Engaging your audience
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Engaging your audience

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A presentation from the Binger Filmlab's Digital Filmmaking Week. Filmmakers are being told to "build an audience" and get social media working for their films. But where and how do you start? This ...

A presentation from the Binger Filmlab's Digital Filmmaking Week. Filmmakers are being told to "build an audience" and get social media working for their films. But where and how do you start? This presentation aims to answer those questions with some simple steps anyone can follow to get started.

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  • What does it mean to connect with an audience? Who are they? How do you find them? What methods are used to get their attention?
  • Before I get into marketing for your projects, I want to encourage you to think carefully about marketing yourselves as professional artists. In order to have a sustainable career with an audience base that you can attract, cultivate and grow, you must be open to using digital tools not only for your projects, but for yourselves. The practice of hiding behind projects, creating in secret and discarding the audience after a film has run through its release windows is a very outdated practice and is out of step with what the modern audience expects.. <br /> <br /> It is no longer acceptable to stay in an artistic bubble of introspection and creation and leave the work of audience connection and distribution to others. The audience is growing used to expecting access on a near constant basis with their favorite artists. If you want to use tools like crowdfunding, demand a screening tools like We Want Cinema, crowdsourcing, you NEED to inspire loyalty in your work and connect with people emotionally. You’ll need an email list and active social media channels that remain active even when you don’t have a project to “promote.” <br /> <br /> While some artists are still in a bubble and prefer audiences to only identify with their work, artists like Amanda Palmer, Freddie Wong, and John and Hank Green freely move about in their fan base, they are accessible, they interact on a daily basis with their fans and they have all benefited career wise and financially from building an audience both around themselves and their work. All have raised audience donation money multiple times for their work and in the case of Wong and the Greens, their work has gained corporate sponsorship money, Wong’s Rocket Jump Studios has just entered into a financial investment agreement with Lionsgate and John Green’s book adaptation The Fault in Our Stars just opened VERY well in the US largely based on his personal following on social media. His brother Hank Green is a creator of the Lizzie Bennett Diaries a web based series based on the Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice.
  • the basic challenge facing most independent film and artists: obscurity and the way to combat that is a direct connection with audiences by the artist and by companies. The days of viewing your audience as some abstract entity or eyeballs with wallets are over and the days of thinking that all you have to do is make great work and it will just be found are over. Artists need to start cultivating their own audiences for a sustainable living. Many of you in this room have been to pitching sessions for financing or for distribution of your work. Your leverage will not only entail the strength of the work, but also the audience you yourselves bring to a partnership. Celebrity actors have been trading on this leverage for years, in fact, so dependent are they on media attention to raise their profile that one misstep on a project or in their personal life can bring them down from the pedestal very quickly. Building up your connections exclusively through other entities leaves you vulnerable. <br /> <br /> The promise of the internet is really in its ability to connect people. It used to entail going through centralized entities to reach an audience, but now the tools are available to everyone. It is time that you started using them personally instead of defaulting to someone else. If you put in the consistent effort to work with tools that are available to everyone, you will see results. <br />
  • Too often the approach creators take to this new online communication is I just want to promote and be promoted. But the rules here are different than advertising. People don’t talk about things just because you want them to. Understand that this world is NOT all about YOU. <br /> <br /> I hope that all of you believe you have a unique and personal vision that you are bringing to your work. This makes you remarkable. Remarkable meaning worth talking about. Anyone who reads my blog knows that I am a great admirer of Seth Godin. He wrote a book called Purple Cow. Average cows aren’t worth talking about, they aren’t remarkable. To be worth talking about, you have to be something other people aren’t. You want to be the Purple cow in a sea of average cows. <br /> <br /> All of you here have the capacity to do something remarkable, all of you here have unique points of view or ways of looking at the world and you are used to expressing those through your work. Keep doing that, but add in this new extension of yourself, an online extension that you don’t have to wait 3 years to create like you do with your long form work. You can share your unique vision with the world every day. It just takes getting used to doing it.
  • It’s a dialogue not monologue. This is the main difference between advertising and social media. Advertising is one way communication, there is no feedback required or wanted in advertising. <br /> <br /> In the social space, everything is feedback. We are all creators and publishers now with the ability to reach globally. The back and forth is essential in this form of communication and if you aren’t willing to participate, you will find very limited success with it. <br /> <br /> There needs to be a certain generosity of spirit in order to participate here. You are all storytellers and presumably you want your stories to have impact with people so you should take to this form of communication easily, it is about interacting with those most likely to love your work and your point of view, not simply a tool to push a message. Sharing is the name of the game. I don’t mean all of your personal secrets, believe me we don’t care what you are having for breakfast! Share things that are meaningful to you in your professional life and share things that are meaningful to the audience. I am sure you do this in your real life every day, and that same mentality should be in this space. <br /> <br />
  • Corporate culture has been removed from consumers for a very long time. Where once business operated locally and people knew each other by name, changed over the last 70 years to view the consumer as a faceless mass segmented by broad demographic information and very little insight into what connects them to each other. <br /> <br /> Direct connection is again possible and we have to relearn how to function on a one to one basis with our consumers. You’re not just reaching an audience through media manipulation and advertising only. You will need to be able to communicate on a personal level as well. <br /> <br /> The social space as a giant cocktail party, you don’t want to be THAT PERSON who is always dropping names and talking about how great you are. No one likes that person. Instead of saying how awesome YOU are, think about how to help people see or make them feel how awesome THEY are. <br /> <br /> Create an atmosphere where like minded people gather to share ideas, conversation and support each other. Place the fans in the center of the creator’s storyworld and endeavor to keep them there, they aren’t a disposable commodity.
  • <br /> The producer behind the film American Reunion used the film’s Facebook page to pressure fans to “get the opening weekend to $50mil”, clearly it was his first time to ever speak to fans on the page and the backlash was pretty epic. Fans aren’t concerned about making you a multimillionaire and they don’t like to be pressured into doing something that mainly benefits YOU. <br /> <br /> Fashion brand Kenneth Cole used the Cairo uprising to promote their spring fashion collection, which garnered a lot of negative press <br /> <br /> The bottom line to all of this is an understanding that these are not tools to be taken lightly. Real people read what you post and they have the power to instantly respond. Respect them and what they care about, don’t use these tools only to promote your needs and your message.
  • What competitive products are already in the market, or likely to be in the market soon? You can find some of this by talking to sales agents following a market like Cannes to find out what their sense of over supply and under supply is, elements that NEED to be in place in order to make a project attractive (cast, producer, director, budget level) for sales and which countries buy certain types of films. What you want to know if you are making something that is already WELL represented in the market. If you are, why is yours different? Also check a site called The Film Catalogue http://thefilmcatalogue.com/catalog/ <br /> <br /> As of the last 2 years, indie dramas of any kind are hard to sell, but you improve your chances if you film has recognizable names, is based on a best selling novel, or has an auteur director at the helm or premieres at an impact festival. If sales agents are telling you these are hard films to find buyers for, it isn’t because this is an arbitrary decision. This opinion is based on the performance of these films over the last few years. If you think you will have better luck selling them than an experienced distributor, you will really need to come up with a good reason why you think that. <br /> <br /> The next big question is WHO is your audience, we will talk in depth about this in a minute. Knowing this question helps guide the bulk of your marketing plan. <br /> <br />
  • As with any effort, you won’t know if you are successful if you haven’t set any goals. These are you ultimate goals, but within your marketing plan document there will be other goals such as grow your email list by x%, raise website traffic by x%, grow social channels by x followers, x reach, x shares <br /> <br /> While making money may top this list for most of you, it isn’t reasonable to expect that money will be an achieveable goal if there is no value to the market or to an audience or if there is no audience for your work and no resources have been exercised to gain one. <br /> <br /> Also, if money is a consideration, there will be some forms of distribution that you may not undertake like using torrent sites or avenues like theatrical distribution which is notorious for not making a profit in and of itself, but will help in reaching that goal in other ancillary sales. But making money is not always the objective and can actually be counter intuitive. <br /> <br /> Career launch happens quite a lot if your work earns a pedigree, like a prestigious festival award or some other industry recognition or being a viral phenomenon. If this is your main goal, then ensuring that your film is positioned specifically for that to happen is a main concern. You will be specifically looking to be included in prestigious festivals, submit to award programs and doing all you can to encourage viral sharing of your project and making sure that viral success is known. None of these activities in themselves brings money. <br /> <br /> Audience to see the film. For many filmmakers THIS is their goal. They are not as focused on making money (though their investors may be), but on having people see their work. As many people as possible. This could be in conflict with the first 2 goals though. Focusing efforts on prestigious festivals that better reach industry, but not audiences for the film or on only seeking lucrative distribution deals can put this goal out of reach because they put up barriers to gaining an audience. <br /> <br /> Change the world is generally for documentaries. This goal can be at odds with the first 2. Your efforts here will be spent reaching organizations (governments, schools, charities) to help them mobilize their efforts for change. This has a bearing on how you will reach them and how you will distribute the film. <br /> <br /> A long term fanbase is becoming a more prevalent goal, hopefully, as you probably would like to make a career out of this filmmaking gig! A fanbase you are directly connected to can give you more options for funding, the types of projects you can do, help in spreading the word of your work and a support source in this very isolating existence. If this is your goal, your efforts will always be to keep the connection up not just look to do it when you have a new project. Not to start over again each time or treating the audience as disposible. That is both wasteful and arrogant. <br /> <br />
  • The industry views an audience like this. Some of you may view your audience like this “my film is for everyone” When you are writing your scripts, this question really needs to be considered. Who will love this story? Why will they love it? How will they be told about it? <br /> <br /> Most screenwriters do not consider this very much, claiming that it would impede on their creativity. But this needs to be considered for a variety of reasons. If you are planning to pitch this script to an executive or a finance person, it is understandable that you want to say it has wide, commercial appeal. But decision makers are not comfortable with you as a professional if you do not have a good understanding of the characteristics and appropriateness of your story for a specific audience. Most executives are risk averse. They want to know that your project has an audience and that you know who it is and how your story will pull them in. It helps them to explain this to their superiors or funding participants. A credible business case will need to be built to explain the viability of the project for investment. <br /> <br /> Think about that, investors should want to know who is going to love your story and how will they be told about it? If you are self funding, you should also be asking this question. <br /> Another reason is this helps you to think about how to fit financial resources into reaching this audience. The wider, more diverse and vague the audience is, the more money it takes to reach them because you really don’t know what would trigger their interest. Hollywood studios spend multimillions to reach such an audience, with mixed results and lately they have been heavily relying on remakes, sequels and films based on comics or books to help insure they will have audience interest. It is also why notable name actors are important. Low budget or microbudget films do not have financial resources to reach a vague audience so efforts to pinpoint the audience is imperative.
  • The mass audience consumes only the most mainstream and popular things. <br /> <br /> Mass is for studios and companies with BIG and ongoing marketing budgets. For example, the Weinstein company releasing films like The Butler or Silver Linings Playbook would spend about $10mil to $20mil on theatrical marketing. For Lionsgate/Summit to open the Hunger Games, they spent $40mil just on the online transmedia element for the first film. <br /> <br /> Indie filmmakers cannot afford to think in MASS audiences.
  • Niche audience further helps to narrow down the mass. But there are also big niches <br /> <br /> NEXT Slide
  • These are all subgroups of a mass audience, they have a specialized interest around which they unite. But still, they are quite diverse. <br /> <br /> -Gay films focus on gay characters, but they can be any kind of story <br /> -Environmentalists can be further broken down into certain aspects of the environment that concern them (nuclear power, clean water, air pollution). <br /> -Parents can be broken down by what concerns them about being a parent such as stages of childhood (infant, toddler, teens) or education of children, healthcare for children (vaccinations, special needs, disease prevention or coping with one) or a support system for balancing parental responsibilities with everyday life. <br /> -Teachers can be broken down into certain subjects or education reform or compensation or cutting edge teaching methods. <br /> -Football fans by team support or by fundraising/safety for fans at live matches. <br /> -Ballet fans can be either dancers themselves, or patrons. This is a further breakdown of the Dance audience which is a larger niche. They can even be broken down into type of choreography, country, time period
  • Most important to understand from the beginning is WHAT MOTIVATES THEM? Why are they attracted to this group? There is an emotional connection to this interest and you must understand what it is. This is particularly relevant for narrative films because there usually isn’t an organization devoted to this interest. There is no quirky comedy group or teen romance group or coming of age drama group to connect through. Often there is no publication dedicated to the coming of age drama. Think of why this type of story is of interest to this group and you are likely to find the places where they congregate.
  • Most traditional marketing relied on narrowing down by demographic information. Typical ABC1 thinking where people are grouped by age, education, or income really only speaks to masses of people with very little understanding of what drives them. This worked better when there were a fairly limited amount of places to find these people and it wasn’t possible to actually speak to them. <br /> <br /> As artists you have the ability to actually speak to people, not just through your work. There is great opportunity in this. <br /> <br />
  • Example from analyst and author Brian Solis http://www.briansolis.com/2014/05/connected-customers-invisible-value-demographics/ <br /> <br /> You would not speak to these people in the same way even though demographically they are similar.
  • Think of your core audience like this. A smaller, more easily reachable group. In order to really identify them, you will need to drill down into your story elements and into what assets will influence a core While there may be an universal appeal to the work and that helps it to ripple out, you must know the core idea that your story is evoking. <br /> Identify and focus on small groups to start with. You need to be able to reach them on a one to one basis if you have to or through organizations who have audiences built already. <br /> <br /> You will then focus on finding the influential people within that group. They already have trust built up and they are listened to.
  • So without spending big money on market research firms to figure out a close approximation of the size of your audience, what can you do to get an idea of how big it is? <br /> <br /> Is the project worth doing if there are only 50 people in this group? What if there are 100k in this group? Or 40 million in this group? <br /> <br />
  • Ideally you are doing this BEFORE you finalize the script, the casting and head into production. <br /> <br /> With over 1 billion users on Facebook, you can get a decent idea of the size of your audience and whether you should use Facebook to reach them. If your audience isn’t big, that should be an indication too on the marketability and commercial prospects for your film. <br /> <br /> Resist the temptation to put in very broad keywords to make your audience bigger. You are really trying to find a CORE audience here, people who will be the most excited to hear about your film and may be willing to help you. <br /> <br />
  • This is the example from the Twitter ad manager tool which is similar, but it holds you to broader interests so it won’t give quite as granular a read on audience. They have 225 million users per month. <br /> <br /> Find by @usernames <br /> Find by interests <br /> Find by locations, gender, language <br /> <br /> <br /> You can do these searches on many social channels to get an idea of influential accounts to follow whether individuals, journalists, organizations and see how people interact with each other etc. <br />
  • Use keyword planning tools to research the amount of traffic happening on the internet for specific keywords, titles, actor names, interests.
  • There needs to be a person on your production team that helps you define the audience and how they will be reached. If no one is tasked with it, the work won’t get done. <br /> <br /> There are a lot of things we will go over in this section and it will become too overwhelming to do all of this on your own. After production is finished, much of the crew leaves to do other work and you are then left to finish the film and figure out what to do with it. A team needs to be tasked with figuring out the marketing strategy, what elements will need to be created while on set, starting the research of online outlets and influencers, keeping a list of potential publications to pitch for press, sorting out the website and other design elements, collecting materials from cast and crew like bios and social media accounts, vetting sales agents/distribution outlets and what is going to be required by them….this job is far too important to be left to either inexperienced interns or to the producer to handle along with every thing needed in physical production. <br /> <br /> It is probably the biggest mistake I see in indie filmmaking, wait until the last minute to figure out a strategy and how to implement and the second biggest mistake is not budgeting any money to work with. <br /> <br /> You also may find a team approach is the best course of action <br /> A social media strategist/manager, an analyst, a community manager (handling grassroots and email), content creator, web developer/graphic designer,/video editor publicist to handle bloggers/press outlets/awards submissions, festival consultant, someone to handle your ecommerce when sales start to make sure there are no customer services issues
  • Let’s assume you have a pretty limited budget and your main goal is to gather an audience so that there will people watching your film. <br /> <br /> Strategy and tactics are 2 different things. Strategy is the who and where. Tactics are the tools for promotion. <br /> When identifying target audience, keep to 2-3 groups if you have very few financial resources because it isn’t reasonable to spread too thin. Identify where, online and offline, will you find these groups. Build your database list and you are always building lists, modifying lists, segmenting lists. <br /> <br /> If you are trying to build up a following online, you need to create content that speaks to your potential viewer and makes them want to follow what you say. Using social channels only to broadcast your own news will not result in a big and ongoing following. Think through what will attract an audience and project that in everything you do online. That will be your brand identity. It is visual as in key art, but it is also emotional and expressed throughout your interactions with your followers. Think Grumpy Cat, think George Takei, think I Fucking Love Science, or Orange is the New Black <br /> <br /> Where online do they hang out? Where in real life? What do they read? What events to they go to? What clubs/churches/charities? Choose where you can also be, don’t try to be everywhere. You can’t be everywhere well
  • Foremost is your own real estate online. Do not build it on 3rd party sites like Tumblr or only set up a Facebook page. Their site, their rules. If you get locked out, or they change their policies or go out of business your whole presence is wiped out. <br /> <br /> Be sure to start or expand your email database. There are lots of email provider services you can use, some are free up to a certain database size. <br /> <br /> Use the social sites to be where the audience already congregates and talk to them there. These are primarily for conversations and transitioning to your sales funnel. You have to be where the people are so you will be using social media. <br /> <br /> Grassroots outreach is more one to one communication. Introducing your project to those who are most likely to love it if they knew about it and then they work their own networks. <br /> <br /> Media pitches are story angles you will formulate for the media. It can be any kind of writer/journalist or podcaster alumni newsletter anywhere you can think there would be interest in your film. Sometimes these are easier facilitated by media buys  and you’ll generally find advertising on targeted blogs is cheaper and more effective than buying space on heavy but wide audience websites like imdb or IndieWire or Google search. Facebook ads are quite effective because they can be very targeted.
  • These are main costs you should budget for in your marketing efforts. You may be able to negotiate down or find good people doing freelance work for less cost. You may also need to spend more if you decide to hire a larger marketing agency. They usually handle the bigger indie campaigns. <br /> <br /> A word about saving money by cutting your own trailer…..hire someone else to do it. The trailer is probably your most important marketing element, the thing people will watch to decide whether to see your film. Most film editors do not understand the trailer editing process, they try to tell the story in 2 min. A trailer is an ad, it is meant to create excitement. Unless you edit trailers for a living, don’t cut your own.
  • THIS WILL EVOLVE OVER TIME. Home page should be dynamic and clearly laid out. If there is a trailer, have it here. Have content that is constantly updated, not a static site. Brief synopsis (try for 100 words) and brief bios of the major cast/crew. Press page should have coverage and the EPK. When the film is ready, enable the ability to find screenings or host a screeening/demand a screening. List your social media sites and preferrably a way to like the Facebook page right from the website, as well as Twitter roll and a way to follow. On the blog, enable comments by having them sign in through Facebook account to limit spam bots. Email sign up is very important. You want to be in direct contact and have a group that has given you permission to contact them. Store will be for your merchandise or other revenue streams. <br /> <br /> Will you have a blog or a news section on your own site? (own website) <br /> How much guest posting will you be doing? (publicity) <br /> Do you want to allow guest writing on your blog? (your cast/crew/other artists?) <br /> What social networking sites will you be active in? (what can you commit resources to?) <br /> What role will giving interviews play in your strategy? (publicity) <br /> How many conferences / speaking engagements will you (your company) be involved in? (publicity)
  • This website for Dave Grohl’s Sound City documentary. It is powered by VHX and is customizable to match the graphic design of the film. <br /> The trailer window figures prominently on the home page with navigation clearly marked across the top. <br /> All of the places to buy the film are clearly indicated, including cable VOD. <br /> VHX also hosts the film and it can be bought immediately from the site, see the Watch Now button <br /> But it is also available on iTunes, Hulu, Amazon etc. <br /> <br />
  • This served as more of a landing page or squeeze page. This an option for how your film site could look if you are in active sales mode. The main navigation gives only 3 choices Screening info, Buying info or continuing into the site for more information. Prominently featured is the trailer with an option to buy a streaming version of the film. If you are in production mode, you may want your News/blog page to be the home page.
  • With screenings, be sure to keep a rolling list of upcoming screenings as well as past screenings. You want to present that your film is having a life, even in the past. Don’t just delete your past screenings.
  • This is the lifeblood of your continued career. If you plan to crowdfund, sell directly to your fanbase, keep your fans over a long length of time, you NEED an email database and it takes a while to build it up so be patient. <br /> <br /> Make collecting emails a daily habit. Add a link to your email signup box to every page of your website, your footer signature on personal emails and all of your social media pages (for example, many providers have tabs to add to Facebook pages). Many service providers include a unique URL code that you can use to direct people to the sign up page. Constant Contact and Mailchimp have a way to text to subscribe which could be a great way to collect emails at screenings like film festivals. <br /> <br /> Not only do you want contact details, but you also want to know where your supporters are in the country & world for distribution purposes and follow them on social accounts like Twitter. Remember it is a relationship. <br /> <br /> If you aren’t in active production or distribution, you may elect a quarterly or monthly email message. Make these filled not only with your own news, but news of interest to your fans. <br /> <br /> Many email programs do not show images unless they are enabled by the user so you could have an email look blank upon opening it. Try to use short, scan worthy entries. <br /> <br /> Look at your analytics to find when you get the most engagement. Don’t put blind faith in industry stats about when to send. Test different things to find what works for your audience. <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br />
  • These are a few of the thousands of sites. The number of connections matters less than the quality of the connections. Most people and media brag about the number of followers someone has, but the truth is most of the accounts with the highest numbers of followers have fake accounts and weak followers that won’t do anything for them. Concentrate your efforts on reaching the people who truly will care about your work. THOSE are the ones that will help support you. An account with only 600 followers can reach millions of other people. <br /> <br /> It is best to talk as if you are talking to friends, family, co workers, not advertising speak. If several people are handling your account, consider having them sign as Team whatever, instead of using your name, or identify the person who is administrating the account. <br /> <br /> Also, you don’t have to be everywhere. If you aren’t much of a photographer, then don’t use Instagram. If you love to make short videos, use Youtube. If you love to point out great images you create or find on the web, use Pinterest. Also bear in mind the kind of people who use these sites. Professional people use Linkedin and Twitter. People who like sharing with their friends and family generally use Facebook. Teens and younger people use Instagram, Youtube, and Snapchat. Google Plus gives you an advantage in being found in Google Search for anyone looking for more information on you and your work. <br /> <br /> But these are generalizations. You need to find out where your audience hangs out and be there.
  • What are you trying to do with these accounts? <br /> I want you to remember this whenever you approach a social networking site. Your job is THIS. It isn’t only shouting about your work, advertising your crowdfunding campaign, only showing photos or videos from your film. Make sure that everything you do online is working toward making a personal connection to the person on the other side of the computer screen. Pull them to you rather than pushing a message at them. <br /> <br /> Sound emotional? YES, it is emotional. Touch someone with your creations
  • Anywhere you can comment, self publish, share links is considered a social activity. It isn’t just Facebook and Twitter. <br /> It is meant for interactivity-sharing, commenting, letting others post relevant links on your sites. Relationships are built on conversation, if you don’t want to do that, don’t use social media because it won’t work for you. <br /> You can’t just post once a week or once a month. Every day! <br /> Only fascinating content wins. If you are a celebrity, you are already fascinating to some people. If you aren’t, you have to work harder at it. Storytellers MUST be fascinating. <br /> Don’t spread too thin, pick your platforms according to who you want to reach and what your strengths are.
  • Content powers the social sites. You are creative people who like to tell stories. Use your channels to do this. Posts can be your thoughts, comments on news, interviews with cast/crew/writer, photos of scene stills are a must but also of incidental things like what inspires you, video outtakes, clips, extra material that can be used as giveaways, timelines for the story or documentary with video, photos, maps, music. The more creative you can be and repurpose what you already have, the easier it will be to implement and the more people will want to see what you do next. <br /> <br /> Also, you can sprinkle in content created by other people that you know your audience would love.
  • A GREAT cover photo that tells where to see the film, the tagline tells us the show is about serving a sentence and the image shows the characters in what could be prison cells, the applications bar is well laid out and shows their other social networks (Photos, Tumblr,, Twitter, Instagram) <br /> <br /> They do a variety of posts on their page. LOTS of images, videos that are relevant to the season or that have the characters talking to the fans, lots of references back to plot lines of the show, recipes from the cook, yoga positions from the show’s resident teacher. All get a lot of engagement and they are done in a sassy, streetwise kind of way which is the voice of the show. <br /> <br /> Most of these actresses are unknowns so they aren’t focusing on their faces, they are telling their stories through the surroundings (a prison bathroom, all dressed in prison clothes) and their stances tell us something about their personalities and relationships with one another. <br /> <br /> It is a really fun and engaging page created by digital agency Stradella Road. A monthly budget is being spent to keep this page up with content and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that tens of thousands was spent on its creation.
  • Some of the content found on the Grand Budapest Hotel Facebook page. Cover images shows the fanciful hotel, some fan art is featured by the page, images created in the theme of the film.
  • Originally Tiffany built her Facebook page around her documentary Connected. But a few months ago, she petitioned Facebook to convert the page into a place for all of her films without having to start a new page and lose the fanbase she had built. This can be done, but only ONCE if your page is over 200 likes. <br /> <br /> Tiffany’s work explores the intersection of art and technology. She recently started collaborating with her fans all over the world to submit videos that she cuts into short films that are then used by non profit charities to help in fundraising. She is also doing an original series for AOL that explores technology and our humanity. So her page is frequently dedicated to discussions about those subjects. She’s building community, not constantly asking people to watch her films.
  • An authentic personal voice is what people connect with, not advertising speak, not robot or 3rd party shill, a personality. Consistency and adding value to THEIR lives keeps them returning and keeps them forwarding your messages so that you are not just reaching your core, you are going beyond it. <br /> <br /> Keep a content calendar let’s you plan out what to release on your sites, starting with your website and then how your social channels will feed into delivering this content. <br /> <br /> Since this is a dialog, not one way advertising, you can’t post something and ignore the conversation. Check on posts several times a day. Do NOT auto post from one site to all the rest of your sites. A post on Twitter does not translate well on Facebook and a Facebook post is often too long for Twitter and gets cut off. <br /> <br /> As you probably know, Facebook is now reducing the reach of your posts in order to encourage you to pay to advertise them. You should consider how much advertising budget you are willing to devote monthly to Facebook <br /> And how able you are to continue to create content for it. Facebook is NOT FREE, but it is cheaper than a Google Adwords campaign or a banner ad campaign and a little less maintenance to run than PPC campaigns. <br /> <br /> Keep tabs on what is working and when. Most platforms have an analytics program that tells you where your audience is coming from, some demographic info, what posts are most popular. A tool called Booshaka can be used on Facebook to tell you your most engaged fans. Reward them.
  • Research on Facebook for target pages where you likely audience hangs out. . Facebook ads are really great and a low cost way to raise awareness and sell. Keep the budget low, and keep the audience reach low. Twitter also has a suggested accounts promotion to pair your account with others that have more following. <br /> <br /> Linkedin I have found useful for myself professionally, but also to connect with journalists and join groups around the interests of the projects I am working <br /> <br /> Twitter is a great place to also find audience. Listorious, tweetfind, and Twellow are good sources of finding people to engage with. Pinterest allows you to tell stories in images on virtual “pin boards” and lots of interesting information can be posted there.
  • The fact that you made a film is not news generally. Who is in it? Where was it shot? Local spin? Festival selection? Interesting way it was produced? Craft a pitch specific to the journalist or the publication, don’t send the same one to everyone. <br /> Try working up a relationship with a writer first, then call it in. Make sure you have various sizes of your photos, a synopsis, trailer links etc in order before you pitch so you don’t scramble around for that. <br /> <br /> If you can hire a publicist instead, you should do it. They already have relationships built up. They aren’t just sending out press releases and hoping for a bite. Their call is answered where yours may not be.
  • Advertising is largely marketing to strangers or reinforcing your product message to those who may have encountered it before. <br /> <br /> If you haven’t been building up a following during the course of your career and production, you will find this to be the best tool to use for quick action <br /> <br /> Use advertising when you need action to take place quickly. Obviously this is the most expensive way to reach an audience so have a significant budget set aside for this tool <br /> <br /> Still in order not to be wasteful, you will want to have parameters around the audience you want to reach with your ads. <br /> <br /> Most digital advertising agencies have media buying departments that work with ad networks.Amazon Media Group sells access to their sites including imdb, as well as on Kindles and inserts a tracking pixel to follow prospective buyers around the internet. iAd is an Apple product that gets your ad on ipods, iphones and iPads which is good when your film is in the iTunes store. Be prepared to spend a minimum of $20K using these services.
  • Most of the crowdfunding donors were already Divine fans. <br /> <br /> <br /> https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/iamdivine/i-am-divine-wants-money <br />
  • This case study is included in full in our book sellingyourfilm.com/store Selling Your Film Outside the US
  • See full case study details including budget, revenues, methods used, companies worked with on Papadopoulos and Sons

Engaging your audience Engaging your audience Presentation Transcript

  • Connecting with Your Audience Sheri Candler, The Film Collaborative www.thefilmcollaborative.org @shericandler @filmcollab
  • Artistic mindset change
  • Obscurity is your enemy
  • How do I connect with my audience? Be remarkable
  • X How do I connect with my audience? Be Social
  • How do I connect with my audience? Be generous
  • Don’t underestimate these tools
  • Elements of a Marketing Plan • Situation analysis • Goals • WHO? • WHERE? • HOW? • Budget • Timeline
  • Goals of the production* • Money • Career launch—for your next project • Audience/eyeballs to see the film • Change the world • A long-term, sustainable connection with a fanbase * Hat tip to Jon Reiss
  • Who is your audience?
  • Mass, Niche, Core A MASS audience is term describing the largest group of consumers possible. Women Men Children Students
  • Mass, Niche, Core A niche audience is smaller, narrowly defined, but an influential group of people. They have particular interests, lifestyles, media consumption habits, and varying levels of enthusiasm.
  • Examples of a niche LGBT (gay) Environmentalists Parents Teachers/Educators Football fans Ballet
  • Mass, Niche, Core A core audience is a segment of the niche audience. Their passion and enthusiasm drive the interests of the niche. Reach the core and you will reach the niche. If you have a core audience for you work, their support will help you immeasurably.
  • Demographics? • Too vague • Need to understand interests and behavior • Listening is key • Speak directly to people, don’t make guesses
  • Same demographics, but very different
  • Who is your audience?
  • Be clear on the core audience for your proposed film
  • Where to find them?
  • Where to find them?
  • Where to find them?
  • Break
  • Assign the role
  • Elements of a marketing strategy • Identify target audience (no more than 3) • Where does your audience congregate? • What will be the visual identity and voice of the work? • Implementation of connecting with your audience (this is the promotion bit)
  • Tactics • Website • Email • Social networking • Crowdfunding • Grassroots/community outreach • Media pitches/publicity • Media buys/advertising
  • Budget items • Labor costs $1K-$5K per month • Website design $3-$5K • Graphic design $2-$5K • SEO specialist ($100-$150 per hour or $1500-$3K per project) • Advertising (Social, PPC, video seeding) $20K+ • Publicist $5-$30K • Video editing (trailer/short content) $10K for professional • Analytics-low end $150 per month • Email program $30 per month (often free up to 2000 addresses) • Web hosting $20 per month • Ecommerce $15-$30 per month • Festival submisssions $500
  • Website Elements Home page/blog Synopsis/bios Press Kit-photo gallery Host/Find a Screening Contact Social media site buttons Trailer/streaming Email sign up Store
  • Email database • A daily habit of collection. BE PATIENT • Ask for name and email address, zip/country code & Twitter handle • Set a regular schedule for communication • Tone down images, make the material scannable • Monitor your open rates, unsubscribe rates, clickthrough rates, sharing
  • Social Networking Sites
  • Create little moments of connection
  • Social Networking • Anywhere online • Not a broadcast medium • Build relationships • Post regularly • Be fascinating • Be prepared to pay for reach
  • Think about content • Photos • Video • Links to stories of interest to the audience • Visual timelines • Quizzes • Polls
  • Orange is the New Black
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Tiffany Shlain
  • Keys to successful social Authentic voice Building trust/being interesting to an audience Content strategy/calendar Keep up with comments Budget Measurement
  • Building up a following • Participate on social sites. Join pages on Facebook, participate in Twitter hashtags, repin on Pinterest, favorite photos on Instagram, join Linkedin groups, G+ communities, comment on Youtube videos • Facebook & Twitter ads • Put buttons on your website for social channels
  • Media Pitches What is newsworthy? Match story to outlet Craft not blast Relationships Assets in order
  • Media Buys Marketing to strangers You’re paying for speed & reach Be super targeted Work with media buyers
  • •Core audience: Divine fans •Niche audiences: LGBT, drag queens, John Waters fans, arts documentary fans •Mainly used Facebook & Twitter •Total theatrical campaign spend less than $25K •2 crowdfunding campaigns raised over $80K and led to over 1800 donors before the film’s premiere Case Study: I AM DIVINE
  • Case Study: I AM DIVINE • World Premiere SXSW 2013 • Played over 200 festivals with screening fees • Domestic theatrical 50 cities over 5 months for a total of over $80K • 94% Rotten Tomatoes • US ancillary sales-Showtime, DVD/VOD • Sold in multiple foreign territories
  • •Core audience: Greek Community, Fish and Chip Shop Owners •Mainly used Facebook/Twitter, advertising in specific media, phone calls •Total marketing spend about $35K •Completely self funded
  • • World premiere: Festival du Film Britannique de Dinard out of competition; Thessaloniki winner • released in 70 cinemas in Germany, 23,850 admissions during the first weekend • 7 week UK theatrical run • 77% Rotten Tomatoes • Multiple ancillary deals • Breakthrough British Filmmaker nomination from London Critics Circle
  • Follow us online • Facebook/The Film Collaborative • G+ Community dedicated to independent film marketing • Linkedin/The-Film-Collaborative • Pinterest/FilmCollab • Twitter @shericandler @filmcollab • www.thefilmcollaborative.org
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