Know your audience: demographics on bloggers

April 18, 2008 has released a survey on the demography of bloggers. Since reaching out to bloggers should be an integral part of the publicity and marketing campaign for a film, knowing a bit about who blogs can help.

Highlights of new media use by bloggers:

Regular/Occasional New Media Usage (Top 5) 
  % of Regular/Occasional Bloggers % of Adults 18+
Cell Phone



Instant Messaging



Download/Access Video/TV Content



Video Gaming



Text Messaging 



Source: BIGresearch, January 2008, N=15,727

I found it interesting that the survey indicates the most common trigger for a blogger’s internet searches is  reading an article (48.8%). I wonder whether those articles read were located in a print publication, or online? [Via]


How NOT to publicize your film on YouTube

April 15, 2008

Running a successful viral video campaign for a film can be tricky and complicated.  It requires a lot of upfront planning and the implementation of the campaign requires careful management.  Screw up, and lots of things could go wrong: no one will watch it, or maybe, if you’re really unlucky, tons of people will watch it but not understand it, resulting in your film being yanked from the festival in which it was supposed to debut, people you don’t know will send you threatening e-mails, and you’ll have the local police and the FBI on your tail.

The latter is exactly what happened to Outsiders Productions, an Oklahoma-based indie film studio, when they tried to use the “Cloverfield” approach by loading a mysterious and ominous-looking video clip onto YouTube for their latest film A Beautiful Day. The teaser freaked people out in Oklahoma, who thought it might be some kind of cryptic terrorist threat. Things quickly spiraled out of control from there.

The main problem with the video? It made no mention of the movie! The filmmakers have now been spending time explaining themselves and apologizing.  They’re also trying to find some way of turning this fiasco into something positive with their “It’s Just a Trailer” campaign.  It’ll be interesting to see how that works out.

This is a cautionary tale that teaches an important lesson in viral video publicity campaigns. Yes, the results were that the film got some publicity, but I’d bet not quite the kind of publicity the filmmakers were hoping for.

Budgeting for marketing and publicity

March 25, 2008

“How much is it going to cost?” I hear that question often from filmmakers.  The simple answer is “probably more than you thought you’d need to spend.”

That costs vary widely is an understatement.   At one end of the spectrum are the millions per film spent by the major studios, while at the other end, some DIY filmmakers are doing it for themselves, while others turn their friends and fans into flacks.

fa0109.jpgThe March/April issue of FilmArts Magazine contains an informative article, penned by colleague Lyla Foggia, that explains why it’s important to build marketing and publicity into a film’s production budget, and includes some rough estimates for various costs (as well as a quote from me).

I’ve written before about how important it is to think about publicity and marketing at the very beginning of the filmmaking process. And not only to think about it, and plan for it, but to incorporate it into every phase. You’ll find this article useful, I think, as you plan your production budget for your next film.

The FilmArts Foundation is an invaluable source of information, education, low-cost filmarts.gifequipment access, fiscal sponsorship, exhibition opportunities and numerous other methods of support for the independent filmmaker community. Check them out if you’re not familiar with them. They are a non-profit organization, and can really use some support with their fundraising campaign.  

Article shared with permission from FilmArts Magazine, thanks to Laurie Koh, Managing Editor.

Great tips on building online street teams to generate viral buzz

March 18, 2008

Substitute “movie-goer” for “customer” and “film” for “brand” whenever used in this excellent How-to and you’ve got a fantastic guide on finding and building an audience for your film, and getting that audience involved as partners to promote your film.

Obama Girl: Can the buzz from one viral video shape a national election?

March 5, 2008

I’ve written often about generating buzz for film through viral awareness, incorporating viral video into publicity campaigns, deploying embed-and-spread to find, build, and engage an audience.  When it’s done well, it’s very successful. We’ve all seen plenty of examples.

barelypolitical.jpgWho would have guessed viral awareness tools would sweep into our country’s political process as well?  Certainly, not much in the 2004 elections would have indicated viral video’s power in the political arena. What? Buzz around a satirical YouTube music video of a sexy undulating young woman could possibly figure into something as sober as the decision-making process of American voters in deciding the next President of the United States??

 Who knew?

And yet, it seems that’s exactly what has happened in 2007-2008.  While following Barack Obama’s campaign progress, one thing that struck me is the number of younger supporters he’s gathered.  I thought about what would make him seem attractive to that particular demographic.  I’m sure there are lots of things.  Obama has one thing, however, that the other candidates don’t.  There’s a pop culture phenomenon associated with him that remains unique to this one particular candidate. 

Obama Girl.

Am I crazy for even entertaining the notion that one viral video could have such an impact on voter preferences?  Read the rest of this entry »

Facebook gives filmmakers a new marketing tool

February 28, 2008

filmonfacebook.jpgChris Thilk gives a heads up about a new Facebook marketing tool, Film On Facebook. It’s free, provides apps for showcasing trailers and clips, audience reviews, ticket purchases, music player, and more. There are case studies describing how early adopters have been using the Film on Facebook application, and instructions on how to get started on creating a Film On Facebook page.

I think this is a great tool to incorporate into every film’s  publicity campaign.

‘From Here To Awesome’ update: how festivals fail; and an awesome solution

February 21, 2008

From Here To Awesome