LinkedIn For Filmmakers

Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...

LinkedIn For Filmmakers Image via CrunchBase

Over the past year, I really started using LinkedIn more and more to promote both myself and my projects.

While LinkedIn has some of the same features as other social networking sites – like your ability to search for friends and contacts, the LinkedIn culture is geared towards business networking, which makes it vastly different than twitter or Facebook.

As a result, the social rules are different. While it would make sense to post something funny, silly or stupid on Facebook, posting a similar message on LinkedIn may not be appropriate. Conversely, it would be strange to utilize Facebook in an attempt to get a lunch meetings with prospective Hollywood Heavyweights whom you never met.

But in the world of LinkedIn, as long as you’re not a jerk, it is appropriate to seek out and connect with prospects.

To get started with LinkedIn, reach out to people who know you and know your work. Once you establish this foundation, write out a list of at least 10 to 15 film industry professionals who may be able to help you with your movie business. Then use LinkedIn search to find your prospects.

Depending on the strength of your network, you may find that one of your contacts already has a relationship with your prospect. Your next step would be to reach out to your friend and ask if he or she would make an introduction. Assuming the introduction is made on your behalf, your prospect will be more receptive to hearing from you directly.

Step-by-step, you can utilize LinkedIn to help you build your filmmaking team.

For more awesome filmmaking information, check out: Make Your Movie NOW! ™

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 Create a Press Kit For Your Indie Movie

Press Kit
Assuming you’re like most filmmakers with a movie, you have been building a bunch of relationships on your social networking sites. The next step in the process of filmmaking promotion is designing your press kit.

If you don’t hire a publicist, you’ll need to create your own press kit. It’s actually not that difficult. A press kit is basically a bunch of stuff shoved into a neat-o folder that tells people what the heck your movie is about.

OK. Maybe I’m over simplifying the process… But it’s not too difficult.

Here are some things you’ll want to include:

  1. Cover sheet: The cover sheet is basically the top sheet that grabs everyone’s attention and promotes the hook of the movie. In some ways, it’s sort of like a mini-poster that includes the title, contact info, some good quotes from previous reviews, the same cast and crew credits from the poster and mention of any film festival awards you have won.
  2. Synopsis: You should already have a pretty solid synopsis. If you do, just cut and paste it into the press kit. If not, you’ll need one. So write it.  Some people add action photos from the movie to this page. This is fine, as long as the photos look good.
  3. Photos: Get some journalist friends to check out your production photos. Pick a few that seem incredibly interesting and do a good job of making people want to see the movie. Include them in the kit.
  4. Cast and Crew: This is pretty simple. Just put together some bios of the main cast and crew and include them on the page next to a miniature headshot.
  5. Anecdotes: This is the story of how the film got made. For this, you can write about memorable moments, such as when the camera broke 25 times after traffic delayed the first day of shooting for 13 hours and the lead actor caught fire.
  6. Reviews: If you have any good reviews, include them here.
  7. Credits: This is a page devoted to the full cast and crew credits.

Putting a press kit together is not overly complex. But if you would rather spend your time on higher level tasks, I suggest you go into your net work and post the following:

“Low-budget filmmaker seeks publicist to help make a press kit and get the word out about our movie. Will pay $500 upon completion of press kit or 1 percent of the gross profits. Your choice.”

Something like this should help you find someone.