How To Create a Film Website (So You Can Sell Your Movie)

Your filmmaker website will go through two stages.

The first stage of your film website is your pre-launch promotional stage. During this time, your film website will consist of your movie title, a synopsis and some fancy images that express what your are tying to accomplish. You should also include a blog.

When we launched the film website for Toxic Soup, we focused on getting environmental activists to join our newsletter. In addition capturing emails, the Toxic Soup landing page had another goal – We wanted to let people know that Toxic Soup was more than just a movie. It was a movement. And we wanted to get our audience to help spread the message.

film website

Share Your Story

In addition to your email registration form, your film website should include a video that tells your prospective fan about your movie. A good example of this can be found at Cow Power, a documentary focused on turning cow poop into fuel.

Cow power film website

I met the filmmaker, Allison Gillette when she attended my panel discussion at WestDoc. And I especially like her email registration form. Do you see how it is limited to just asking for the email? Many marketers agree that asking for less is more.

In addition to emphasizing your movie, your prospective audience will also want to know a thing about you and why you are making the movie. Why should people watch your movie? How will it entertain them? What do you hope to accomplish with the movie?

Indecently, taking time to answer questions in your intro film website video may also set you up for a crowdfunding pitch video.

Add Testimonials On Your Film Website

Just because you do not yet have a movie, does not mean you cannot find at least one early fan excited about the prospect of your movie. An example might be “Hey Jason – I can’t wait to see your ninja zombie movie!”

These early testimonials simply need to demonstrate that someone else knows about your movie. To do this, you will want to contact your subscribers and ask them if they’d be willing to give you a testimonial about why they signed up for your mailing list.

The purpose of an audience list and why you need it!

The primary objective of your film website during the promotional stage is to get people to enroll in your mailing list. To do this, you will want to research several 3rd party email providers.

The two most popular are MailChimp and Aweber. I use Aweber to manage the Filmmaking Stuff mailing list and have been more than satisfied with their service. (Full disclosure, in addition to using the service, I do get paid to promote Aweber.)

After selecting your  preferred email management service, your next step is to actually create the registration form.

As mentioned previously, you should only ask for the most essential information. In my testing, asking for anything more than a name and email dramatically diminishes opt-ins. Both MailChimp and Aweber make this very easy, as they allow to customize registration forms you can embed on your website.

As a filmmaker, depending on the word of mouth potential of your movie, having a promotional film website can help you take advantage of initial movie marketing opportunity.

film website

How To Create a Film Website

The first step in getting your website established, involves reserving website hosting and a domain name for both your production company, as well as separate sites for each of your movies.

If you already know the name of your movie, you will want to reserve it as soon as you can (before somebody else grabs it).

To reserve your domain and set up a film website, head over to my friends at www.MovieSiteHost.com – Like most links I mention, this is my affiliate link for Bluehost. I have utilized MovieSiteHost for many of my websites, for years, without issue. In the few instances when I needed to reach someone in customer service, my calls were always answered.

In terms of setting up your actual site, I no longer recommend building a site from scratch. Instead, consider using something called a content management system – or CMS. With a CMS, you can have your own film website in minutes…

Movie_Site_Host

Just in case some of these terms of confusing, let’s recap: Website hosting can be compared to the vacant lot where you’ll eventually build your office building. Your domain name can be compared to your street address. The CMS is the raw materials needed to build your office building, or in this case, a sophisticated website.

And assuming you are utilizing www.MovieSiteHost.com for your hosting, these elements can be implement in a few clicks of a mouse.

When you arrive at MovieSiteHost, you will first need to reserve a domain name for your movie.

Pick-DomainTo set up your initial website, after you reserve your domain name, you will be redirected to your control panel. Once there, click on an icon called “WordPress.”

Choose_Word_Press

From there, you will START a brand new install WordPress on your server.

Start_Install

After a minute or two, WordPress will be installed in your account. You will then be issued with a username and a password. Once you have it, you can log into your new website and begin your customization.

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In my opinion, WordPress is one of the most robust and powerful content management systems in the world. And the reason I recommend installing a CMS for filmmakers, over building a traditional website is because once you set up WordPress, you will be able to create and modify your content and change the entire look and feel of your website, with the ease of sending an email.

sell your movieBy making these tweaks yourself, you will save the cost of constantly contacting your webmaster.

If you like this tip, you’ll love this film distribution resource.

New Hampshire Film Festival Marketing Panel

The world of film distribution is changing fast. A while back I participated the New Hampshire Film Festival marketing panel with movie marketing and distribution professionals, including folks from Oscilloscope Pictures, Magnolia and the movie marketing heavyweight, Tim Nett.

Many of the participants represent well known movie companies. As a result, the  panel was valuable because many of the thoughts shared on movie marketing and distribution were based on traditional, best practices.

If you were unable to attend the festival – no worries. The innovative folks recorded our New Hampshire Film Festival Marketing Panel discussion. And I have posted it below. In the video, you will see how my thoughts on film distribution and movie marketing are geared towards filmmakers who do not have a budget for a traditional movie marketing campaign.

If you are planning to make your movie – please always remember to include a marketing budget with your business plan. The reason for this is simple. Filmmakers are now responsible for the marketing, sales and distribution of their own movies. This money should be spent on your movie artwork, your website, your trailer, press releases and film festival submission. You should also include money for your required deliverables.

Hopefully sharing some of the latest trends in film distribution and movie marketing will provide you with at least one or two tips you can add to your own filmmaking projects.

Watch live streaming video from fuelstream at livestream.com

I would like to personally thank our moderator Amy Greenlaw of FilmPop! –  As well as Dan Hannon and Brett Carneiro and the other folks who put together the New Hampshire Film Festival Marketing Panel.

If YOU would like more information on how to sell your movie, check out the Indie Producer’s Guide To Digital Self-Distribution. In the guide, I provide an overview how to get your movie seen and selling in the popular video on demand marketplaces.

 

Movie Website Marketing For Filmmakers

Filmmakers: Do you have websites for your movies?

When you’re in the filmmaking process, getting a website up and running is one of those things that filmmakers oftentimes forget. Please don’t. Given the ways in which distribution is changing, having a great website for your movie is probably one of the most important aspects of your eventual movie marketing campaign.

If you’re not technical, that’s OK. The following tips will help you:

The first step in your movie marketing campaign involves reserving some domain names. For example, once you have a title for your movie, you need to go out and reserve your website address names. These addresses are called domain names. And the names you pick will be influenced by the name of your movie.

For example, our first feature was called special dead – so we reserved the domain names www.specialdead.com and www.specialdeadmovie.com. (You’ll notice the sites are very simple. There is one objective – sell the movie. Anything that doesn’t help us achieve this objective has been cut.)

You should write down some names for your movie websites.

You can get domain names through sites like UltraCheapDomains or GoDaddy. But when it comes time to set up a website, in addition to your domain names, you will also need hosting. So I prefer a one-stop-shop.

Luckily, most hosting companies also sell domain names. I use www.MovieSiteHost.com (I get a commission when filmmakers use this link.) You can get hosting for your website there. But if you do your research, you will also find a few other places as well.

The nice part about MovieSiteHost is they give you one domain name as part of your hosting package. And the prices are incredibly affordable. Then once you’re set up, you can buy additional domains there too (not additional hosting – all of your websites can be included on one hosting account).

Once you get set up with your hosting and your domain name, the next step is actually creating a website for your movie. This is still open to your creativity. Just make sure you cut all the fluff. You website should have one purpose. You need to collect the name and email address of each visitor. These people will become your fan club and your most important asset.