As filmmakers, we work hard and put a lot of energy into developing, shooting and completing our projects. The whole process of putting a film together is so intense that it often leaves us with very little energy and shrinking financial resources to properly market and promote our film.
Every time I finish a film, I hope that merely by the touch of a magic wand it will become huge, massive, gigantic, and successful. Unfortunately, it is just wishful thinking and has nothing to do with reality and often keeps us stuck in the same spot, year after year.
I have decided to put together a short list that could help you get started on the journey of putting yourself and your projects proudly out and feeling no shame for what you have created.
- Start building the brand awareness for your film while you are still developing the project. There is no shame in showing your audience how the inspiration for this project came your way or how you are progressing with your project. Many projects have built them following this way, by allowing the audience to be a part of the creative process. Look at all the behind-the-scenes of the superhero films. Of course, it is a highly controlled part of the creative process but still a part of it. Your behind-the-scenes don’t have to be that controlled, but you can still give your audience a glimpse into your creative process. Invite your audience into your creative space, even if you are unsure of certain aspects of your project. A lot of writers are already collaborating with their audience by asking questions of their readers or posting different endings to the chapter, the story, or the book they have been working on.
- If you want to build a sustainable career in the creative industry, you need to find an online following. To find an online following and an audience for your work, you need consistency, and you need to create content that will engage and interest your audience. I don’t mean posting pictures of your breakfast and your lunch or over personalizing your social accounts. If you use social accounts to attract an audience and create visibility for your projects, you should be posting relevant content to what you are doing, creating, and the subject of your film. If you’re not creating relevant content for your audience, you will not have as many takers as you would like.
- You need your own website!!! I know that most of you already have one and don’t need reminding (Are you keeping your website current and updated with your projects?), but I see a lot of folks in our business, still in 2019, who don’t even own a domain. This is not right. The Internet can be used to our advantage so help your luck by putting yourself out there.
- Update your social media profiles on a regular basis. Don’t have zombie social media accounts because those are not going to give you any leverage in the future, while you are negotiating with producers or financiers. Make sure you choose the right social media sites and do not spread yourself too thinly; maintaining too many accounts is time-consuming and won’t give you the effects you are hoping for.
- Before you start targeting the audience with your film, you need to know what audience you are after. No film, book, or service is for everyone. To find your audience requires time and space. Look for similar films to your story and see what audience their marketers targeted for that film and what tools they have used to achieve their goals. That kind of research and preparation will save you time and money in the long run.
- Do you know how we create lookbooks to communicate our ideas and vision with our DOP or Production Designer? I’m suggesting creating a look book for your marketing and promotional campaign. You start putting the book together during your development process. Your campaign book will include everything you like about other campaigns, the use of colour, font, creativity, ideas etc. Even if you decide not to borrow from those other campaigns, this kind of homework can still inspire you in your campaign.
- When someone from the industry offers you help, take it. Even if you feel you are not ready and you are scared shitless, take it. If someone offers you to write about your project or asks you to take part in an interview, do it; even though you feel your project is not ready or you are not ready. Offers like that don’t come by every day.
What you have to remember, especially at the start of your project, when you are still in development, or when you have just launched the website for the great idea you have, you don’t need to have all the answers right away; and even if you only and honestly say “I don’t know”, people will respect you more for that and often will cheer you on during your creative process. Don’t be scared and let the world know what you are up to, there is no point working so hard and not letting anyone know what you have created.
Stop hiding in the bushes and amongst tall trees. Be as active with your project as newly single people ready to mingle are. Trust your instinct and take the action; you will never meet anyone if you stay at home in front of your typewriter praying for a miracle to happen.
Miracles do happen, but you need to help them to materialize by actively seeking opportunities.