I participate in the social networking community on www.indiewire.com (which is a fantastic site. Every filmmaker should check it out, and bookmark it). I wrote a journal entry on when is the best time for filmmakers to begin to think about and strategize on publicity, marketing, and promotion campaigns for their film. I received some positive feedback on it and so I thought I’d share it here:
Filmmakers who have stories they are compelled to tell know from the outset, presumably, who their intended audience is. Or do they?
While it sounds like a huge cramping of the creative process, the time to start thinking about marketing, publicity strategies, and how to promote a film, is at the beginning. Before the first shoot, before the film is cast, heck , even before the script is completed. One of the first questions a filmmaker asks themselves: “Is this a compelling story?” The second question should probably be: “Who would be interested in this story?” Bingo. That’s the first step in planning for marketing/promotions/publicity. One must know the intended audience before one can begin to strategize on how to get that intended audience to see the film. And the intended audience shifts dramatically throughout the developmental life of the film. The first intended audience may be potential investors the filmmaker wants to hear a pitch. another early intended audience is potential cast and crew members. As the film enters production, the intended audience shifts again: members of the press, perhaps additional investors, potential distributors, festival evaluators and judges, and the ultimate intended audience: people who pay (via theater tickets, DVD purchases, festival passes, cable TV subscriptions, web download purchases, etc.) to see films. Getting a film in front of each of these intended audiences requires target-specific planning for effective promotion, marketing, and publicizing of the film. Because what it takes to make the film appealing to potential investors is different that what it takes to make the film attractive to festivals, isn’t it? And the efforts needed to generate buzz among movie goers are quite different than the efforts needed to ready a film for presentation to potential distributors.
Identify your intended audience. That’s the first key used to begin opening that elusive magic door of having your film seen. Tip: Know your audience.
Talk: Filmmakers, how do you think about your audience when you’re making your film? Or do you?