At the heart of every great film should be a sound marketing strategy. A clear strategy will focus your efforts whether you are seeking traditional, hybrid or self distribution of your film. This should be established from the script stage, before seeking investment and before production starts. In today’s distribution landscape, only films with a clearly defined marketing strategy will be successful.
I will partner with you to:
-develop the overall objective for the film
-identify (in minute detail) your target audience and create a strategy and tactical marketing plan to reach them,
-identify the unique points of your story to be used to pitch writers for publicity coverage,
-researching key “influencers” who can help you reach audiences to whom they have access,
-research and outreach to key organizations that may be interested in a partnership.
Consulting and Training
I am very discerning about the projects taken on as full time clients. This is because of the very personal nature I bring to social network marketing. Building a community of engaged. active and loyal audience members is slow and meticulous work that cannot be accomplished effectively in a short period of time or in an uninvolved way. For projects I do not feel are a personal fit, I do provide customized consultation and training sessions which are more affordable for filmmakers and allow me to share my experience and knowledge with a production’s team without a personal full time commitment. For information on personal consultation and training for your team, please contact me directly info [at] shericandler.com. There is a 3 month minimum retainer on consultation and training sessions.
Film Festival Publicity*
I strongly recommend that you use the services of a specialist film festival consultant who has contacts within the festival circuit to help plan out your most effective run and evaluate your film before submission. While I can do research on the likely best fit for your film and vet those festivals, a good festival consultant can offer many more advantages.
Once your film has been accepted, I will:
-identify and contact appropriate online publications, blogs and local media assigned to cover the festival to increase your publicity efforts,
-assemble all promotional materials to be used at each festival (posters, one sheets, publicity stills, clips, trailers, online press kits etc.)
-field requests for media coverage
-communicate with the festival press office to supply them with whatever promotional material they need or help them pitch your film to media
-engage in various forms of social media that are targeted to your film’s audience to help increase screening attendance,
-maximize any competition wins by alerting various media and adding these accolades to marketing materials of the film.
*2 notes on this. 1) If your film is accepted into secondary/regional festivals, it may not be appropriate or cost effective to hire a publicist for your film. Much of this work can be done on your own with a little guidance which I can provide. 2) When thinking about publicity, it is necessary to know what you want the publicity to do. Building up attention and not providing a mechanism for audience to be able to watch/buy the film anytime soon is not the best strategy. Have a distribution plan in place that can be activated very soon after awareness for your film has been built. Languishing on the festival circuit hoping for a sale is not really the best route to monetization.
Often confused with strategy, a tactical plan identifies the methods used to reach your audience. Without a clear strategy, time and money will be wasted on tactical efforts that do not maximize your efforts. Tactics I use, depending on the audience target and the budget available, include:
-Launch of a well designed and functional website that captures visitor email addresses, updates with content regularly, and engages your audience with interactivity and community building aspects. Also will include social sharing tools and ideally an ecommerce aspect for selling directly to the audience we have built. This is accomplished in conjunction with a qualified website designer.
-Establish key art to be used in all marketing materials for a cohesive brand message. This is accomplished in conjunction with a qualified graphic designer.
-Organize professional production stills and EPK material for use online by various media. This will include interviews with cast and director, behind the scenes footage and outtakes if applicable. These materials will also be gathered as content to populate the site to keep audiences engaged throughout the production process. This will be accomplished with a qualified video trailer/EPK editor and photographer. Also includes writing text based press kits for use by journalists.
-Research, set up and maintenance of social media pages to engage fans with regular updates about the filmmaking process as well as gather information catered to the interests of your audience. The page locations will be determined by where the audience already congregates.
-Set up and maintanence of a director’s blog during the production and post production process. Director or a member of the production team will be asked to keep the blog notes updated.
-Outreach to media, organizations, “influencers” and bloggers within the niche of your film for community building around the film that will later support screening attendance and DVD/download sales. Outreach may include content creation such as articles for inclusion in newsletters, publications, and/or guest blog posts on relevant sites.
A word on distribution
I am firmly committed to artists retaining rights to their work as much as possible. With the ability to reach audiences and distribute work widely for very little cost using the internet, I believe in working with distribution companies as partners, not as exclusive rights holders. I prefer to work with artists who have prepared their budgets to take marketing and distribution costs into account and who will use the services of outside companies without relinquishing excessive rights control. To date, I have worked in tandem with non profit distribution consultants at The Film Collaborative and with Jon Reiss’ Hybrid Cinema to help navigate and negotiate equitable distribution offers and highly recommend them for determining the proper path for distributing your work.
The biggest mistake I see independent filmmakers make is a failure to identify and build the audience for their films. Let me help you avoid this mistake and make your film the success it can be. Contact me: info [at] shericandler [dot] com