Why Do Filmmakers Need A List?

Like it or not, many social networking sites run the risk of going out of vogue. So as a filmmaker, if you are working to build a relationship with your audience – From day one, you will want to migrate your fans off the social networking sites and get them into your own email, mailing list.

For this, I recommend using a reputable third-party email marketing service such as www.AudienceList.com.

In full disclosure, the company does pay me to promote, but it is the company I utilize for my own business.

With this tool, as soon as you sign up for one of their inexpensive accounts, you can easily create ways for your movie fans to connect with you. For an example of how this works, STOP: If you would like over $47 dollars in useful filmmaking tools for FREE, sign up below:

 

If you just clicked that link, you probably got an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Assuming you clicked, you were then redirected to a “Thank You Page.” And on that page you were able to download all sorts of premium filmmaking tools, for free. This is what legitimate email marketers call the “double-opt-in” process.

While I am obviously utilizing list-building to create a more meaningful relationship with filmmakers (and YOU), this model can be (and should be) applied to your own movie business.

The major difference between email marketing and traditional movie marketing methods is that members of your target audience find you, and give YOU permission to email them. This is important, because unlike traditional movie marketing methods, with email marketing, you will only communicate with people actually interested in your movie.

To make this easy, your audience list is simply a collection of email addresses. Most filmmakers will also collect the person’s first name with the email address so that they can personalize the email. So instead of saying “Hello Zombie Movie Lover”, you can say “Hey, Jason!”

While I usually stick to just collecting a name and email address, www.AudienceList.com also makes it easy to collect information such as the address and phone number of your site visitor. While this extra information may help refine your  marketing strategy – the truth is, most of your movie website visitors will not take time to fill out an extensive opt-in form.

An opt-in form is a little box that asks visitors to provide you with their name and email address. Here is an example:

 

With services like www.AudienceList.com, as soon as your visitor opts-in, the contact information is added to your database and managed for you, automatically! These subscribers are now part of your “list,” and you can email them with updates, deals and movie festival screening times – to name a few examples.

The other week I gave a talk at the UCLA film school. And someone asked me why I emphasize audience list building so much – So this is important. Given the disruption to traditional distribution sales channels, building an audience list for your movie and your career might be one of the most important decisions you ever make. Why? Because regardless of how the independent movie industry changes, one constant will always hold true. YOU will need to get people to sit down and watch your movie, and hopefully pay you for this privilege. www.AudienceList.com can help you get started.

Movie Sales Funnel | Sell Your Movie PT 4

Layers of a typical sales funnel.

Image via Wikipedia

Filmmaking is changing. Like it or not, if you want to make a living making movies, you need to learn about the business side of independent movie making. And if this is your first time on filmmaking stuff, you are reading step 4 of a 7 part series on How To Sell Your Movie On iTunes, Amazon and Netflix For Maximum Profit.

So picking up where we left off, once you have sharpened your hook and targeted your target audience, and set up shop in the popular VOD marketplaces, your next step is to create a movie sales funnel.

Step 4 of 7 – Create Your Movie Sales Funnel

To set up an internet movie sales funnel, you will have to modify your website to funnel all traffic towards a sale. This can be achieved easily by removing all the potentially distracting content from your site including production photos, press kits and actor bios. Once removed, further emphasis should be placed on your trailer, your about page, and most importantly, your “buy now” buttons.

Most of your visitors will exit your website and never return. So to increase your odds of converting these visitors into paying customers, you will want to create ways to capture visitor contact information. One easy way is by creating a Facebook page for your movie and then placing a Facebook link on your site. This way, once your visitor joins your movie’s Facebook community, the added social proof of like-minded fans touting the joys of your movie may increase your sales. This goes for Twitter and other social networking communities too.

But because many social networking sites run the risk of going out of vogue, you will want to migrate your fans off the social networks and get them into your own mailing list. For this, I recommend using a third-party email marketing service such as Aweber.  Aweber provides ease of service. As soon as you sign up for one of their inexpensive accounts, you can easily create a way for your fans to connect with you. For example, if you would like over $47 dollars in FREE filmmaking tools simply enter your info into my Awber opt in box below.


If you just signed up, you will get an email. You will need to first, confirm your subscription. After you confirmed, you probably noticed how you were redirected to a “Thank You Page.” And on that page you were able to download all sorts of premium filmmaking tools, for free.

This is called permission based marketing. Because I have built some trust with you, you decided to give me permission to send you useful filmmaking information. While I am obviously utilizing list-building to create a more meaningful relationship with filmmakers (and YOU), this model can be (and should be) applied to your own movie business. But instead of giving away filmmaking books and audio courses, you might consider allowing your prospective movie audience to download a free movie soundtrack.

The reason why I stress Audience List Building so much in my Filmmaking model is because no matter what happens in distribution, the size of your targeted audience list  (a community of people who know you and your work) – this will determine your rate of success over your long-term career. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

Three Tips for building your Audience List:

  1. From now on, as soon as you have a website, start buiding your list.
  2. Put your website on your business card.
  3. Collect names and email addresses at film festivals.

Companies like Aweber allow you to manage your email communication with thousands of fans. And since reputable email companies have good relationships with internet service providers, the odds of your movie newsletter ending up in spam folders is decreased.

[box style=”notice”] For more information on how to market and sell your movie, visit www.HowToSellYourMovie.com[/box]

How To Break Into The NEW Movie Business

This is icon for social networking website. Th...

Social Media is not always the best tools for Filmmakers. Image via Wikipedia

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,

  1. We could have created solid relationships with our fans and made them part of the process.
  2. People don’t usually buy the first time they come to a website.
  3. Later we could have asked our fans to “buy now.”
  4. If we had garnered a distribution deal, we could have helped promote our movie to our audience.
  5. 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…

– – –

If you would like my 90 page filmmaking book for free, go here:

www.FreeFilmmakingBook.com

Jason Brubaker
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!

Three resources you can grab right now:

1. Fat-free Movie Making ideas for those of you
who hate asking permission:
http://www.FreeFilmmakingBook.com

2. Follow me on Twitter to get cool micro-ideas
on how to make your movie now:
http://twitter.com/filmmakingstuff

3. Connect with me on FaceBook so you
can tap into my 300+ Movie Maker connections:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Filmmaking-Stuff

Brubaker Unlimited LLC
6767 Sunset Blvd. #153
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Filmmaking Tools You Can Use Today

If you’re a member of the Filmmaking Stuff newsletter as well as our Facebook group you probably know that we try very hard to answer every moviemaking question you send. Now, granted sometimes we get busy.

So, I wanted to provide you with a list of useful, no-fluff filmmaking tools. (Disclosure: Where possible, I included affiliate links. If you don’t want to buy anything I’m selling that’s totally cool.)

With that said, if I were once again putting together my first feature, this is a loose road map of the filmmaking tools I would utilize to make it happen.

How to Make Your Movie Now!

Before you get started, set up a profile with my friends at Movie Set – I consider this site to be the glue that binds. Well beyond your typical social networking site, this service will help you create community around your movie the whole way from script to screen to your movie marketplace.

Your Script – The First Draft:

This seems obvious. But without a screenplay, it is very difficult to make a movie. Yes, I know some of you are interested in making an “experimental” movie. If that’s you, then ignore the following screenwriting tools. But if you would like to write a screenplay, here are some filmmaking tools that I recommend:

  1. Final Draft – This is industry standard screenwriting software. You can also get Movie Magic Screenwriter. But I never used it. And if money is tight, you can get FREE screenwriting software here: Celtix
  2. The Independent Producer’s Guide To Writing Movie Scripts That Sell, by Jason Brubaker – Yes, this is THE screenwriting Action Pack that I created. In it, you get a decade of experience, a workbook and MP3 Audio, so you can listen to it anywhere. Call it screenwriting from a producer’s perspective.

BreakDown Your Script

Ok. After you finish your screenplay, you will want to break it down. What is a script breakdown? Basically, you take everything in your script (wardrobe, stunts, locations, characters, props Et AL. . . ) And you put these elements into a schedule. Since this is your “initial breakdown,” you will use this information to determine the ball park budget of your movie. Here are the filmmaking tools I recommend:

  1. Peter Marshall’s Script Breakdown and Film Scheduling Course. Peter has been in this game a long, long time. He will show you the fundamentals of script breakdown. These lessons will help you see your movie from a totally different, producer perspective.
  2. There is industry software to help you break down, schedule and budget your movie. One is called Movie Magic Scheduling and Movie Magic Budgeting. If money is tight, you can also grab a copy of Gorilla. These software tools are great because you can put them on your laptop and use them in remote places, even if you don’t have an internet connection!

Get Movie Money

Once your screenplay is broken down, scheduled and budgeted – the next step in the process is getting the money. To do this, you will need to create a movie business plan. After you have your business plan, you’ll want to contact a lawyer to draw up some paperwork and help you establish a corporate entity. And after that, you’ll go out and get your movie money. Here are some great filmmaking tools:

  1. Your Film Business Plan. For this, I recommend a website called Film Proposals. They have created a great business plan kit, which will provide you with a step-by-step approach to all the business stuff you would rather not bother with. Get Your Movie Business Plan Here.
  2. When it comes to entertainment attorneys, one of most accomplished is Gordon Firemark. He runs a website and has very informative podcasts, full of valuable legal tips – And if you need some work beyond that, including legal releases for your movie, Gordon can help. You can check out his site by clicking here. Get on his mailing list. . .
  3. Getting a business plan and putting your legal ducks in a row is only part of the process, the next aspect is getting money for your movie. I recommend “How To Make Rich Friends and Finance Your Movie” by Jason Brubaker. OK. Once again, this another one of my Action Packs. As usual, this is no-fluff. Different from all the other BS out there, you will discover how to seek out and make friends with rich people, even if you don’t know rich people. (Yet) – Access The Independent’s Guide To Financing Your Movie by clicking here.
  4. I can’t forget my friends at Indie GoGo. This site will allow you to set up a profile, promote your movie project, set a financial goal and find folks to sponsor various aspects of your movie. And if you actually raise 100% of your goal, the company will throw in a bonus percentage. To GoGo, Click Here.

Going Into Production

Once you raise the money, get your cast, crew and equipment, locations and craft service, the next step is going into production. In this stage, you’ll find out if all of your planning holds up. This is going to be both adventurous and grueling. But an awesome time you’re sure NEVER to forget.  Here are several filmmaking resources that I recommend:

  1. Rick Schmidt’s Extreme DV. He has a great workshop in the Bay Area where you actually complete a feature film. He is also the writer of one of the most empowering filmmaking books I’ve ever read. To check out the book, click here. To learn more about Rick Schmidt’s filmmaking workshop, follow this link.
  2. Rebel Without A Crew. This is another personal favorite. Perhaps it’s a little dated, but if you can ignore the ancient filmmaking technology mentioned in the book, you will finish your read with a new found appreciation for how difficult the filmmaking process used to be. No more excuses! Get the book here and Make Your Movie Now!
  3. If you’re looking for a longer workshop, I recommend the New York Film Academy as well as the Maine Media Workshops.

Post Production

After you produce your movie, you’ll want to edit it. This is the phase they call post production. And it really is the final rewrite of your movie. In the past, your post production expenses were crazy expensive. But like most things in filmmaking, technology makes your post experience awesomely affordable. Here are some tools:

  1. A decade ago, all the talk and buzz in the world revolved around Avid. Now you’re like Avid who? Seriously. If you have a Mac, get yourself a copy of Final Cut Pro. It’s all but industry standard. It’s powerful and affordable. Enough said.
  2. If you don’t have a Mac, find a friend who does. Re-read the previous step. And if you don’t know how to edit, find a friend who does.

Market and Sell Your Movie

I’m not going to tell you how to find a sales agent or how to make a 3 picture deal. Partially because that stuff is rare. And partly because those deals are old school anyway. I mean, who wants to hire a 3rd party when you can build a following and cash your own checks. I love this arena. I call it Digital Self Distribution. Here is how you market and sell your movie:The Indie Producers Guide To Digital Self Distribution

  1. Create a trailer that actually aims to sell the movie without giving the entire story away. They call this a teaser trailer. Make sure it includes a back link to your website. Once you have the trailer, put the sucka on YouTube and all the other video streaming sites you can think of.
  2. Get a domain name and website hosting. To do this, set up an account with a filmmaker friendly company. I prefer BlueHost. And yes, they pay me to say that. When you set up the site, I prefer to use the name movie in the URL.
  3. Once you have your website hosting, hire a web designer to create a website for you. (Actually, you should have built a website prior to production. But I know your mind was probably focused on actually making the movie. So it’s OK.) If you burnt all your money actually making the movie, then check out this website called http://www.fiverr.com – On this site, you’ll probably find a dozen people who will create an awesome website for a whopping $5 dollars. Seriously. I’ve used it and actually got some great work!
  4. Once you have your trailer and your website, you need to make sure you set up a Facebook page as well as other ways to grab visitor information. This is because most visitors will not buy your movie in their first visit. Having a YouTube page, a Facebook page and a newsletter will allow you to build a relationship with your visitors. If they don’t buy today, maybe they will buy tomorrow.
  5. Get your movie selling online. There are so many outlets for this. But one of the best that I’ve found is the very independent filmmaker friendly site called Distribber. You can learn more about distribber by clicking here. Please tell em’ I sent you.
  6. 5.5. And I almost forgot. Jason Brubaker (that’s me) has another product. It’s called The Independent Producer’s Guide to Digital Self Distribution. You can find out more information by clicking here.

Well that pretty much sums up the movie making process. Hopefully these filmmaking resources will be beneficial to your filmmaking process.