I realise that this romantic notion of a suffering and starving filmmaker is still firmly imprinted on a lot my fellow filmmakers’ minds. But unfortunately, in our global, on steroids, changing market place, this idea only can harm filmmakers, not bring anything positive to their long-term careers.
In reality, it doesn’t matter how great your project is, how much time you spend making your film or show, and how much it cost you (my guess is that with an indie production your funding will be pretty limited). If you have no way of showing and screening your film to the audience, you are screwed. You need an audience, and it doesn’t matter if you made your film for the cinema release, film festivals, or online platforms. You want and need eyeballs to watch your work.
However, marketing, promotion and getting your film in front of the audience is not an easy task and throughout the world young filmmakers are being taught that this job should be done by the marketing and promotional departments. Of course, if you have a studio behind you and your project, those guys are going to do a fantastic job for your film. But if you don’t, you will need to add another skill to your skills set basket, and that is going to be promoting your work and your filmmaking skills.
I would love to just focus on making my films, making them as beautiful and exciting as I can, but so many talented filmmakers do the same; they make beautiful and interesting films, but then no one hears about them or watches them. Once in a while, someone discovers someone accidentally and this fairy tale becomes the blueprint for other filmmakers to follow and aim for. However, finding the right audience and reaching out to them should be considered as part of the everyday job and a critical part of it.
Many established filmmakers advise their fellow filmmakers to focus on the story primarily. Of course, the story is important without a shadow of a doubt, but a lot of amazing stories go unseen and unnoticed because, at the end of the day and the process, the filmmaker has no audience. It’s because they have no following to start with and don’t believe they should be reaching out and engage with their audience to create a positive impact on their careers and the society in all those many ways that only films can do.
My advice for any independent filmmaker in 2019 would be to put a lot of efforts into developing a following/audience for their film/project as early as the development stage. If you don’t do it, you won’t be as successful as you should and could be. I know it may feel scary at first, but if you take small steps every day and every week towards your big goal, you will get there. Take time to come up with creative and innovative ways of attracting an audience to your project; this actually can be as creative as coming up with the story itself.
Don’t think about promoting your story and your film as something to be ashamed of or as something that others should do for you. Especially at the start of your filmmaking career, nobody is going to care for your films and projects as much as you will. So, take charge of your creative life and your career, and there is nothing better than sailing into the unknown because anything and everything can happen.
If you are interested more about marketing and promoting your film/s check out: