Notes from DIY Days LA-Part I

November 21, 2009
posted by sheric

DIY DaysThis week I attended an edition of the roving conference put on by WBP, filmmaker Lance Weiler’s outfit. It followed on nicely from seminars and conversations that were going on AFM the week before. I covered AFM for Microfilmmaker Magazine and the article will be out on December 1, but I wanted to share my notes from this event first.

The first speaker of the night was Weiler and his topic was Social Media for Storytellers. “There is more opportunity now than there ever has been to reach the audience,” Weiler proclaimed. He cited examples of his own work with his film HEAD TRAUMA where he used multiple media to engage the audience with comic books,  ARG, mobile phone components and live interaction during screenings. He also cited the work that the Mad Men TV show did to target different audience segments during their seasons to broaden the reach of the show. Their campaigns grew from building a buzz in the ad agency niche, then moved out to the entertainment media, early adopters WOM and then wide audience promotions.

He cautioned before you get a conversation going you need to decide what kind of voice you want to use. Should you engage from the characters’ perspective, a location- centric perspective, the voice of your staff or your own voice? There is no right or wrong to this, it just has to be determined and stay consistent.

He also advised to be realistic about time and resources. Choose outlets and accounts to use that will reach your audience best and these will change over time as new platforms come into fashion. Interaction will take up a measurable part of the day and there needs to be a routine. He utilizes interns or a full time community manager to handle this work. This has to be a conversation, no one likes to be talked to without any way to talk back or feel that no one is listening. Give them the tools to talk to you and to each other.

Weiler insists that building trust with your audience is key. You can’t just jump into conversation with them, you must slowly cultivate a relationship and it will take time to gather your audience. You must reward your audience by giving them access to content or access to you not widely available. You must respect them by not overusing your email list or making your content only self serving. This is important because you can’t control them and what they say. They can make or break you.

He closed by listing a few of the platforms he recommends for filmmaker audience building. WordPress, Flikr, Twitter, Feedburner and Delicious. He cautioned that you should mirror your audience list details from your online platforms because you do not own that information, the platform does. If you should ever lose privileges on a platform or want to change platforms, you want to have that information in your personal files for future access.

In part II, I will talk about Jon Reiss’ talk on theatrical releases and why the term needs to encompass more than cinemas. He has a new book out now called Think Outside the Box Office, the ultimate guide to film distribution and marketing in the digital era. I have read it and highly recommend it. He talks about his new philosophy in it in detail but highlighted it in this talk.

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