ultimately, networking is the key to each year being more successful than the last.with filmmakers, but everyone asks for a different incentive. Get to know them since their lifestyles will also affect people’s opinion of your project.