You’ve ate, slept and dreamt it for months. You’ve spent hours and hours thinking about the production of your media project. Now you need to think about how you are going to find an audience to view it…
Here’s are some more ways to help you get your work noticed (also essential for CW2)
1. Create a production website to showcase your short film.
Online self-distribution with lots of promotion might be a good way to go if you identify your target audience. To start promoting your work, you need a web-based “home”. One place that you can send people that has all the information about your project, including the premise, story synopsis, cast/crew info, where they can see it, etc.
Doesn’t have to be flashy. Keep it simple and succinct. When thinking about design and color scheme, have it represent the film. You want the audience to be attracted by the site’s design. The more creative and original it is, the more likely they will remember your film even if they haven’t seen it yet.
Once you have the site up, submit it to sites like Digg and Del.icio.us to get a wider viewing audience and high search engine hits.
2. Produce a production journal about the making of your work
And put regular postings on your website. This should be on your site under News/Updates. Essentially, you want to have your personality and the energy of your project to shine through.This is what will set apart your website from others.
Other things that you can put up are; sneak peeks at scenes, proper interviews with your cast and/or crew or the dog that would not stop barking outside during an emotional gut wrenching scene.
Who knows? Maybe one day like Spike Lee did with “Spikes Gotta Have It” you’ll be turning it into a published book about the making and promotion of your award-winning work.
3. Social Buzz-working
Be like a mega-celebrity – use Social media to gain buzz around your work. Use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat —anything you can get your hands on that will get your story to the masses. Share your trailer and your groovy website. Post photos from the set or from your tour or time at festivals. Post your thoughts, even if unrelated to the film, just to keep your name and the name of your project in the air. Also, use your networks to find your audience. What cities or types of people seem to gravitate towards your project? When you self-distribute your distribution is limited—that makes efficient targeting very important.
The point of Social Networking is creating this open online discussion. A great way of interacting with your network is by holding contests. Connecting it to be relevant to your film is even better. Let’s say my film about frogs is about someone wishing that they were a frog. So, a possible contest idea would be to tell everyone “To enter, share this page, tell us what animal you wish you could be and why!” Have a deadline. Have a fair process of picking a winner- either based on awesomeness of their answer or by random (pieces of paper in a hat) Of course, there needs to be a prize. Maybe a signed poster from the cast, or in my Frog movie, a stuffed frog is appropriate. You get the idea.
The best marketing connects the audience with the material. Think of it as a Story.
Whether you use YouTube or Vimeo or both, this is a great way to have your audience see your work. This is also a good place to broadcast cast and/or crew vlogs about production, the story, the day- keep these short, though. The average attention span of an online viewer is less than 2 minutes. Not only do people tend to avoid reading more than 500 word articles but also any videos longer than 2 minutes. If you want your audience to invest in watching anything longer, be sure that it is worth their time to watch.
There are also interesting and innovative organizations and companies like Indieflix and Createspace who back your film with screenings and streaming and help raise awareness of your project. Some, like Indieflix, have models that allow you to get paid for each minute your film is streamed. For self-distributors, organizations like these are becoming a must.
6. Create a “YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS THIS” trailer
Like any good ad, a great trailer is going to help you get some hype around your work. Release a trailer 1-2 weeks before your film and some daily tidbits to keep your audience waiting in anticipation.
A few things on what not to do when creating a short film’s trailer include DO NOT make it longer than your film and DO NOT tell the whole story. Again, you want to intrigue your audience and catch their attention.
And think about the branding of your trailer – so have your website posted at the end so people know how to find out more.
Need some inspiration? Here’s a list of the best teaser trailers of all time.
7.Hold your own screening event
Rent a screening space to show your work to local audiences and advertise it loudly – via posters, local radio and social media. Don’t just make it a series of run-of-the-mill screenings, organize a Q&A, talking to your audience after the screening. Don’t forget to have some DVD copies to sell afterwards. Guest speakers make screenings more exciting and give people more incentive to come out and see it. You can also engage better with your audience and learn from them, increasing your buzz as well as teaching you how to better target a larger crowd. If this works well go on tour with your film around the county or a few cities.
8. Roll out the red carpet – Film Festivals
Festivals seem like the obvious route for students but you need to do your research first. Target festivals with newcomer categories and make sure you check the fees before you start the application forms. Here’s a list of recommended film festivals for student work.
If you get accepted, find out what online film bloggers, or print columnists are going to that particular festival. Send them an email or press release with links to your movie blog/website letting them know that you and your film will be there. Request a write up, interview that they can use on their blog and you can use as press.
Can’t afford the submission fees? Try Kickstarter.com. It’s a great way to fundraise any creative endeavor. You could also team up with a local bar, restaurant, or business to set up a fundraiser. Some bars will give you two hours open bar for a price because they know that you will bring people in, and that they will probably stay beyond the two hours and buy more. Be sure to have other ideas to raise funds at the event like a raffle or a cake walk.
9. Get RECOMMENDED by Superbloggers/Vloggers/Reviewers
The more places you can get your work seen or written about, the better. Whether it is a professional blogger or reviewer, or even something off radar like a fashion blogger writing about your project, it all helps to increase your visibility. Contact one of these – vloggers-under-25-who-are-owning-the-world-of-youtube – you never know your luck.
10. The magic of going local.
Write a press release about your project (and you) and send it to local press and broadcasting companies (In Coventry BBC local radio is a good place to start). If you are not sure who to send it to, phone up the receptionist and ask them for names. This is a great way to get used to dealing with media organisations and publicizing your work. And if you’re an international student also contact your hometown media outlets.
Make Your Own Luck through a combination of hard work and determination. If you maintain your integrity and your passion… success will follow.