Filmmakers need a filmmaking fanbase. Without a fanbase, you have no business. Many filmmakers ignore this part of the process. And let’s be honest, building an audience sounds a lot less sexy than actually making your movie!
But here is the deal. Traditional film distribution once revolved around shipping physical product. There were fixed costs and accurate sales projections.
We just sold 5000 DVDs to Hollywood Video!
But the days when people converged on video stores searching for obscure independent movies is over. Viewing habits are changing. People are increasingly interested in the convenience of viewing content on their preferred device. These same people are scattered all over the world.
Adding to challenge is the over-saturation of backyard indies. Production technology now allows any filmmaker with a few hundred dollars to create a movie. And while many of these movies are not worth watching, it doesn’t change the fact that the market is flooded.
This creates an interesting challenge for you. How will someone ever find out about your movie? How will you cultivate word of mouth around your movie? How will you make your movie a profitable enterprise? One major strategy you need to focus on is growing your filmmaking fanbase.
Grow Your Filmmaking Fanbase
It is no longer good enough to simply have a great movie! There is only one way to succeed as a modern moviemaker. Focus on building a filmmaking fanbase. These are rabid fans who know you and enjoy your work. And unless you proactively focus on sourcing your own audience, your odds of success are diminished.
Here are some reasons WHY building an audience needs to be your primary objective. Growing your filmmaking fanbase allows you to:
- Create leverage and ignore crappy distribution deals.
- Accelerate your crowdfunding efforts.
- Sell direct to people who know your work.
- Stop asking permission to make movies.
- Leverage distribution deals for minimum guarantees.
- Provide engagement beyond just the movie.
- Encourage word of mouth beyond your community.
In order to succeed as a filmmaker you will need to spend time between each movie working to expand your filmmaking fanbase. At the very least, growing your fanbase means you will need to create a create a blog, a YouTube Channel, Facebook page and a Twitter handle.
But you know all this, right?
Here’s what you don’t know. The reason for using social media is to capture leads and grow your email list. Seriously. The way you measure the size of your filmmaking fanbase is by the number of engaged subscribers on your mailing list. Even though a new social media platform emerges each week – The one thing you can count on, own and measure is the size of your email list.
Once you create these tools, you will need to create new content frequently. What kind of content? You will want to focus on content that appeals to your desired target audience.
For example, if you are a horror filmmaker, you might profile other movies in the genre, provide your audience with one minute teaser videos and Tweet about horror. If you produce environmental documentaries, you would want to focus on environmental issues.
And once you figure out your focus, you will want to update, and update frequently. You will also want to link ALL profiles to Klout. (I’ll save Klout for another article. But in short, the site measures your social influence and the site rewards you with perks.)
Here are some mandates to help you grow your filmmaking fanbase:
- Create a Blog: Update at least 3 times per week. Initial goal: 100 articles.
- YouTube Channel: Update at least 2 times per week. Initial goal: 100 videos.
- Facebook Page: Provide links to you blog and YouTube updates. Initial goal: 2500 likes.
- Twitter: Tweet your blog and YouTube updates. Initial goal: 2500 followers.
- Mailing List: Email your blog and YouTube updates. Initial goal: 5000 subscribers.
In addition to creating this content, you will want to use these tools to create personal relationships with your filmmaking fanbase. Answer emails as they come in. Respond to comments. And above all else, always work to provide something of value to your followers.
One last thing, you may have noticed that the Filmmaking Stuff Facebook page has over 45,000 followers. We were able to do this by utilizing these engaging and ethical tactics.