Congratulations! You have completed your film. Pat yourself on the back, but don’t get too comfortable because your ultimate goal is still ahead. Is your film a short or maybe it’s a feature film? Whether short or long form, the main goal now is to secure distribution for your film and build your audience. You may ask yourself, how? A very valid question and the simplest answer is, it will take time, patience, and research.

Getting Someone Else to Market Your Film

Now, you might be thinking to yourself, I don’t want to handle the business or marketing part of it. Perhaps you’ve decided to let someone else take over those responsibilities. Two things to consider:

  • You Need Someone Qualified - I hope you have a highly-qualified person who really knows marketing well. Secondly, to put this bluntly, GOOD LUCK. An old saying I always heard growing up, and I’m sure you’ve heard too, seems to apply here. You can never rely on people to do it for you. You must do it yourself. Many people may interpret this differently or disagree, but I certainly believe that, at least in this case, this tends to be true.

STOP, wait a minute. I know what you’re thinking. The film business is about collaboration and I should rely on other people. That statement is also very true, but I’m talking about when the film is finished.

Whenever, I’m in a social setting with artist; actor, directors, producers, etc, they like to talk a lot about their film they just finished and if you ask them, “Where can I see it?” Most of them will usually say “We are going to market it to film festivals around the country.” However, who’s going to be doing that?

Marketing Your Own Film

Let’s talk a little bit about what you can do. If you’re an independent filmmaker outside of the studio system than this will take some time and money. Most studios have marketing departments that handle their films. However, you might be a local filmmaker for your current city that’s not Hollywood and you don’t have a lot of resources. Where do you go? Do you do, print ads, billboards, newspaper, magazines, etc. The point is everything I suggested will take a lot of money. However, try to think in strategic terms and there are ways for different advertisements to do for cheap.

Know Your Movie Inside and Out

Before you do anything to market your film, you really need to know exactly what type of film product you have. A film of any genre can find an audience: drama, thriller/horror, comedy, romance, historical, etc. There are companies and distributors that are looking for all types of films.. My point is you have to really know the film you just made. You want some advice? Once, you have the final cut done (not the rough cut), but final cut, sit in a room by yourself and watch it. Nobody can be with you, just watch it by yourself. You probably need to do this several times and just get a feel for it. Ask yourself, what kind of movie do I have here? How can I market it and get it out there?

Building a Social Media Strategy

We are in the age of social media. Every major corporation and every small business uses it to drive revenue. It can be facebook, twitter, instagram, etc. It is in our face every time, the general public turns on a computer. You can also use this tool to help get your film out there. You might be reading this and say to yourself “Well, that’s common sense.” I’m talking about how to save money and truly using this to your advantage.

Starting Small with Social Media

Digital marketing is an effective tool. You made a facebook page for cheap on your film. There’s also twitter and other social media sites, but let’s stick to facebook right now. The poster is up in all its gloriousness and you have behind the scenes stills. Very good, but you also need to add the cast and crew to draw people’s attention. So, invite all your friends and their friends and try to get the word of mouth going for it. You’re taking baby steps, which is good. However, putting a facebook page for your movie does not guarantee you any submissions for the film festival circuit. You’re just getting the word out there that you help create something.

Submitting to Film Festivals

This is where it get’s tricky. In order to submit to a film festival, it will take money and time. There are quite a few websites to help you out with the submission process.

  • Without a Box, is the most common one that people know about, but it takes a lot of time to set up a marketing page for your film because they ask you every technical question known to man.
  • Film Freeway is another good one and it just ask you basic and simple question about your movie.

Be sure to take careful attention to manage your marketing budget and plan carefully which film festivals you plan to submit your film to. You should always attend a festival to get the most exposure out of it. But, if you go to every film festival, then you’ll certainly run out of money. Strategic thinking is the key!

Matthew Paris

Matthew Paris is the screenwriter of Crisis, a short film with international distribution.

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