The other day, I found myself in a passionate debate regarding digital film distribution.
We were talking about the importance of building your own audience. Despite the fact that the entire world of distribution is shifting away from a physical product and people are now watching movies on their small devices… There are some fuddy-duddies who still believe we are years away from digital film distribution becoming the norm. These are the same “gurus” who believe that audience building is best left for the experts.
This is silly talk.
You’re a serious independent filmmaker.
You will stop at nothing until your vision is realized and you movie is made. So why would you go the distance without creating any sort of plan for reaching your audience?
“I just want to focus on making movies and let someone else market them.”
While I encourage you to focus on becoming the next filmmaking success, crossing your fingers for an audience to magically appear doesn’t work in digital film distribution.
Out of the thousands of films produced each year, most will not garner theatrical distribution. And with DVD on the decline, getting a deal for the vanishing video stores is rare… Even in foreign territories.
So I suggest you take a pragmatic approach to your movie making business. I’m suggesting you start thinking like a digital marketer. And the first step towards becoming a marketing success is making sure you know your audience.
The 3 Laws of Digital Film Distribution
While digital VOD distribution is an exciting frontier, your desired target audience is scattered all over the internet. Reaching people interested in your work is your biggest challenge. How will you do this?Before you make your movie, answer the following questions:
1. Why should someone care about your movie? – If you can’t tell me why I should watch your movie, you can rest assured I won’t. Time is more valuable than money. Once spent, it never gets replenished.
2. Who is your intended target audience? – Most filmmakers never give any thought to this question. Or if they do, they say “everybody.” Because everybody is nobody, that is very unrealistic.
3. How much does your marketing cost? – There are two ways to build an audience. You can spend a lot of time building your audience, or you can spend a lot of money building your audience. The choice is both. But you better plan accordingly.
This should go without saying – but I spend a lot of time looking for great movies. And the truth is, most movies are very poorly done, with no star talent or marketable hook. So please make a good movie.
If you want more help on how to market your movie, check out the indie producer’s guide to distribution.