Expect The Best Outcome For Your Movie

If you do not expect the best outcome for your movie, you should quit filmmaking. But even with all the optimism in the world, crappy stuff happens. I suggest you create a Plan A, Plan B and Plan C.

As an indie filmmaker, a lot of factors can negatively impact your shooting schedule. Rainstorms, unavailable cast and crew, traffic and the occasional meltdown of your crazy girlfriend (it happens.) These events present obstacles in making your day. When this happens, you will usually go crazy for a few minutes.

Expect The Best Outcome For Your Movie

Surrounding yourself with a great team will help you avoid much of the heartache associated with indie filmmaking. Still, it is best to always plan for inevitable setback. To do this, visualize each day well in advance. Then ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that can happen?”

Once you figure out the most nightmarish filmmaking scenarios, make sure those things do not happen.

When scheduling your movie, it is best to always have a Plan A, a Plan B and a Plan C. The name of the game is to always push your production forward. If one plan goes haywire, what will you do to make progress? The most important question to answer is this: If something goes haywire, what scenes can you complete as an alternate to your current plan?

If you like this stuff, you’ll love the professional filmmaking tools found here.

Film Fundraising: 5 Crowdfunding Mistakes to Avoid

In this guest filmmaking article, filmmaker Brad Kageno shares what he learned with his crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter and provides you with 5 Crowdfunding mistakes to avoid…

Film Fundraising: 5 Crowdfunding Mistakes to Avoid

As I type this, I am halfway through my Kickstarter campaign for my feature I Hate You.  We’re about one-third of the way toward our goal, and we now have $10,000 to raise in about 30 days.  It’s definitely possible, yet even though I can’t declare victory or defeat (who knows what’ll happen?), there’s already a list of things I’ve learned from our campaign:

1.  Do not put off today what you can do today.

Here’s a downer: 55% of Kickstarter campaigns fail.  Keep that in mind as you embark on yours.  Depending on your goal, and the amount of connections you have, expect to be working non-stop on your campaign.  Don’t get lazy, even if there’s a lull in pledges.  Every effort you make to promote your campaign, the better the odds of someone contributing to it.

For I Hate You, we’ve posted weekly videos and have reached out to all sorts of sites and organizations everyday.  And, as you can tell, we’ve also been writing a few blogs to spread the word.  As I tell my team, “It’s not over ’til it’s over,” so prepare to rest only until your campaign is done.  (And even then, you won’t be resting long.)

2.  Do not ignore the power of (free) social media tools you can use to promote.

Don’t wait until you start your campaign to begin creating an audience for yourself.  Start posting videos on YouTube, gain subscribers.  Start tweeting and gain followers.  And if by some chance you aren’t on Facebook yet, get on it and friend everybody who tolerates you.  If you have a blog, great!  If you don’t, either start one or start participating on others.  Get on message boards and post comments.  So what if you’re antisocial?  Here’s a way to gain potential pledgers without having to spend a dime or step out of your abode.

Remember, you cannot succeed at crowdfunding without a crowd!  Even if you find social media pointless, take advantage of it!  Personally, I wish I had been more active in social media before beginning my Kickstarter campaign.  Even though our YouTube videos have gained modest views, they’d be even better had we started posting videos months, even years in advance.

3.  Do not be afraid to bug everybody you know.  And I mean e-v-e-r-y-b-o-d-y.

As your Kickstarter campaign progresses, you may be surprised by the amount of people from your past that pledge.  So far, I’ve had my elementary school teachers and even preschool friends pledge!  It got me thinking that maybe I should contact as many of them as I could, and to my luck, many have supported I Hate You.  So, be prepared to reconnect with faces you never thought you’d see again.  Of course, there’s always family, friends, co-workers, and the usual bunch you must reach out to.  Do not hesitate to ask them for their help.  The worst they can do is say “no.”

Oh, don’t forget to thank them after they pledge.  Gratitude and crowdfunding go hand-in-hand.

4.  Do not put all your chickens into one basket.

Have a Plan B, C, D, E, and F when you run your Kickstarter campaign.  Don’t put all your time and effort into just YouTube or just Twitter or just e-mails to contacts.  Take the time to strategize in case one outlet doesn’t prove as effective as others.

Initially, we thought we’d get most fundraising support from certain organizations, but as it turns out, Facebook and YouTube have given our campaign more traffic and money, so we’ve refocused our efforts towards those two sources.  With so many still suffering from the recession, it seems the odds are overwhelmingly against funding a creative endeavor, but surprisingly, even unemployed pledgers have voiced their support!  That said, always prepare for changes, and be ready to switch gears as you track your project.

5.  Do not give up.

This sounds like a no-brainer, but expect lulls every now and then, and don’t get discouraged by them.  If you are seeking a huge amount, you may not be able to afford too many lulls, so set goals to raise a certain amount a week.  Re-strategize when necessary, but remain persistent throughout.Being a narrative film, our I Hate You campaign has been unpredictable to say the least.  And even though there are a few naysayers who are skeptical, I keep reminding myself of the 89 people who believe in my team and in myself to make a damn good movie.  I have no intention of letting them down.

If you are about to launch a Kickstarter project, I wish you the best of luck, and I hope my tips help!

BIO: Brad Kageno was born and raised in Hawaii, and studied filmmaking at Chapman University under the guidance of directors John Badham (Saturday Night Fever, WarGames) and William Friedkin (The Exorcist, The French Connection). In 2003, he directed Boyz’ Day, a musical-comedy short prominently featured at the San Diego Asian Film Festival and other showcases. He then directed a dramatic short, Cup of Joe, the following year. Out of college, Brad took film assistant gigs and random day jobs to pay the bills, but quickly realized that the only way he was going to make a movie in Hollywood was to do it himself. So that’s what he’s doing now with his upcoming project, I Hate You.

Showbiz Expo

If you are planning to attend the Showbiz Expo, make sure you check out my talk on “How To Sell Your Movie Without The Middle Man.” I go on at 11AM and will provide some valuable tips on how to get your movie seen and selling.

Some of the film distribution topics I cover are:

  1. How to drive traffic to your movie website.
  2. What all filmmakers must know about trailer promotion.
  3. How to optimize your movie website for conversions.
  4. Where to market movies both online and offline.
  5. Why a marketing plan is essential for all business plans.

If you can attend the Showbiz Expo, awesome. If you can’t, then you may want to check out The Indie Producer’s Guide To Digital Self-Distribution.

 

 

Advertise Your Movie on StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon

Image via Wikipedia

When you’re in the middle of the filmmaking process, you probably aren’t thinking about ways to advertise your movie online.

I want to provide you with a little secret: 

Advertise your movie on StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon is a social bookmarking tool that allows people to share interesting websites with their StumbleUpon  networks as well as Facebook, Twitter and email contacts. And if someone happens to “stumble upon” your movie website, you have the potential to garner significant traffic!

(Case study: Our zombie movie got over 100,000 visitors from the service.)

But did you know you can actually pay for someone to “stumble” your site?

It’s true. And it’s awesome. The StumbleUpon paid discovery service allows you to choose from three advertising service tiers. Each tier provides a different level of audience targeting. The first tier starts at a nickle per stumble.

But here is where it gets interesting. Unlike other paid advertising solutions, StumbleUpon allows for exponential, unpaid traffic. Let me explain:

Let’s say you want to target someone into horror movies. So you invest a nickle to get that person to “stumble” your website. But then that person shares your site with four of his friends. Guess what?

Because your paid stumble resulted in four additional free stumbles,  you really only invested one penny per visit (five cents for five visits). Taking this further, let’s say these five stumblers each share your site with one friend – Now you got ten visits for a nickle.  That is an investment of merely a half-cent per visit!

And if these people tell ten of their friends… I’m sayin’ if you are lucky, then you could possibly get exponential traffic onto your site!

Not bad for a nickle.

Before you get too excited, you should know something. I have tested this service with various movie titles and websites, but so far, only a small handful of my test sites resulted in significant traffic. The rest just were not interesting enough to warrant exponential stumbles.

But for five cents a visit, StumbleUpon Paid Discovery  may be worth a test.

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If you liked this tip, you’ll love my “Film Distribution Action Pack”

Streaming Movies is OK If…

The other week I went on a minor rant about filmmakers hellbent on streaming movies from their movie website. And after some very thoughtful feedback, the truth is (as much as I hate admitting this) I realized I may have made an error.

In my article, I mentioned that most customers will feel more comfortable watching movies on established platforms, such as Hulu, iTunes, Amazon and NetFlix. At the same time, I totally discounted filmmakers presently testing ways to stream from their sites. And as any great marketer knows, ALL marketing decisions (assuming they make financial sense) have to be tested.

What works with one movie, may not work with every movie.

With that said, a lot of filmmakers (who do not have website traffic) are being fed the idea that “content enablers” will magically source an audience. They will not. So if your website does not have a lot of visitors, before you worry about where to stream your movie, I suggest you work on increasing your traffic as well as building your audience list. Then later, when you reach mass, you can focus on directing folks into your sales funnel.

The other tip is this: DO NOT stream a movie from your own hosting company server. That is silly. Let someone else handle the bandwidth and content delivery issues. Here are two resources for selling your movie (both of which are affiliates and pay me to promote – so research each before you make any purchase):

Distribber. They help you get your movie onto iTunes and other popular marketplaces.

Again – while both of these companies provide great services for filmmakers, it is important that you remember the major, key aspect of the brave new world of modern moviemaking – Regardless of platform – YOU are responsible for sourcing your own audience. Don’t forget that!

To help you out, I have created a step-by-step guide called the independent producer’s guide to digital distribution. If you need help driving targeted traffic to your website and selling your movie through VOD marketplaces, the guide offers some tips.