Promoting your digital video film upon completion is important because otherwise no one is going to end up seeing it outside your family and friends. Even if you do get it into film festivals and other public screenings, the likelihood that distributors or other industry professionals are going to make their way over to your screening is slim at best. There are a few things to try out when you are trying to promote your project.
At this point in technology there is one place you should turn to right off the bat: the Internet. The Internet has been leveling the playing field for corporate and independent artists alike, and it is time for you to take advantage of this as well. Create a page not only for yourself, but also within that site a page for your film as well. One of the most important things to do is to create a MySpace film page, a Facebook page, a Live Journal page, and a You Tube page complete with little interview clips and trailers. In this way you can begin “friending” people and constantly provide updates about what’s happening with the film and where it is playing. Make sure all of these pages, especially your actual web site, are designed well and do not just look like any old page. They need to be complimentary of the film and you as an artist.
Social networking is going to be the foundation of your promotional pattern, both while you’re in production and after the film has been completed. As we head into a new era of social networking around film you are going to have to attempt to integrate all the social networking and web services. It is more common to have a Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook follower find you on those given services and keep track of you there rather than expect them to check your website regularly. This does not mean that you should forgo the conventional website, which will be important for maintaining a professional presence, but that you should connect them. The larger number of platforms you hit on the social networking circuit the more you are going to be able to connect to people, but this means approaching each service for what it can offer. Facebook is a good way of posting articles and updates to do with your project, Twitter is great for quick shout outs as things are happening, and Tumblr is built to create a blog journal for it. All of these things can be centralized not only on your website through links, but on each other’s pages so that people can toggle between them. This is going to be the best way to announce needs for your project, funding requests, screening dates, and everything from pre-production through distribution. Remember, social networking sends your content into a person’s individual feed so it is much more direct.
This function may be even more critical when it comes to film funding. Sources like IndieGoGo and Kickstarter are used to find donations and backers for your film that can donate using services like PayPal or Amazon Payments. These websites also work like social networking in that people can follow the project, add comments, and you include content and updates. The success of these are really founded on their integration into other areas of film social networking and you will find that posting and sharing these as widely as possible in these platforms is the best source for film funding in this venue.
Unfortunately, there is little in the way of film specific social networking that matches the strength of things like Facebook and Tumblr. MySpace Film has done some of this, yet is in no way as integrated and will be a better place to simply network with other filmmakers. Withoutabox.com is going to be an important tool to organize film festival submissions and tie it to the Internet Movie Database, but does not serve as outreach.
Become a Celebrity
The most important thing to be doing is selling you as the artist. This is the way to create a long standing following among your audience. Without a clear idea of who you are and what your style is, they will not be able to identify you out of the crowd. And if they can, they will seek your work out no matter how low budget it is. Do any bit of press you can, and make sure to be honest and animated during all of your interviews. At every screening offer to do a question and answer portion. Talk to your friends online, and on your website. It would be best to provide an open forum where you could talk to fans and dissidents to get their responses and feedback.
Email should begin to be implemented as part of this strategy. Sending out spam email may be enticing because it will reach so many people, but you have to remember that people tend to hate that, won’t read it, and will blame you if it feels too much like an ad. Try to find professionals, even executives and distributors, and send them specialized emails. Explain to them what you are doing, how you have no money and are trying to self promote, telling them a little about the film, and asking if they want a free copy sent to them. Quite often they will, so try to do this as frequently as you can. You can find contact info for independent filmmakers in places like Sundance registries and other forums, and with a little bit of detective work you can probably find the email address for any place you would like. Once you have made positive contact you may want to add them to a weekly update email. This is also going to be a very direct way to share film funding needs through services like Kickstarter and to simply announce your social networking pages.
Try It Out
There are a number of ways to get the word out, but the Internet should be used whenever possible. Try some of these things out, and get creative with how you let people know about your work. You can even try to include more conventional ways of communicating about your project, such as flyers and posters, but onto an Internet landscape. Continue to include well-designed and branded content as a way of spicing up your Internet presence.