Making an independent film is a huge project, and conventional wisdom has it that you: shoot your film, cut your film and then, after that's all done, you try to sell your film. However, marketing your film should begin during the production phase. But who has the time? That's just it — you don't. So.
find some people who do. Marketing is a priority, but it should not be your priority. You need to beg, borrow and trade favors to find a few key people who can stay on top of your marketing needs while your film is in production. Ideally, you want to make the entire production process a marketing process too. Below are a list of five key things you do not want to forget to do, or better yet, that you do not want to forget to find someone else to do for you. 1.
Find A Photographer My own experience in film acquisitions has taught me that even some high-level productions forget to finish production with some great still photography and I cannot emphasize enough how important this aspect will be down the road. You will need photography for every aspect of you promotion and you want it to be quality product. Basically, you need a professional photographer, or somebody who shoots like a professional. You do not need a photographer for the full duration of your shoot, but you should ensure that you have one for the most photogenic scenes.
As well, you want to make sure you have compelling photos of all your lead actors in costume and in character. Brief your photographer on the film's story so they can help you tell it visually. Don't put off taking stills until the end and don't assume that it's something you can go back to later ' you can't.
The best shots are going to happen during your shoot, so make sure you have somebody around who can capture them. 2. Build Your Film An Online Home A stand-alone website for your film is crucial and the overwhelming consensus is that you want to have something simple and user friendly. Your website does not need a lot of flash that makes it clunky to use. Your website, like your film, is a work in progress, so begin with production as your homepage, as you progress this will shift. By the end of your process you will want your site to contain simple access to at least the following: your film's cast and crew, still production photos, a poster, any news coverage your film has generated (more on that later), festival play, and most importantly, a trailer.
The trailer is really the money shot here, so don't hide it: make your trailer, or a link to your trailer, your film's centerpiece. And make sure it's high quality. The payoffs for starting early on this are invaluable.
By the time you are submitting for film festivals or looking for distribution, you will have a site that reflects your film's production history, that already has an audience and that has all the bugs worked out. 3. Meet The Local Press Variety may not be interested in the fact that you are embarking on an independent feature may, but it may be news for publications in and around your location. Reach out to the local press and see if you can get some coverage of your production, talk up your location, why you chose it and what you are doing. Give a local reporter or freelancer some time with your cast.
Once you've wrapped, you won't be in the position to be a local story ' take advantage of it while you can. 4. Reach Out To Film Buyers A number of independent distributors will not purchase an unfinished film, but that does not mean that you should wait until your film is finished to contact potential buyers. A simple e-mail, with a link to the film's website and a note that screeners will be made available in the future is all you need at the beginning.
At this point, focus on the distributors you would most like to work with, your dream list. E-mail with a follow up phone call is the best way to go. This period is low pressure for both the buyer and you, so take it easy and treat it as a "getting to know you" session. Once you have a completed project, the distribution channels you like will at least know who you are. 5. Shoot Your Film / Create A Community During the pre-production and production stage of making your film, you are going to come into contact with a large number of people.
Each of these people will have an e-mail address, and somebody should be tracking all of that information; your film's production creates its first community, so take advantage of it. Take business cards form everyone you come into contact with and get all the e-mail addresses logged.
Daniel Lafleche is the COO of IPEX TV, the leading multiplatform B2B Film and Video online marketplace. Daniel has over 25 years experience in film distribution, combining film and video licensing with internet media. IPEX TV specializes in helping indie producers and film and video distributors take advantage of the web and reach out to international film license buyers.