The whole world of movie distribution is changing. This is important because the success of you movie depends on distribution.
Given the deterioration of DVD sales channels, to become successful as a filmmaker, YOU are now responsible for sourcing, engaging and selling your movie to your intended target audience.
In this filmmaking article, I decided to share my most frequently asked movie distribution questions:
Q: What about Facebook and Twitter?
A: Essential, but only part of the strategy. Even if you had a gazillion followers (which you probably don’t), it is very difficult to convert these folks to paying customers.
And if you don’t even have a Twitter or facebook page for your movie, then you will have to invest quite a few months of Twitter time, to build relationships, community and authenticity with your audience.
Q: What about my website?
A: Firstly, stop building stupid, complex flash websites. 1999 is over. And we have entered into an era where fresh, unique, interesting and SEO friendly content is king.
Figure out your website objective. And make sure your site works!
In the festivals it is OK to have press kits and behind the scenes stuff. But when you start selling your movie, your objective changes to a BUY NOW mentality. Monitor your stats and then eliminate all pages that distract your visitors.
No website? Visit my affiliate www.MovieSiteHost.com and reserve a domain name and hosting. (Disclaimer, this is an affiliate. They pay me.)
Q: Audience List building?
A: Building a list of people who know you and like your work is essential for your current movie and your long term success. As you were reading this article, you probably saw a pop-up where I offer you a ton of free stuff – for the price of your email address.
This is one of the ways I build a list. Feel free to study what I do on this site, then copy this filmmaking list building strategy for your own movie website.
Here is how you do it. And yes, as a disclaimer, I get paid to promote just about everything including the following recommendations. But these are the exact tools I use. So why not?
1. Reserve your domain address and hosting for your movie and your movie company. There are about a gazillion web hosting companies. But I use Bluehost for everything. You can find out more here: www.MovieSiteHost.com
2. After you have hosting, I recommend installing the WordPress CMS to handle your movie websites. Why? With MovieSiteHost, installing wordpress and having your website is only takes a few clicks. (Note: If you are not using MovieSiteHost, you will have to check and make sure your hosting company can handle WordPress Installations.)
3. Once your site is up, you can add your trailer and also, create a blog to tell people about your movie. Having frequently updated, fresh content will aid you in search engine optimization.
4. Ask people to become your eMail pal. For this, I use two tools. Firstly to manage my ever growing email database, I utilize aweber. Here is my affiliate link – www.AudienceList.com. Why? It’s more professional to send movie emails from a 3rd party email company with a good reputation, than your gmail account. Plus, there a few SPAM requirements you need to follow. Aweber is very strict in helping you adhere to SPAM compliance.
Once my audience list account is set up, and because this is a wordpress site, I am also able to easily plug-in a tool (which you probably saw a minute ago) called pop-up domination. (Yep. I get paid to promote these guys too.) And this tool has dramtically increased my subscriptions. You should use something similar on your own movie website.
5. The most important tip to remember is this (say it out loud 100 times): “My audience is my movie business. Without an audience, I have no movie business!” Seriously. You are responsible for cultivating genuine relationships and sharing as much value as you possible can with your audience. Treat them like gold!
Q: I don’t get social media. I just want to make movies. How much do you charge to do this?
A: First of all, I am not cheap. Sourcing an audience is tough work, time consuming and potentially expensive. This is why studios spend a gazillion dollars on marketing! But assuming your movie is still playing festivals, you have a well defined target audience (you do know your niche, right?) and you have some buzz – then that makes my job easier. But still not cheap.
Modern Movie Marketers (and people like me) usually charge between $10,000-$25,000 dollars for a 3 month strategy. Most of that money is used in marketing efforts. And most marketers make very little profit. So with that said, if you are creating a marketing budget, you need to know that marketing is not magic, it’s not a science, and while it’s essential, it’s not cheap.
And let’s be very frank. Most filmmakers don’t have that kind of money.
So here is an affordable alternative. I recommend simply grabbing a copy of the Independent Producer’s Guide to Distribution. You can find the movie distribution action guide here.