ARE YOU A FILMMAKER PLANNING OR PROMOTING YOUR INDEPENDENT, LOW-BUDGET FILM? YOU SHOULD READ THIS.
So, you've finished or are about to complete the post-production process and are finally almost ready to release your film to the world. Ideally, you would already have a pretty solid plan to promote, but if not, no worries. These things take time, and this little write up may help if you've already started promoting - or are getting ready to. With that said, I'm not going to dive into all the sites, strategies, and promotion ideas that you can find everywhere else on the web - this little article is for the lesser thought about aspects of releasing your film to the masses. Small things that can and do affect how people look at indie movies - when scanning for their next big adventure. Things that maybe won't help you hit number one during a person's search, but could potentially turn them away from your film. Without further ado, here is our short-hand list of things you may want to try and avoid.
The name dropping dilemma.
Always an essential part of any film campaign, movie posters help determine whether a person feels they must watch - or are simply not interested in your project. Poster creation for film is an art form, of that there is no question. But creating an effective poster is different for an independent, micro-budget filmmaker than it is for the big studios. So, what is one of the biggest things many indie filmmakers do that they may want to cease? Name dropping.
While it is true that we're constantly bombarded with the names of the starring cast on posters and trailers, that may not be the way to go for a micro-budget production. Sure, we're used to seeing things like Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator, Jodie Foster in The Silence of the Lambs, and Jim Carrey as The Mask - yet there's one thing they all have that most low-budget filmmakers do not. Celebrity status. The names on these posters draw in viewership because they make use of recognized individuals. As an indie produced film, your movie probably doesn't star any celebrities. The name dropping of an unknown may come off as sounding not only ridiculous... but even a bit egotistical.
Think about it, you come across a poster for a film, and instantly, you see a name in substantial white lettering. JASON FURTREE in Once Upon a Time. Who the hell is Jason Furtree? Does this guy think he's a movie star? Does this dude think his name is going to sell a movie? You may believe I'm being over-the-top with this statement... but I'm not. Nothing screams diva more than some massive, front-page billing of a person only known by family and friends. The same can be said about name-dropping during trailers. Again, unless it's a person who has already reached some celebrity status, nobody cares that Jason Furtree is in the film - or that John Smith directed it. They only care about deciding if the trailer looks interesting enough to warrant a trip to the theater or their favorite on-demand site. I'm not saying not to credit on promotional materials, only to use some tact. Consider this factor when you address promotional billing. It really can, and does impact the perception of your film and all the people involved creating it.
Fans Vs viewers.
There are two different trains of thought on this next little tidbit, but interesting no matter what side of the fence you are on. Should you call your supporters fans or viewers? At one time, both were readily accepted but ever so slowly, the former is becoming insulting to those slapped with the term. Some still think the word "fan" is perfectly fine, a sign of respect to a favorite celebrity. However, the number of people who consider the term unacceptable is growing. Many now think the term to mean obsessive, crazy, and sometimes even stupid. Saying something like, "I just want to thank all my fans who have stuck with me through thick and thin." sounds innocent enough, but in today's world, a lot of people are starting to take it to mean something else. Something more along the lines of, "I want to thank my crazy fans who have no life. Thank you, folks, for sticking with me through thick-and-thin because you have nothing better to do. Thank you all for allowing me to eat chicken instead of feathers because of your obsessiveness."
Do you think I'm crazy for thinking this way? For even daring to write such things? I'm not. The term "fan" is quickly becoming an insult; using the word "viewer" is a much safer bet nowadays. Still not convinced? Remember when Facebook had fan pages? Ever wonder why they put a stop to it? Now you know.
I hope these couple tips come in handy along the way and as always, keep in mind that every project and strategy is different. Do you have any thoughts or ideas? Drop a comment, and don't forget to read some of our other casual articles. We also provide reviews, both free and expedited - if ever the need should arise. Cheers, and shine on.
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