Film Distribution Experts and Filmmakers Share Tips and Advice
One of the most important things you can do as a filmmaker is to build an audience for your film.
Your audience is your publicity and funding machine!
Don't wait until you need cash to start looking for your audience.
An audience that has been nurtured for months or years will become eager supporters when they are needed.
1. Think in Keywords – Have you ever uploaded a video to
YouTube and typed in the keywords that describe that video? Those keywords are
BIG clues to your audience. Think about the keywords and themes of your
documentary: "olympics", "elderly", "Pakistan", "funny", etc. Those keywords represent your
2. Scratch The Itch - What’s the hook that’s drawing people to your documentary? Is it a shared passion such as human rights, love of travel, football? Is it the desire to promote a shared value such as a plant-based diet, finance reform or tolerance of illegal immigrants? Find out where those people “hang out” (blogs, forums, events, etc), tell them about your movie. Sign them up for your email list and Facebook page!
3. Engage and Entertain – It’s not enough to just report information about your project. In fact, talking about “me, me, me” is a big turn-off. What is it about your project is interesting to your audience? What will entertain, shock and delight your audience? As a filmmaker, you have a distinct advantage that you are already shooting footage that can be repackaged into short compelling snippets for your social media pages.
4. Create Series of Film Trailers – The sooner a trailer can be produced about your movie, the easier it becomes to start building your audience. And don’t think that just one trailer will do. Making multiple trailers geared specifically toward different niche audiences will yield bigger and better results. Don’t wait until your documentary is completed to make a trailer. Engaging an audience long before the movie is made will yield much better results.
5. Find the “Influencers” – Remember the keywords and themes for your documentary? Who are the influencers (bloggers, organizations, authors, etc) in those niches? Reach out to those people and get them so excited about your documentary that they can’t resist sharing your project with their audience. Can you offer a freebie to their audience? An exclusive video clip? Produce a free video for the influencer? Do what filmmakers do best… get creative!
Sheri Candler is a distribution and marketing expert who has consulted with numerous independent filmmakers.
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