Here Are 10 Ways NOT To Market Your Movie

If you are looking to market your movie,  you’re in luck. I am going to provide you with a list of 10 ways not to market your movie. And the reason for this is pretty simple. . .

Most filmmakers screw marketing up.

And you and I both know why.

Admit it!

You’d much rather focus your time on grabbing your next piece of camera gear than listen to me go on and on about why you need to define your hook,  find your target audience and actually get people to care about your movie.

Market Your Movie

I’ve been there.

Back when we made our first feature, nobody on my team cared about marketing. Except maybe me. And I was an anomaly.

Our marketing plan was to find a distributor, sell the movie for maximum profit and let the distribution company sort it out. Of course, what we found out is the same thing you’re about to discover.

Traditional distribution DOES NOT favor the filmmaker.

(At least, not without leverage.)

And with the DVD market on the demise, this is especially true.

Sure, one can argue that many of the deals were fair. Had we taken one, our movie would have ended up in the video stores and Germany. . . The Germans loved our movie.

But the thing is. We had something most filmmakers did not have. And it is the one thing that gave us absolute negotiating power with prospective distributors.

And when it comes time to market your movie, this one thing is the reason why we ultimately rejected EVERY crappy distribution offer.

Can you guess what I’m referring to?

. . . Targeted website traffic.

The one thing you need to market your movie (possibly more than anything else) is targeted website traffic. And this can only come from offering genuine value. . .

This comes as a result of providing content that your audience is seeking.

In short, if you can attract the targeted website traffic, you can convert some of this traffic into movie sales. I have outlined specifics on how to do this in the following articles:

But if you’re still planning on how to market your movie, avoid doing social media shout-outs.  At best, this sort of stuff is annoying. At worst, shoddy marketing is a surefire way to alienate yourself from your prospective audience.

In other words, yelling at people is not a good way to market your movie. . .

I want to help you avoid these things.

10 Ways Not To Market Your Movie

  1. Nobody cares about your movie unless they care about your movie.
  2. Stop sending long emails talking all about YOU. What’s in it for me?
  3. Really? You want to make another no-budget drama with no star talent?
  4. No. I don’t know if I should “LIKE” you. We never met.
  5. Stop exchanging postcards with other filmmakers at festivals. See #1
  6. Stop bragging. Stop shouting. I really don’t care. See #2
  7. What is your USP? Wait, you don’t know your USP?
  8. You just want to make a movie and have someone else sell it. Shut up.
  9. We just won best picture at [insert regional festival you never heard of]
  10. Our movie just got “picked up” for iTunes (for no money). But we are validated!

While figuring out how to market your movie is not exactly a science, there are several things you can do to sell your movie. The first thing you have to remember is that marketing is an art, with the potential for measurable results.

What is measurable? Your conversion rate. I wrote about conversion rates here.

The starting point for learning how to market your movie is to view it as a conversation. What is your movie about? What is your hook (you know, the thing that makes your movie unique?)

What segment of the global population would care about your movie? And why should they invest two hours of  their irreplaceable time to watch it?

Figure these things out and figuring out how to market your movie will be a little easier. And while you’re at it, you may as well grab a copy of my distribution action guide.


  1. Josu Daniel says

    Great work man. Am a Nigerian, studied Film & Tv Production, with a little idea of experience but wants to advance knowledge in all genres of drama or film making mostly horror. I will do love it getting tutorials in my mails.

  2. Jeremy says

    I believe once you have your film on withoutabox and imdb and you are accepted in festivals, that content can go elsewhere… but not sure how it goes into netflix without a deal.

  3. cpatap says

    Here’s a question for you: How would someone be able to create a Netflix page for your movie, write their own synopsis without your approval, put it under the wrong genre/category, AND gather 31 ratings BEFORE your movie has even been released/distributed?

    We are premiering at a theatrical screening August 20 in Beverly Hills. The only people who have seen the movie (not final) are 1) screeners at film festivals / withoutabox and 2) a few people who saw a test screening / sneak peek at an Invader Zim convention two weeks ago. We can tell that the poster they used for the Netflix page is our NEW poster, which was made specifically for the convention, and we distributed postcards of the poster at the convention.

    Isn’t Netflix required to confirm a listing with the 1) production company, 2) distribution company, or 3) producer/director/writer (me)? Or, at the very least, check to see if the information submitted is from a valid source?

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