It has always been a challenge for indie filmmakers to produce a film that increases (ROI) and profits. Very few are able to succeed and increase sales in their low budget independent films. Breaking into the film business has nothing to do with being lucky, but hard work and using a strategic approach in order to make it happen. For most independent film makers, the focus has been centered on the movie creation itself. However, the biggest challenge is how to promote it on a low budget. Not all of them know the key people and decision makers that make their films successful.
Many film distributors’ marketing startegies are outdated. While the Internet has created ample opportunity that many independent movie producers can leverage, it should be noted that they often lack the skill set and resources to exploit online film marketing to the fullest.
Many independent film producers are badly handicapped by the issue of inadequate resources, knowing their audience and knowledge in film marketing and its strategies. It all boils down to applying the right film marketing strategies and having the right tools to make a film success. Inevitably, this equation leads to very minimal returns. Even in the area of creating the film during the development phase, it is expected that the movie is pitched and sponsored by a major enterprises. In most cases, these independent movie producers are compelled to seek numerous financiers which greatly isolates them from the returns and recompenses that is generated from making a movie. In some cases, their proprietorship rights are also affected greatly thus making it impossible for them to leverage their accomplishments in one movie project for the success of a new undertaking.
In the bid to understand the nature of this hurdle and to unravel it in the most effective way, it is recommended that we first explore the steps that a few independent movie makers have taken to accomplishment. Just as with other fields, most potential financiers would like a proper assessment of the formal record of the financial activities and position of the business as well as a sales projection of proceeds that would come from the venture. Given the aforementioned, it becomes clear that once an indie film producer offers a vigorous monetary history in addition to offering evidence of steady increment in proceeds and returns, they will certainly pull big potential financiers.
Nonetheless, filmmakers are deemed consistent and prosperous even though they do not attain these feats in the respect of profit making. On the other hand, the uninterrupted operations of independent movie producers can be explained as a situation in which they may be lacking the required resources and financing, but they still deliver top-tier movies reliably.
Some independent film producers make use of public financing in film production, like in the UK for instance. Interestingly, these independent film makers have shown the capacity to rely upon on this kind of financing while churning out movies regularly. One of the hallmarks of this kind of financing arrangement is the fact that the movies that are being created are often targeted to appeal to the public’s desires and be in line with the public’s movie category. Often times profitability is left out of the equation and the movies are specifically tailored to highlight the more conventional interests of the society.
At this point, the limitations that have made it impossible for independent movie division to attain an energetic and pulsating posture. More so, the reason that movie enterprises cannot survive in any location globally.
From an expert point of view, it is vital to be a part of the profits and incomes that accrue in the distribution and retail aspects of a movie. A movie’s financial plan should be able to accommodate both digital marketing and traditional media. Given the aforesaid, it is highly recommended that a movie producer on a low budget with very limited resources should connect with online marketers and influencers that would help promote his business. Influencer marketing has been a trend for a few years now and many companies use this strategy to get the word out.
One of the essential prerequisites for the stability and progress of an independent film producer is when a sizable amount of profits from the movie comes back to them. This would grant the increased advantage over discussions with potential financiers. The regulatory measures, laws, and funding priorities of a particular milieu is also a major factor that could influence the prospects of independent movie producers. It is important that you investigate the various laws and funding priorities of the environment as it could be harmful to the advancement of the independent movie producer.
Once all of the aforementioned factors are adjusted, the independent film producers would be able to gain much more stability and control over the frequency and nature of the movies he hopes to create. More so, it is expected that they will get more returns on their movies thus giving rise to an energetic and prosperous independent movie-making sector.
Independent film producers get adequate backing, the involvement of TV stations is made somewhat compulsory. There are various ways in which TV stations become involved in movie making process and it is chiefly through permit charges and the ownership of shares in the movie. It should be noted that these tactics of ensuring a collaborative effort between independent movie makers and TV stations have been largely effective. In instances where a limitation has been placed on the amount of local material, this would broaden the avenues available to TV stations and independent movie makers to showcase their works.
One of the added perks that comes with these tactics is the fact that this collaborative effort between independent movie makers and TV stations creates a much deeper insight into the nature of viewers. This knowledge is incorporated into the creation of the movie and thus enhances the efficacy of product placement and other related stratagems. Nonetheless, it should be noted that the posture of TV stations is becoming more and more threatened by the availability of movies on the Internet.
It should be noted that while there is a growing reduction in the broadcast of local materials, there are numerous nations that till have a high amount of local material being televised. In terms of the backing that TV stations offer movie makers, it is expected that it should be a worldwide affair as most movie producers are backed by worldwide networks. Given the aforesaid, it becomes clear that joint agreements and mutual contracts must be set in motion to allow movie producers collaborate with global networks and reach global viewers. The absence of this kind of arrangement would have dire ramifications n indigenous movie producers as they will be stunted and prevented from any milestone accomplishment.
Traditional Media and Online Marketing in Film Business
TV remains the leading stage form promotions. The efficiency of TV in measuring the efficacy of promotional materials that are deployed is one of its most attractive perks. More importantly, TV has an effective way of reaching highly targeted viewers thus enhancing the strength of promotion. Tabloids are on a fast decline that started a long time ago. As for the internet, it is worth mentioning that promotions have been very viable at this stage with a constantly rising promotional budget being spent on this stage. Radio has always given reach to movie promotions and remains useful in this regard till date even though underutilized by some.
The use of social media in film marketing
More than ever before, social media has become a powerful process for movie marketing with an extensive range of applications. One of the core and most distinctive attribute of social media in this regard is hinged on its abilities to create a robust followership that repositions the movie with tremendous anticipation and eventual success.
There is a powerful connection between movies and social media.Some film distributors use unethical social media marketing tactics to rank a film higher in IMDB. It is easier to win in music and film industry because the jury members in film business use statistics tools to measure these candidates’ social media engagement to see who is more popular. This is how they predict sales projection of a movie or a music if they use certain actor in a film or rank a singer in certain music genre. This method increases their ranking and deceive award juries such as Globe Globes, Oscar etc. Manipulating social media ranking increases the chance of winning important awards. I am sure these blackhat social media methods will be useless when web 3.0 and web 4.0 replace with web 2.0. When it happens then real singers, song writers, actors, artists and politicians will rank in their categories just like back in 50s until early 2000 when social media and fake social media engagement did not exist.
Some movies became successful because of using the social media marketing strategy. For example: “The Proposal “ which happens to be a huge box office success utilized Facebook pages of its leading star actress to intensify anticipation and create a massive following. Just like you suspected, this movie got a lot of profits. They used an engaging game to gain the interest of a massive number of main viewers. Using memes on social media sites also help with exposure.
However, it must be noted that when it comes to social media advertising, the viewers are very shrewd, and this would mean a much more engaging and surreptitious approach to promotions. Failure to adopt this approach could mean undesirable appraisals and implications for the movie.
Insight into the viewers of the movie
Funding a movie or undertaking by raising tiny amounts of money from numerous people through the internet is one of the perks that come with the terrain and this is a significant benefit for independent movie producers. This approach to financing movies has been utilized extensively by many enterprises. The internet offers a much more targeted approach to film marketing and can be leveraged by independent move producer to finance movie projects.
The complexity of film studios offers an insight into the nature of their operations and how they deliver great promotions to movies. The promotions division of the film studio gets all of the resources and it would be responsible for allocating resources to other divisions for the promotions and advancement of the movie.
It should be noted that the film studio is focused on becoming the number one thing on their target viewers’ consciousness. In this regard, the movie studio would try to ensure that every other thing is secondary and that they cut through the cluster of other promotions while maintaining top of the mind awareness.
A lot of emphases have to be placed on the narrative behind the film during the promotions. In this regard, the producer would become actively involved to design a formidable promotional material that resonates with the film. It is expected that most professional distributors would advocate that independent producers dedicate a significant sum of their resources to ensuring the promotions of the film in addition to miscellaneous expenses that are connected to the movie final release. While this may seem like a great idea, it should be noted that this is a model concept that may not be attainable in practicality. The reason for this is because many independent movie producers have very limited funds in the first place. When you consider how meager the actual movie funds is, it becomes clear that taking a chunk of the resources for promotions would be pointless.
Film producers should know how to use the right marketing strategy for their films. They should use many digital marketing processes such as search engine optimization ( increasing organic search results), social media marketing, print media marketing, events, press releases, content marketing, video marketing, online reviews and create a buzz around the movie during pre-production, production and post production. Major player film distributors pay $200K a day for making a film or TV series a trend on Twitter’s paid trend section.
There is a shift in the way various promotional materials of movies are accessed by target viewers. Currently, promotional materials of movies are offered to viewers over the Internet in the pretense of news. More than ever before, the use of sensationalism is being used by movie producers to convert movies into the news. Although it isn’t expected that your movie gets equal attention with films from major film studios, you can be sure that you will get your message out and gather your following.
Marketing A Low Budget Film
Low budget filmmakers should create promotional content consistently throughout the creation of the film. In fact they should start marketing when they decide to make their movies. The most effective approach should be to create a variety of previews with diverse angles of the movie. It is also a great idea to utilize music of a performer as a way to promote the movie. Currently many indie filmmakers do not know this strategy and have problem with promotion. Another strategy to have an interview with the cast and create reviews online. Hire an expert publicist. The goal of an expert publicist is to give all of your promotional clips maximum exposure on various news channels.
The goal at this stage is to get adequate reach and this would mean taking advantage of every media outlet you can possibly lay your hands on. Participating at film festivals is a great opportunity for independent filmmakers to showcase their movies and help them with networking. Going to highly ranked film festivals such as: Cannes in France, Sundance film festival in the U.S, Berlin in Germany are places where producers will be able to network and find good sales agents, film distributors, film studio executives and investors. In my opinion Cannes film festival is the most welcoming than the other ones. Every studio and film production company has a booth where you can connect with them and exchange contact information.There are festive gatherings where they serve drinks, food and have fun. Whether you are on low budget or not, I strongly recommend going to these mentioned film festivals for networking. A film producer should prepare to leverage these opportunities for tremendous press coverage and publicity.
Having contact with influencer journalists and film critics and ask for their feedback increases a film production’s popularity. Many independent film producers make the mistake of no leveraging film festivals due to cost of participating at each one. But if you search online, you may find film festivals at no cost.
Preparation is a key element in marketing and one way to ensure this is by getting distribution before the festivals. This would increase the enthusiasm to ramp up attention with publicity for the movie.
When I made my short film “The Ghost On The Bridge” i participated at many film festivals, one month later a film festival in Hollywood, California loved my film and signed a film distribution agreement with me.
One of the key takeaways to promote the low budget movie is to create a fan base in social media and share common posts which indirectly promote the movie. Why not exploring various groups on social media? There are a lot of ways to promote a movie online without using a lot of money. If the movie is cartoon, a filmmaker can make some interesting promotional video clips and promote them on social media and video channels across the Internet. Or for a drama feature film, one can create quiz and discussions in the most popular discussion forums. Use some good strategies in transmedia marketing. It is advisable that producers develop numerous publicity materials even if they are remotely connected to their movies. Ultimately, it is much superior to have the publicity in the form of news than a straightforward advertisement. With the help of an expert publicist, a producer can be sure to navigate this kind of promotions without any hassle.
For every country you are going to distribute your film, you must create a suitable poster for that country in order to increase the chance of getting more audience. Below are the Wife’s poster in different designs:
When the distributors of a film agree to market a new film, they first watch it for several months before its release into the cinema. They can then plan a marketing campaign. They include decisions on:
- What should go into the posters
- What should be on the trailers
- Materials on websites
- Other materials for marketing the film.
The points to consider are:
· Who will most likely want to watch the film?
Anyone might decide that they want to see the film but there are some dedicated cinema-goers who more likely want to see it more than the others. These people are the target audience and the marketing team will purpose to make the film look attractive to them. Many films are aimed at people who are of the ages between 15 and 24 because statistics show that it is the group that visits the cinema most often. When you want to target your audience you have to pay attention to the following aspects:
· Uniqueness of the film
· Initial Impressions
When we watch a movie trailer, from experience, we know that we are seeing the most exciting, funny, significant or dramatic parts of the film. We also know that we must interact with them to create a whole story from the given parts.
Whether in the cinema or on television, the film distributors think carefully about the many people who will be watching the film at a certain time of the day or night. They try to show a trailer which is interesting to this type of audience.
In conclusion it is fair to say that film marketing is the lodestar that leads to increase in exposure and getting more people to watch your movie.
It takes a lot of effort to make a film, then at the end of the day, some people leave bad reviews, For example those who like comic movies leave bad reviews for drama films. Some of IMDB’s reviews are not fair. This is why I don’t pay attention to those reviews.
I just read your article. I will be implementing some of your tips. I also loved your transmedia article.
The majority of filmmakers are focused on making their movies and marketing part is the pain in the neck, Maria. Thanks for your advice.
Tell me about it. yeah sure, you’re welcome:-)
I don’t understand why they consider Lady Gaga a good actress!
IMDB is a part of Amazon’s system, the ranking system sucks, anybody with a little bit of cheating, can rank in IMDB.
It’s difficult to believe Oscar nominations these days, many of these distributors and publicity agencies manipulate ranking and outrank the real films. I watched the wife too. It was a good movie.
I checked out A Star Is Born on IMDB and there are a lot of fake positive reviews in there. You’re right, Maria.
One of the biggest challenges for independent filmmakers is where to start the marketing and how to get more social media engagement, Maria
Marketing a film is really difficult and time consuming. You’re right many indie film makers don’t know how to market their films. They don’t have marketing tools either.
50% is production and the other 50% is marketing and yes marketing is difficult.
Thank you for an amazing article, Maria. You rock!
You’re welcome! 🙂