The Director's Chair Issue #40 – Nov. 22, 2003 (10 Tips to Market & Promote Your Film)
THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR
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November 22, 2003 Scene 4 – Take 8
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3. Feature Article – 10 Tips to Market & Promote Your Film
4. Back Issues of The Director’s Chair
5. Quote of the Month
6. Out Takes – 20 Ways to keep a Healthy Level of Insanity
7. Share This Ezine
8. Suggestions & Comments
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10. Copyright Information
Welcome to Issue #40 of The Director’s Chair (November 22, 2003).
1) THE FEATURE ARTICLE – 10 Tips to Market & Promote Your Film
by Mark Bosko
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3. FEATURE ARTICLE – 10 Tips to Market & Promote Your Film
“Ten Tips to Market and Promote your Independent Film”
by Mark Bosko
1. Understand Your Target Audience – When independently promoting
a film or video, properly identifying your audience is a little
difficult because you really have three separate audiences, not
just one. They are:
· Those who will watch the product (consumers via purchase,
rental or broadcast situations). Consider a viewer’s gender, age,
education, income, religion, race, occupation and location.
· Those who will buy/sell the product (distributors, acquisition
agents, sub-distributors, video buyers). Each has different
motivations and needs for product.
· Those who will promote the product (publicists, media, festival
programmers). Their support is very important in gaining industry
2. Analyze Your Hooks – A good selling point for your film or
video – or any other product for that matter – is known as a
marketing “hook.” Hooks are exploitable elements, aspects
associated with the production that will attract those people who
comprise your audience profile. Hooks take many forms – a person,
place, thing, action or idea. Many times, a film or video’s title
alone will function as the marketing hook. Finding the right hook
means a mediocre film can become wildly successful while a much
more accomplished, yet hookless, project sits on a shelf. The
survival and success of most independent films and videos are
predominantly dependent upon realizing the proper hook to use in
the promotional campaign. What is the single most-promotable
element of your film or video that will attract its target
3. Create a Concise Logline – Your movie or video project cannot
be all things to all people. You should be able to define your
film in one concise sentence, identifying its genre in the
process while at the same time conveying the basic storyline to
the potential viewer. This method of summarizing your entire film
into a short sketch is known as the “logline.” Consider your
film’s structure, genre, emotional pleas, characters, action and
setting when writing a logline. Look to the movie listings in TV
Guide for examples of well-conceived loglines. This logline will
be used in most of your marketing efforts as a way to tell the
story of your film. If you’re planning a project for a very
specified target audience (i.e., an urban or horror film) solicit
this group for input before you start using your logline. It’s
vital that the core viewer understands your promotional campaign,
especially so if they represent a small or limited number.
4. Utilize Free Media – Free media is usually known as publicity.
Much of what you read in magazines, hear on the radio, see on TV
and surf on the Net is a product of publicity, or, more
specifically, the product of media or press releases. You can
create and/or report on news that is then disseminated to the
various media deemed appropriate for the subject. Information
from situations surrounding the production of an independent film
is assembled in written format, supported with photos, videotape
footage or samples and sent to the media in the form of a
release. This kind of publicity should constitute the majority of
your promotional campaign. Except for the time needed to create
the information, and any negligible costs involved – postage,
phone, paper, envelopes, videotape – it’s free.
5. Stage a Publicity Stunt – The purpose of a publicity stunt is
to arouse interest in both the public and the media – in a unique
way. It’s usually not so much something you want to invite these
groups to witness (though that’s not a bad idea), but rather
something you do that will create attention on its own account.
Examine your film or video for elements that you can exploit
through a publicity stunt. This is a very necessary tactic for
self-distributors because you do not have the budget available to
advertise your project through common means. An attention-getting
publicity stunt is one involving the public – the best scenario
being bystanders in a public area who have no idea what to
expect. Confrontational settings make for successful publicity
stunts, and if your film or video features a controversial topic,
exploit it for all it’s worth. Try creating a human billboard for
your film or video, staging appearances or costume contests at
local video shops, making a float for any local parades and
sponsoring some kind of contest that creates both consumer
interaction and visual interest.
6. Hold a Premiere – A premiere is a great way to gather
publicity for your film while at the same time throwing a fun
party for all involved. To make sure the night is successful,
consider the following:
· Invite all local print and broadcast media entertainment
editors and reviewers.
· Stage a publicity event on the night of the premiere.
· Hold the premiere in a place that is fitting for the project. A
bar is a good place for a “party” film, college auditorium for an
edgy independent movie, local library screening room for an
educational or children’s-oriented video.
· Solicit smaller local broadcasters to simulcast the film in
conjunction with its screening.
· Have a “celebrity” or two on hand for the event such as local
politicians, sports figures and other well-known individuals in
· “Salt” the audience with a good number of friends and
supporters to ensure a favorable response. Coach them on
appropriate laugh, gasp and applause points.
· Offer copies of the video or DVD available for purchase before
and after the show.
· Distribute some small promotional item to everyone attending.
· Arrive in a limo. Really, it’s worth the expense.
7. Work with Sponsors – Approach product manufacturers, service
providers, restaurant and bar owners, media outlets and other
companies to provide monetary, promotional or product/service
sponsorship to facilitate the marketing of your film. Trade
advertising space on your DVD sleeve in exchange for on-air
commercials with a local cable channel. Splice a 30-second ad on
the front of your film with a company that can provide you with
printing, media or promotional opportunities. Think of situations
that will allow you to reach larger or more targeted audience
groups, then approach companies that are already successfully
reaching these segments and work with them to “piggyback” on
8. Enter Appropriate Film Festivals – Originally designed as a
forum to present new and original independent films to a more
“art-minded” audience, film festivals have now become sales
markets and publicity stops for most every kind of movie aimed at
the general public. Showcasing shorts, features, experimental,
8mm, digital video, animation, adult, documentary, music and even
Pixelvision movies, there really is a festival for everyone. But
it is important to enter only those festivals that will provide
some benefit to your promotional efforts. Answer the following to
decide which is best for your specific film:
· How much will the film festival cost you in time, money and
· How will the timing affect your promotional plan?
· How worthwhile is the festival?
· What kind of contacts and exposure will result from your
· Is there a cash, product or distribution “prize”?
· How is the market aspect of the festival?
9. Solicit Reviews – With the ever-increasing number of media
outlets operating on the planet, finding a source for reviews
isn’t too tough. A quick glance through any publication, or a
flip through the channels will uncover any number of
review-oriented articles and programming. And, almost every
single film and video advertisement – print or broadcast –
features review quotes as part of its marketing message. Using
reviews in this manner offers promoters a simple, cheap and
effective way to influence an audience. An objective, third-party
endorsement of your project is always more convincing than saying
the same things yourself. Thus the popular habit of placing
review quotes on film and video packaging. And, reviews don’t
always have to come from entertainment-themed publications or
writers. A review from a product manufacturer, service provider,
non-Hollywood celebrity and others have just as much “oomph” if
applicable to your film. For example, a review from a well-known
surfboard designer for beach-themed flick is a pretty good idea.
10. Use the Internet – The benefits of using the Internet as a
promotional medium are so numerous – low-cost, instant access,
ease-of-use, non-invasive, constantly-available…it’s hard to
know where to start. One thing is certain, however, the Internet
should not simply be considered during the post-production
promotional phase, but also implemented as early in the process
of making your film or video as possible. Many projects without a
frame shot or even a dollar of financing found, host world wide
Web sites advertising their existence. This kind of proactive
publicity can lead to financing, crews, media coverage, even
distribution deals, and the best part, it’s really pretty cheap.
Surf other successful and well-known film web sites for ideas
(but don’t plagiarize) and adapt those features that seem
relevant to your marketing efforts. Be sure your web site looks
professional, is technologically sound and features an
easy-to-find contact area.
The Film Marketing and Promotion Tips are courtesy Michael Wiese
Productions (http://www.mwp.com), America’s best-selling film
book publisher. For more detailed independent film marketing and
promotion information and instruction, check out The Independent
Film and Videomaker’s Guide by Michael Wiese and The Complete
Independent Movie Marketing Handbook by Mark Steven Bosko at
http://www.mwp.com. All information copyright Michael Wiese
4. BACK ISSUES OF “THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR”
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5. QUOTE OF THE MONTH
“Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, “Where have I gone
wrong?” Then a voice says to me, “This is going to take more than
one night.” – Charlie Brown, Peanuts [Charles Schulz]
6. OUT TAKES – 20 Ways to keep a Healthy Level of Insanity
1. At lunch time, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and
point a hair dryer at passing cars. See if they slow down.
2. Page yourself over the intercom. Don’t disguise your voice.
3. Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want
fries with that.
4. Put your garbage can on your desk and label it “in”
5. Put decaf in the coffee maker for 3 weeks. Once everyone has
gotten over their caffeine addictions, switch to espresso.
6. In the memo field of all your checks, write “for sexual
7. Finish all your sentences with “in accordance with the
8. Don’t use any punctuation marks
9. As often as possible, skip rather than walk.
10. Ask people what sex they are. Laugh hysterically after they
11. Specify that your drive through order is “to go”.
12. Sing along at the opera.
13. Go to a poetry recital and ask why the poems don’t rhyme.
14. Put mosquito netting around your work area. Play a tape of
jungle sounds all day.
15. Five days in advance, tell your friends you can’t attend
their party because you’re not in the mood.
16. Have your co-workers address you by your wrestling name, Rock
17. When the money comes out the ATM, scream “I won!”, “I won!”
“3rd time this week!!!!!”
18. When leaving the zoo, start running towards the parking lot,
yelling “run for your lives, they’re loose!!”
19. Tell your children over dinner. “due to the economy, we are
going to have to let one of you go.”
And the final way to keep a healthy level of insanity…….
20. Send this e-mail to everyone in your address book, even if
they sent it to you or asked you not to send them stuff like this
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10. COPYRIGHT INFORMATION
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Peter D. Marshall
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