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In the first part of “How to Get Your Film Seen: (Part 3) Your Website” we discussed why you need a homepage in addition to your social networking profiles, design, web hosting, domain names, and a few different styles that your website can take. Today I want to expand on what we talked about last time.

Not only is it a good idea to get a website, but it is an even better idea to learn just how to build a website. Websites can become very costly after you consider the yearly price of hosting and domain names and then take into the account of the actual design costs and maintenance. As a low budget filmmaker, you have already likely taught yourself how to edit and use camera equipment, why not also learn HTML and CSS coding? Just a little knowledge can get you a very long way. In the very least you can beg someone to do the initial design work on the site and you can comfortably edit the pages by yourself, successfully avoiding the costly maintenance.

Also touching on what I mentioned in the last column, if you create the website around a blog platform, like WordPress, then you’ll be able to easily edit all of the pages via an Online editor. WordPress themes are completely customizable and you can manipulate them into exactly how you want your website to look.

Posted on March 3rd, 2011 by ThePit | Leave a Comment
Filed Under Filmmaking Resources

daily filmmaking tips

Okay, so I know I have shared plenty of tips for websites. We’ve talked about their importance in advertising (both your movie, company, and you as a filmmaker), link exchanges to network, and how they can make you look more professional. When someone is checking up on you, you can be sure that they will google search you and find your website.

There are a few key aspects that we have talked about to putting together a good website, including domain names, site design, and hosting.  Recently, one of my movie sites had a surge of visitors and while I thought everything was good [behind the scenes], the site crashed and then the interest in the site died.  What happened? I made a mistake by not monitoring my stats and monthly bandwidth. And because of this I did notice when I ran out of space and the site was taken offline by the host.

How can you fix this?  By finding the perfect web host. Your host is so important to not only keeping your website online, but also to keep it loading fast and with no missing images/glitches. A good web host will be easy to navigate and find all of the information that you need. You have to know how to control access to your website and its FTP, you need security and to know that no hackers will be getting in, you need multiple stats counters that break down your visitors along with their IP addresses and browsers they are using to get to you, easy access to a file manager, easy online bill pay with automatic reminders. It is also nice to find web hosts that offer a lot of perks, like full libraries of codes, CGI scripts, and advertising tools. Don’t just settle for any one, find the perfect host for the space you need and the visitors that you think you’ll be getting.

Posted on November 12th, 2010 by ThePit | Leave a Comment
Filed Under Filmmaking Resources

If you have been following My Hollywood Dream’s Filmmaking 101 series, than you know just how important having a website is for the promotion of your independent feature films, shorts, and webshows. One of the questions I get a lot is “how do you actually get people to go to your website?” That is not an easy question to answer. What works well for someone, might not work well for someone else. Here are two ways to get people to your website…

Word of Mouth
Just like with your film, one of the best ways to get people to your website is through word of mouth. Tell everyone you know about your website, post it on your Facebook and Myspace pages. Spread the word the old fashion way. Tell your friends and have them tell their friends. This will not get you thousands of hits, but it will get you some eyes onto the page. To get more hits, you’ll need..

Search Engine Optimization
If you are new to making websites, than you might not realize how important Search Engine Optimisation is (or even what it is). Lets start with what it is, in a nut shell, it is improving the ranking of your site in search engines (like Google and Yahoo). For example, if someone types the key words “My Hollywood Dream”, my goal is to be at the top of the search results for those keywords. This is no easy task. The best way to improve your place in search rankings is to get a lot of sites to link to your site. You need bloggers to put your link in their posts, other film sites to link to you, and where ever you can get to link to your site really. Post your link on social networking sites, post comments on other people’s sites that allow you to add a link to your site (we allow it, post a comment below!). The better the quality of the sites that link to you, than you’ll start getting better results in search engines.

Posted on September 1st, 2010 by ThePit | Leave a Comment
Filed Under Filmmaking Resources

We have talked a lot in the past at how important your web presence is for the promotion of not only your film, but yourself. To recap a few points:

Websites
Not only do you need profiles on all of the popular social networking and video hosting sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Myspace, but you also need your own personal (resume) website and websites for each of your projects.

Domain Name
When building your website, you need to choose a really good (and easy to remember) domain name for your url. Don’t choose something confusing or with hard to spell words. Make it to the point and related to your project.

Webhosts
Don’t forget just how important webhosting is. You need a good webhost, who is reliable, dependable and has 24-7 customer service. Nothing is worse than having your sites unavailable when something happens and surges of people head to your website. Don’t just choose anyone, research the best suited webhost for you.

Design
Don’t let your websites look amateurish. Take your time with the design and ask a lot of people their opinion about it. You want something that looks good and is easy to navigate. Think hard about your project and how to make this website a good representation for the project.

Do you have a personal or film project website? I’d love to check it out. Post it in the comments of this article! Thanks!

Posted on August 31st, 2010 by ThePit | Leave a Comment
Filed Under Filmmaking Resources

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Nexx Online. All opinions are 100% mine.

Nexxbannernoflash

We have been talking a lot lately about how to get your film seen and how to get your name out there as a filmmaker. One of the key things you need is an attractive website that hooks potential viewers and fans. One of the things you need to have in order to have that website is a reliable web host. This deal from Nexx is easily one of the best Unlimited Web Hosting deals that I have seen in a long time.

We’ll start with the basics, does the web host have enough space and monthly bandwidth? They give you unlimited of both. So, check. Does the website offer you unique email addresses? Also unlimited. Check. How is their customer service? 24/7 support. Okay, that one is a big check. Now lets look at the price: the first year of unlimited web hosting will cost you… 10 bucks. That is it and it gives you one free .COM domain name (check out the original post on websites for tips on choosing your domain name).

They also give you a couple extra perks, including one click WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and other blog installations, and $50 dollars of ad credits to both Google Adwords and Facebook Ads. Those could be useful to getting more eyes to see your flick.

The promo code to get this awesome deal is SPARK10. I’m not sure how long this deal will last, so if you’re interested in starting a new website, now would be a great time.

Visit my sponsor: Unlimited Web Hosting + Domain Name for $10 @ Nexx

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
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