And let’s be honest, building an audience sounds a lot less sexy than actually making the 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.
If this paradigm shift wasn’t challenging enough, production technology now allows any filmmaker with a few hundred dollars to create a backyard indie. 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?
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 following of rabid fans who know you and enjoy your work. I’m serious here. 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 own fanbase allows you to:
- Ignore crappy distribution deals.
- Accelerate your crowdfunding efforts.
- Sell direct to people who know your work.
- Stop asking permission to make your movies.
- Leverage 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 audience engagement.
At the very least, growing your fanbase means you will need to create a production company blog, a YouTube Channel, Facebook page, a Twittler handle and a mailing 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.
Here are some mandates to get you started:
- Movie Site 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 fan-base. Answer emails as they come in. Respond to comments. And above all else, always work to provide something of value to your followers.
If you need additional tips like this, check out these professional filmmakng tools.