check listI have been asked many times if I am planning to write a book about my knowledge of social networking and independent film marketing in today’s distribution landscape. I think that book has been written already and that’s why I work to support it. Since I hammer home the idea of starting this marketing process as early in production as possible, I thought I would make a little checklist of things you should remember when organizing your marketing plan. The list is primarily targeted toward new PMD’s or filmmakers handling their own marketing. The checklist is to be followed AFTER you have identified your target audience. The timeframes are rough estimates for completion.

Pre-Production (two-four week timeframe)
-Breakdown script for publicity shot opportunities on set-source a photographer and set schedule for those days
-Draft a synopsis – paragraph, 3 lines and one line versions for festival submissions, website/social media sites, media inclusions
-Brainstorm creative ideas for film branding, partner with graphic designer and manage production of all branded media/materials
-Set up IMDB and production listings management
-Publicity – draft early press release to the trades announcing principal photography
-Start research and outreach (if haven’t already) to “influencers,” bloggers, and grassroots organizations
-If interested in product placement/branded entertainment opportunities, pitch these to companies, also ask for cross promotion
-Start the process of website development for the film’s official site-source a web designer and flesh out all elements to be included
-Choose email database program to maintain a fan contact list
-Think about any additional media (some call it transmedia) that could be created for additional interest/revenue streams

Production (six week timeframe)
-Write content for website and digital press kit
(bios/about/synopsis/production notes/trailer/blog)
-Key art and one-sheet creation
-Design website and manage website design firm
-Publicity – coordinate with local press for coverage on the set
-Create digital press kit -trailer plus content for the website including hi-res downloadable/reproducible key art and publicity stills used for traditional press, bloggers, organizations, social networking sites, festivals and future distributors
-EPK/stills photography shoot with actors/producers on set for use as content on website, social networks, on the DVD, media coverage
-Start researching appropriate festivals
-Complete and launch website
-Set up social networking sites-these will need continuous maintenance and responses to feedback from fans
-Set up and start utilizing Director’s/Production blog of what is happening on set, respond quickly to questions and feedback
-Keep influencers, organizations and bloggers updated with regard to the film
-Set up Google Alerts, or other clipping services like Metro Monitor or Burrelles Luce, and respond in comments to anyone who mentions your film
-Set up Twitter alerts, columns in TweetDeck etc. to monitor conversations about your film and respond to them

Post Production (five to seven week timeframe)
-Choose final publicity stills from the library of photos taken, mix of scene shots and a few behind the scenes
-Edit EPK. Multiple clips needed for various online media and website/social networking sites as well as DVD content
-Edit the most gripping trailer anyone has ever seen. Put it everywhere
-Finalize one-sheet layout. Print the sheets, business cards, postcards
-Update IMDB/productions listings with photos, content
-Submit applications to festivals
-Complete website and launch
-Set up digital press kit on a site such as will continually add clippings as they come in
-Coordinate test screenings if applicable
-Identify possible affiliates for DVD sales if doing this through your own site
-Continue to monitor online conversations about your film and media write ups. Respond appropriately
-Prepare press release copy for festival acceptances, this can be altered as needed
-Set up database, or access previous one, of all publications and editors to contact for press opportunities

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