If you’re a filmmaker, wondering how to break into the NEW movie business, then you’re not alone. There are a lot of changes taking shape. Some are exciting and some are super scary.
Luckily many of these changes represent great opportunities for ambitions filmmakers. (And yes, this is a continuation of my article on how to make a living filmmaking.)
Allow me to explain. . .
Our first feature DID NOT garner a traditional distribution deal. Like a lot of filmmakers, we thought that the lack of a deal was synonymous with a lack of success. And outside of the financial returns, we really wanted validation.
But that didn’t happen. Months in the festivals resulted in a lot of talk, but no contracts. So we gave up… Almost.
But the one thing we had going for us with that feature was a marketable hook – The story was controversial and a bit “wrong.”
This enabled us to get the attention of David Strick who came to set, snapped some pictures and sold one of the shots to the now defunct, Premier Magazine.
After that issue of Premier hit the stands, our movie went viral. In a very short time, we had over 100,000 unique visits to our movie site. And while I would like to say this changed our life, it didn’t. Unfortunately, we were not ready to leverage this power – nor were we able to realize the power of website traffic. In fact, we even tried to leverage the traffic as a reason to actually get a traditional distribution deal – Ha!
Why do I say “Ha?” Certainly it is reasonable to say: “Dear traditional distribution company, we have almost a quarter of a million people who know about our movie. Can you please give us a deal?” And if you’re a traditional independent filmmaker thinking in traditional ways, then touting website traffic seems perfectly reasonable, right?
WRONG! That was 2005. We were stupid.
Knowing what I now know, our most important objective would have been to focus less on traffic, and focus more on getting visitors onto our audience list.
From now on,
- We could have created solid relationships with our fans and made them part of the process.
- People don’t usually buy the first time they come to a website.
- Later we could have asked our fans to “buy now.”
- If we had garnered a distribution deal, we could have helped promote our movie to our audience.
- But most importantly, we could have created a prospective customer base for LIFE.
Now before I bash our marketing efforts too much – we did have a MySpace page. Out of that, we managed to get a few thousand folks to become our MySpace “friends.” And after the movie release, quite a few of those folks DID buy our movie. But we soon learned a major lesson – once your social networking site goes out of vogue – your entire filmmaking audience list becomes worthless.
So again – it is best to focus on getting people onto a LIST that YOU control. To help you avoid my mistakes, here are TWO audience building list services that I affiliate with (because I use them):
- www.AudienceList.com allows filmmakers to capture leads from their movie website, build a mailing list, set up email newsletters and add sequential email auto-responder.
- www.ProVideoTool.com allows filmmakers to capture leads from their movie website, build a mailing list, set up email newsletters and a sequential email auto responder. But unlike the previous system, this one allows you to send your emails via video!
- And just in case you don’t have a movie website – www.MovieSiteHost.com allows filmmakers to easily get hosting, a domain name and set up a website for their movie.
Those are the affiliate sites that I use for my own filmmaking business. And I think each offers a great service for those of you who would rather make money with your movie than let it collect dust on your book shelf.
And just in case you’re wondering, our first feature is still selling like hot cakes. More on this in upcoming articles…
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An LA Based independent motion picture
producer specializing in internet marketing
for YOUR movie so you can get MORE buzz,
get MORE followers and have MORE fun!
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