A few months back, I joined forces with the folks at Chill to help solve a major filmmaking problem. But before I tell you about the awesome solution Chill recently launched – I want to first tell you about the problem. And this is a problem many filmmakers don’t realize they have.
I’ll give you a hint. It has to do with your movie marketing strategy… Specifically how to engage an audience.
If you’re like most filmmakers, your primary goal is to make a movie. You know you need Twitter, Facebook and a robust mailing list of people who can’t wait to see your work. While you know social media is important, you also know that raising money, hiring crew and refining your script so you can actually finish your movie is equally, if not more important.
Movie Marketing Strategy
When time and energy is limited, the last thing you want to do is think about your movie marketing strategy. You probably assume that if you make a good movie, some major distributor will swoop in and do all that marketing stuff for you. And you never know. You might get lucky. You might win an upfront cash advance and a three picture, studio deal.
But since only a small minority of filmmakers garner these types of deals, let’s focus on the other 99%.
What if your movie has an awesome run at the festivals, garners a lot of buzz? And against your wildest dreams, you find yourself getting several calls from distributors who want to “pick up” your movie?
If you’re a first time filmmaker, getting attention from a distributor is exciting. But once the excitement dies down and you actually start reading the offers – You may notice that very few of these distributors provide minimum guarantees. And if you are fortunate enough to get an MG, odds are good the amount is much less than you ever anticipated.
The reason for this is simple. Production is cheaper. A lot of people are making movies these days. DVD has been replaced with VOD, which means there are over a gazillion affordable ways to upload your movie and share it with the world.
What Movie Distributors Don’t Want You To Know
As a result of this paradigm shift, many former film distribution companies have become VOD aggregators. Talk with a few of these distributors and you will realize that most VOD aggregators offer the same solution. They put your movie on platforms like iTunes, Cable VOD, Amazon and others.
Most tell you they are better than the other distribution company because they “know the guy at iTunes or Amazon or…” And based on these relationships, they can get you special placement. But when making this pitch, what most distributors don’t realize is that every distributor knows the same guy and pitches the same placement.
Which brings me to my next point… Are you ready for this?
Movie Distribution has become a commodity.
There. I said it, finally…
If you want to get your movie into the marketplace, you can. And if you do some internet searches, you’ll find out that for a few thousand bucks you can access most any VOD platform. Want iTunes? Bypass the middle-man and go straight to an iTunes approved encoding house. Want Amazon? Go to CreateSpace. Want to sell on your own website? Try one of the hundreds of VOD platforms that allow this.
And all this to say…
Finding movie distribution is NOT your problem.
The real problem for filmmakers is audience engagement. How will you source an audience for your movie?
How do you find people who care about your movie? And from there, how do you make it easy for your fans to share your movie with their friends? In other words, how do you find and exponentially grow your audience?
To this end, Chill launched a new audience engagement platform called Insider Access. The platform provides film audiences with an exclusive experience, complete with video diaries, behind-the-scenes pictures and other awesome, exclusive content.
Collect Email and Cell Phone Numbers
In-turn, the platform provides producers with valuable audience contact information including emails and cell phone numbers, as well as detailed demographic and psychographic information. And the best part? Any time a fan shares the content with her friends, the new visitors will be prompted to opt in.
To see Insider Access in action, check out the trailer for Camp Takota below.
As a filmmaker, being able to source and exponentially grow your audience is essential. And if you’re looking for additional market your movie tips, check out the Indie Producer’s Guide to Distribution.
Please feel free to comment below.