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This post is brought to you by your friends at Camel Back Displays.

Red RopeOkay, so you have a finished short or feature film. What do you do now? Throw a premiere! Even if you didn’t have a million dollars to make your movie, you’ll need to treat the premiere as if you did. Go to your local theater, beg a local bar or club, and ask friends if they know of a place you can use as a venue to have a party, show the film, and make contacts (and maybe even sell the film).

Once you have the location, you have to treat this like a Hollywood premiere. Bring out the red carpet and velvet rope. Break the lines into a general crowd entry and another a VIP entrance. Have a display for people going through the VIP line to take pictures, give press entry through he VIP line, have areas where they can take pictures of actors and talk with them. Crowd control is important here, you need to keep order and have the right people in the right places to get your film the right notice.

In terms of press, invite all types of journalists, including big publications who you don’t think will come and bloggers who might be more likely to show up. For a small film, these people are the best way to get strangers to talk about your film and pump up the word of mouth. This could lead to getting your film seen in bigger festivals and maybe even distribution.

Just don’t forget to go all out with your premiere, make the even seem bigger than it is, even if it means having stanchions and barricades to control the crowd. If people think it is a big premiere, they maybe gather around and take pictures while they wait for “stars” to appear. Use your location to make your film stand out.

Posted on July 27th, 2010 by admin | Leave a Comment
Filed Under Filmmaking Resources, Sponsorships

Filmmaking 101

Welcome to the third part of our Filmmaking 101 series. In part 1 we looked at affordable print ideas, in part 2 we talked about how social networking could help get your film seen, and in part 3 I want to discuss your website. Click on the filmmaking tag (at the bottom of this article) to see the other parts along with some recent screenwriting tips.

Your Website
So, you have Facebook, Myspace, and YouTube profiles, why would you need a website for your film? One word, professionalism. Social Networking sites are perfect for keeping people informed and getting people to your main website, but they shouldn’t replace your actual site. Your website has a few key factors that you need to look into and decide on before you even get to design it.

Domain Names
First and arguably the most important factor is your domain name (aka URL).  It is best to choose domain names that are easy to remember and easy to spell out. You need people to be able to remember this name and tell it to others, without them screwing up the spelling because of abbreviations or cheesy word replacement (I.E. using l8er instead of later).  Personally I like to have two distinctively different domain names pointing to my film’s website. The first one is a name that is close to the film’s title. You’ll have to do a search to figure out if the names you are brainstorming are free.  Usually if the title is taken, you can at least get something with the word film or movie at the end. For example, if Thunderman.com is taken, you could always try ThundermanTheMovie.com. For the second name I like to be more creative and use something that will look cool on posters. I’m currently working on a zombie film, so in advance I bought TheDeadAreRising.com. I can picture a 1000 ways to use the url in ads both online and in print.  I used to use Yahoo to buy my domains, but I learned the hard way that just because they are affordable, doesn’t make them good. Now I have moved all of my domains to GoDaddy, who not only has a great interface, but they have helpful customer service and are honest.

Web Hosts
While it is easier to buy your domain names and web hosting fromt he same place, it isn’t always the best idea. For example, I host some of my websites on Powweb, but their domain names are overpriced.  I can buy a domain for half the price from GoDaddy.  Now in the reverse, I feel like GoDaddy is great with domain names, but their web hosting is lacking.  You need a web host that offers you a ton of space and monthly bandwidth, and they need to be able to handle different scripts and CGI. You’ll likely have a ton of videos, photos, and a blog on your website. Make sure that the web host you decide to go with can handle what you need before you waste any coin on it. It is also a good idea to always keep up with current web hosting news. Not only do you want a great deal, but you need to choose a web host that is stable, reliable, customer friendly, and has a proven track record.

Design
The design is going to be key in keeping visitors at your website and to encourage them to keep coming back. I prefer websites that are clean and easy to navigate.  Include information about the project, but don’t go overboard. Don’t give a complete play by play of the film, don’t spoil the ending, and don’t post your full script. Include your film’s trailer and make sure that the quality is top notch. A blog is a great way to keep the film’s website content fresh and to add new content regularly. You can post behind the scenes photos, videos with scenes, or even just share experiences with the filmmaking process.

You are going to spend a lot of time and effort getting people to this website, make sure that they have something good to look at when they get there!

Filmmaking 101 Part 2 Social Netowrking

In part 1 of our Filmmaking 101 series, we talked about affordable printing options and the importance of posters, postcards, and business cards for the promotion of independent films, shorts, and webseries.  Today I’d like to briefly discuss how you can use Social Networking to get your film seen.

Facebook
Using your personal Facebook page is the easiest and most important Social Networking site that you can use to get people to see your film.  Post the link to your film’s website and trailer. Create a photo album and add behind the scenes still images of you working on the film. Your friends and family are always your first (and usually biggest) fans.  They will go to the links you post (as long as you don’t post a new link every 30 seconds). Not only will they go to your links, but they will comment on them. They will share them to others and help you promote your work. When you are comfortable and have a finished piece, it is a good idea to make a specific page for your film on Facebook. On it you’ll add as much info as humanly possible, including a ton of images, videos, links, etc. You’ll have to do the leg work and link this page on your profile and send it to friends. Even ask them directly to “like” it. Every person that “likes” it is like having a free ad to all of their friends, and than their friend’s friends. This is the easiest and cheapest form of advertising that you’ll be able to do for your film.

Twitter
This social networking site has become key to getting your film “followers” and getting people to see your trailer and become aware of your project.  In my opinion it is better to have a personal Twitter account, as opposed to an account for your film or production company. People don’t want to follow companies, they want to follow people.  Sign up for an account and start by using Facebook to get your Twitter URL out there (just as you’ll do for your film’s website and trailer).  To help increase followers, you can add a twitter business card or similar logo to your website and your film’s website.  Follow your friends and family member’s accounts and make sure they follow you back. Then go further and start following other filmmakers, journalists, and even websites you enjoy. Everyone will not follow you back, but some will. Send them messages. The more back and forth you have between people, the better. Finally, when you are ready to announce your film project or link your film’s trailer, they will not only click on that link, but they retweet it and leave a comment.  You don’t just want people to watch your work, you want them to talk about it.

Myspace
What’s Myspace? Remember, it is that website you used before Facebook where you had a goofy nickname and a lot of glittery logos and cheesy pictures.  Well, it still exists and there are still people on it. Sign up for a filmmakers/video account and create a page for your project. There is a chance that your trailer or short film can get spotlighted, which could lead to thousands of views. Create some exclusive content for Myspace, just as you should create specific videos for YouTube (which we’ll go over in another part of this series). This content could be videos, behind the scenes photos, teaser posters, press releases, or even just updates about the film and where it will be playing.

Others
These are the three big sites, but they are only the start of making an impact Online.  In future articles we’ll be posting about the importance of message boards, blogs, and entertainment websites to the success of your film.

Remember, the more pages you make for your film across Social Networking sites means that you’ll have that many more pages people can get to from search engines that you control.

Posted on June 10th, 2010 by ThePit | Leave a Comment
Filed Under Filmmaking Resources

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.

Poster/One-Sheet
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.

Postcard
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.

Inside Report

Our friends over at Inside Report sent us this press release about the relaunch of their site and webseries. The show focuses on indie filmmakers and helps promote shorts and features from unknowns. We highly recommend checking out the show.

Inside Report, the ‘net’s #1 indie film show is back and better than ever!

Featuring a new, refined format and more in depth interviews – Inside Report is back in action over at www.insidereport.co.uk

The first edition of the new series features an exclusive interview with filmmaker Howard Warmsley. Host/Producer Sky Wilson will be chatting to him about his latest film, The Visitors – about his history with filmmaking and about the benefit the internet can play for the indie filmmaker.

With the new format comes a new website too. It’s more feature rich than ever before with more of a focus towards letting people know what’s out there and where they can see it. We’ve also added a new section listing upcoming festivals and events so that you can keep your film calendar up to date! We’ve even added an archive of previous shows too!

DON’T FORGET – WE NEED YOU

If you want to promote your film or appear on the show (or if you know anyone who might), get in touch with us info@insidereport.co.uk

For all these features and more, head over to www.insidereport.co.uk

Created way back in 2004 by producer Sky Wilson and director Vin Kelly, Inside Report has always focused on giving the talent behind the best short films the recognition they deserve. Every edition has featured interviews with some of the best up and coming talent from around the world.

Filmmakers such as Sandy Collora (Batman: Dead End), Marty Martin (Got Milk?: The Movie, Dance With The Devil), and Shane Felux (Revelations, Trenches) have all appeared in previous shows, and we are aiming to find the next generation of talent in 2009 and beyond.

Regards
Sky Wilson

In Part 1, I linked to my favorite site for free font downloads, 1001Fonts. I really like the interactivity that 1001Fonts offers, but on the downside it can be really hard finding the exact font that you want there.  Thankfully, we also have Dafont.

Read the rest of this entry »

A key ingredient to making a film is selling it and getting it seen. To help do that it is very important to have an awesome poster, website, DVD cover, etc. In designing any of those, you have to make sure you have the right font. You can’t just whip something up fast and use a default font on it.

Thankfully we have free sites like 1001Fonts. I have used 1001 for the past few years. They are constantly updated and have such a wide variation of fonts. They showcase both original stuff and fonts that mimic popular shows and movies. The site is set up around user feedback and the creators of the fonts have a direct line of communication with the people using them. Heck, if you wanna, you can even try to make your own fonts and post them on the site. You can take their site tour here.

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