Filmmaking 101 Part 1

It has been a while since we have done articles on filmmaking tools and resources. With the summer starting, we thought it would be nice to have a new weekly feature, Filmmaking 101, and the first multiple part column will be focused on how to get your film seen.

Part 1: Affordable Print

There are a lot of things that you’ll have to do to get your film seen (and seen by the right type of people).  Finding local places and sites online that offer affordable printing are key.  No matter how much Online advertising and message board posting you do, good old traditional print will still be needed to get your films out there. Here are a few key pieces that you’ll need.

I know that I don’t have to stress how important this is. Independent films used to get financed on their pre-sales posters alone (especially b-action flicks), and while that financing avenue has closed, your poster is still key for advertising (both online and off).  Find a key still image that represents the film, get a logo typeface that you’ll use throughout the process (websites, banners, programs, etc), or get a friend to whip up a slick looking teaser image. You’ll need to make the image so it can be printed, and it is good to have the option of black/white and color versions of the poster.  If your film is screening at a festival, it will be key to print out a couple dozens of these suckers. To save cash, you can have a version of your poster sized 11 by 17. These are big enough to call attention to your film and give away, but not so big that they will burn a hole in your pocket.   Plus, it will look great framed on your wall.  You should also print out posters if you get invited to a Q&A, talk at a college campus, and depending on the genre of the piece get your local comic book, book, and video stores to put up the poster in their window. Every extra pair of eyes that notices your film is a good thing.

Posters are a perfect segay to my next recommendation, get yourself a postcard.  It can be as simple as having one size be your movie poster and the other keeping a traditional post card format. The left half is a short message and the right includes your addressee and postage. Having postcards is one of the best ways to keep in contact with people you meet and to give them a visual reminder of your film. Very important, I do not recommend making a 1000 of these and sending them all around Hollywood. Chances are they’d get thrown in the trash by interns or assistants and never even be seen by those executives you are trying to reach. The best thing to do with postcards is to send them to people you meet at festivals, conventions, screenings, and conferences.  Hand write a message in the message section instead of having them pre-filled out.  This will make it more personal while reminding them your film exists. Have the website URL in big letters on both sides of the postcard. Getting an affordable postcards is easy, and just takes a simple online search. Plus for postcards, postage is only 28 cents, so this will not cost a lot to mail out and it is much more memorable than just an e-mail.

Business Cards
It is important to have a set of these for you and a set for your film. You’ll want thousands of them, so you can give them to everyone you meet at any industry event, coffee shop, workplace, party, garage sale or where ever you happen to meet people. Everyone knows someone in the business or has a friend of a friend who is a producer/director/actor. It is through one of these random people that word of mouth will take your film to someone who is actually important.  Thankfully, simple business cards can be as cheap as 8 bucks for a 1000, or you can even get a couple 100 free online.  For your personal business card, keep it simple. Write your name, contact info, industry position, and a website if you have one. I hate personal business cards that are flashy. For your film’s business card, feel free to put the poster on one side and the film’s contact info and website on the other side. Make the best use of the space available. Crop into a picture or the poster if the image doesn’t look good so small. These will be a contant reminder to the people, so you want to lead with a great first impression.

In the next Filmmaking 101 column, I’m going to take a look at what you can do Online to get your film seen.