The New Digital Filmmaker’s Guide: Grow Your Social Media Fanbase The Right Way

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Christopher Brennan continues The New Digital Filmmaker’s Guide series by looking at how filmmakers can make the most out of their social media pages.

Okay, so you’ve decided to set up a Facebook and a Twitter page for your feature film. You’re looking to gather a community of like-minded individuals together that you believe will be interested in what your film has to say. So far, so good…

You start putting up photos of cast, updates on pre-production and maybe some spec posters. However, once your family, friends and colleagues have all agreed to Like & Follow your pages, it all seems to plateau, right?

This is basically where 95% of independent filmmakers’ social media pages end up: A stagnant page floating around the 100/200 fan area.

I bet you’re looking for more fans right? Well, why should you just wait for them to find you? How about we take a couple of the basic tricks from digital marketing specialists and start to grow those film pages. Obviously this is just an overview. For further insight, it is best to contact Facebook or Twitter reps. They are really helpful.

Let’s start with Facebook first shall we?

Digital Film Marketing – Facebook

Let’s assume that you have set up a business page for your film and not a friends page (if not, then go ahead and set it up now). And you have already invited your Friends list to start liking your page.

Now what do you do? How about a little Facebook advertising? It’s actually really simple to do. And it doesn’t take much money to start seeing real results for your film page.

Promote Page: Did you know that by only spending €4 per day to promote your page, Facebook will pretty much guarantee that you receive between 13-50 new Likes daily! Now it’s up to you to target the correct audience. For instance, if you were making a horror film, then make sure that you put all things horror film-related into the ‘Interests’ area of your Audience section. I’d recommend targeting filmmakers as well.

You can also target by area. So if you want to just focus on your city or country, then that is where Facebook will promote your page (For €8 per day, you should be receiving 25-100 new Likes per day).

You see, by even doing a one week promotion of your new Facebook page, you will already see significant results.

Boost Your Post: You can also boost your individual posts as well. And you can decide on what objective it is that you want to achieve:

If you want people to click through to your KickStarter page, then go with ‘Clicks to Website,’ if you want more people to see your promo video, then aim for ‘Video Views.’

It’s amazing that when people go to all the trouble of setting up a crowdfunding page, they don’t even think about boosting their Facebook post to have it reach more people. By only spending a couple of Euro, your post can reach a couple thousand potential fans (whether or not they fund you is another matter – see crowdfunding Incentives blog)

Now, because I’m starting to sound way too much like a Facebook employee, let’s look at Twitter shall we?

Digital Film Marketing – Twitter

Many filmmakers think it’s best to use either Facebook or Twitter, thinking that they are really one in the same. So they set up a Twitter account, get 50 followers and then forget about it.

But by using Twitter correctly, you can build a fantastic, engaged community of followers for your film account. And what is one of the absolute best ways to get Twitter Followers? By Following other people.

Some may think that this is a bit of a sly tactic. But it’s absolutely honest. Think of Twitter as a giant party where you don’t know anybody. And by Following people, you are merely introducing yourself to individuals who like the same things as you. Makes sense, right?

One of the best ways to do this is to sign up to Tweepi (it’s free and you can log in using your Twitter handle). When you’ve signed in, the first thing you do is find some similar accounts to yours that have a large following (So if you have a documentary about Skateboarding, then search for popular skateboarding oriented accounts).

Next thing you do is start to Follow their Followers. And I mean fifty to one hundred at a time. Do this each day for a week straight (Keep going after that, obviously). As long as your Twitter account properly shows what your film is about, and you have targeted the appropriate accounts for your specified area, then you should start seeing your Followers list grow.

Oh, the cool thing about this tactic is: It’s Free!

So there it is. I’m going stop writing now, since this has turned into a pretty big-ass article. Hope you find these tips helpful. But I must tell you again, that this is merely an overview. If you are looking for more in-depth insight into social media marketing, there are excellent sites such as the Social Media Examiner that will go much deeper into specifics.

Anyway, that’s all from me. Good luck with your social media accounts. Any questions, just drop them in the comments box or Tweet me at @ChrisBrennan_1

Thanks for reading.

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The New Digital Filmmaker’s Guide: Make Your Own Film Promo

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Christopher Brennan continues The New Digital Filmmaker’s Guide series with 6 reasons why you should be making your own film promo.

Times have most certainly changed. Back in the day, equipment was expensive. Film stock was delicate. And the post-production process was cumbersome. The idea of making a short promotional video for your film project was just too far-fetched.

But not anymore. Nowadays, if you want your project to reach production, it is not just an advantage to have a film promo… It has become a necessity.

So, You Think You Can Make This Film… Prove It!

There’s that old expression: ‘Talk is cheap.’ And that may actually be true in this circumstance.While some filmmakers can still get financing through the delicate art of pitching, it really is a tough sell.

If you really feel like your story is a story that needs to be told… And you are the best person to tell this story… Then you have to convince the right people that this is true.

One thing that is better than simply telling producers, film boards and distributors that this story is indeed worthy of their time, is to actually show it.

Get out there and put together a promo that really captures exactly what your story is all about.

Why should you do this, you ask? Well, I’m glad you asked me!

1.        Just like screenwriting: ‘Show, Don’t Tell.’

Don’t ask them to imagine the look of a film or the mood of a story. Go out, make it and show them. That way, there is no confusion over what you are trying to do.

2.        Show them your dedication and commitment.

By creating this promo, you are showing people that you are dedicated and willing to go all the way. There is something universally attractive about an individual who conveys confidence and determination. By making this promo, you are exhibiting these qualities.

3.        Equipment is readily available.

These days, a lot of people have quality, professional equipment that will make your promo look amazing. With this equipment at your fingertips, why wouldn’t you go out and put your promo together?

4.        Your script will be better because of it.

I know this by experience. By getting out there and cutting a promo together, you are testing the strength of your own idea. It’s amazing how this will influence your story for the better. For the first time, you get a chance to catch a glimpse of what it could be.

5.        You will meet collaborators that may just help get it made.

By simply going through the act of putting a film promo together, you are going to meet cast and crew that might just help you get the whole project into production. These creative, hardworking individuals took the time to collaborate with you in order to make this film promo a reality. Unless the experience was truly horrible, there is a good chance that they will be there by your side when it comes to making the whole shebang!

6.        Other filmmakers are making promos as you read this.

I don’t like to talk about competition too much in this series. But sometimes other people’s initiative can really spur you on to get going. If they can make a promo, then what’s the reason that you can’t?

So there it is. Let’s face it… There’s always a reason not to make a film promo. Let’s just ignore them this month. Instead, why don’t we see if we can get your latest project to the next stage?

Simply drop a couple of people some polite emails and see if they are willing to help you make your promo today. You will be amazed at how much time people will actually have for your project, once they realise that this is important to you.

 

Good luck and let me know how it goes!

 

@chrisbrennan_1

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The New Digital Filmmaker’s Guide: How To Get People To Read Your Goddamn Script!

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Christopher Brennan continues The New Digital Filmmaker’s Guide series with a look at getting your script read.

So you’ve spent months developing your idea, another few months writing your script. Now, as you fine tune the story, dialogue and characters you might want notes and opinions on your project, right? See what other people think of your work.

This can be a very tricky process. A lot of times you can send out scripts for review only to spend the next few months simply waiting for people to finally get around to it.

With that in mind, today we are going to look at 5 effective ways to finally get people to Read Your Goddamn Script!

• Print Your Script

This day and age, it’s so quick and handy to simply send off a digital copy of your script. But there is a big difference between dropping your screenplay to someone in an email attachment and actually handing them the hard copy. For one thing, it shows that you took the time to print off a copy just for them. Also, it’s harder for that person to ignore the pile of pages sitting in the corner of their living room.

• Read Their Script

I mean think about it… Simply offer to read and analyse their script at the same time. Set a delivery date for when both reviews should be turned in, that way both readers will be on a deadline. This deadline will be motivated by the fact that each party wants feedback from their own script.

• Bribery Works

Another way to get your script read is by adding a little incentive. This doesn’t have to be too much. Even just giving the person a bottle of wine can be a really nice gesture. Something that shows that you understand and appreciate the time you are requesting from your reader.

• Provide a Synopsis First

Think of it from their point-of-view. It’s really hard to commit a couple of hours of your evening to reading a script. It really is. Especially if you don’t have any clue what it’s about. Another way to look at it is: when would you pick a film on Netflix without knowing anything about it? Usually you read the synopsis, watch the trailer, see who’s in it or check out reviews, then decide to watch it. By providing that kind material for your readers, it makes it easier for them to carve out the time to read your work.

• Create Promotional Material

This doesn’t have to stop at just the synopsis by the way. What about having a poster done up? How about shooting a little promo of the script? These things will help sell the film in the future anyway, so why not prepare them early to help get your script read?

So what do you think? Do you believe that these tactics might work? Why don’t we put it to the test. This week, offer to read a colleague’s script. And in return ask them to read yours.

By next week, you should have some really positive feedback that will help strengthen your story. And please, let me know how you get on by dropping a comment below or tweeting @chrisbrennan_1

Thanks for reading and good luck with your script!

 

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The New Digital Filmmaker’s Guide: Pitching

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Christopher Brennan continues The New Digital Filmmaker’s Guide series with a look at pitching your project.

I know it’s not nice to hear it. But these days, knowing how to make a film sometimes isn’t enough. With the competition heavier than ever before, more and more filmmakers are quickly learning that in order to get your film into production, you are going to have to master the art of The Pitch.

But I do have good news as well… It’s actually a lot easier than you might think. That’s why I’ve put together a couple of pointers to help you on your next opportunity to get your project off the ground.

The 9 Essentials Of Pitching

  1. Tell a story– When it comes to pitching, a lot of people get tied up on where to start. Not knowing what to lead with or where to go. First thing to remember is that you are a storyteller. So, simply tell a story. Think about when you tell anecdotes to your friends and colleagues. Well, why not take inspiration from that?
  2. But don’t tell the plot – One of the biggest problems filmmakers have when it comes to pitching is to start from the beginning and explain scene by scene what happens in the film. Don’t Do That! This really is the most common way to lose your audience. Your script will take care of those details. Now is the time to sell the concept, idea and heart of your story.
  3. Learn To Summarise – Learn how to synopsise your film.
    What’s the themes?
    What are the characters’ goals?
    What are the characters’ wants and needs?
    Once you know this, then learn how to sum up your film in 3 minutes. Then 2. Then 1.
    Do you have a Log Line?
    Can you summarise everything in a sentence?
    What is the one word that best describes your film?
    Get to know these things. They will help you construct your pitch into some worth listening to.
  4. Know your audience – And I don’t mean the audience of the film. I mean the person you are pitching it to. Whether it’s a formal interview or a networking event, knowing some background on the other person will definitely make the process go much smoother.
    What is their job? What are they interested in? Where have they previously worked?
    There is nothing wrong with doing a bit of a research on the person you’re expecting to impress… In many circumstances, they would’ve checked out your background anyway.
  5. Practice – Don’t think that you can just roll right up to someone and instinctively nail a pitch every time. Pitches that are well conceived and constructed have a better chance of suceeding. So, rehearse with a colleague. Rehearse in front of a mirror. Rehearse wherever you can to make sure that when your 2 minutes are here, you will be prepared.
  6. Eye Contact – Don’t pitch with your face in a notebook, looking down at your shoes or staring out the window. This person deserves to be treated with respect. Looking them straight in the eye is one of the best ways to show it.
  7. Are there any comparable films? – One way to get your point across is to understand the arena that your story is in. What kind of films would you compare yours to? Highlighting some successful films that relate to yours will not only put your project in good company, but will show that your idea is not only good, but bankable as well.
  8. Have A Backup Project – Sometimes the person in the room is simply not going to be interested in your idea. And that’s fair enough. Maybe you’re pitching a comedy, and they are on the look out for a thriller. If you can, try to have a backup project just in case. You wouldn’t believe the number of filmmakers that ended up getting a deal based on their second project. And if it is possible, try to have two separate genres.
  9. Enjoy yourself! – I know this one may be a bit harder to do than the rest. But it honestly is the key. Pitching is all about engaging the other person. How do you expect your potential investor to be entertained or engaged if you’re not enjoying it either? Most likely, if you’ve scouted it right, this person wants to find the right project. It’s your job to prove to them that your idea is the one that fills their remit.

So there it is. Hopefully some of these points may help you when your next moment arrives. But let’s not leave this list at only 9 points. If you have any other advice when it comes to pitching, let us know. Drop a comment down below, or Tweet me @chrisbrennan_1, and let’s get your next project off the ground.

Thanks for reading and good luck with your next pitch.

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The New Digital Filmmaker’s Guide: Which Crowdfunding Platform Is Best For You?

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Christopher Brennan kicks off The New Digital Filmmaker’s Guide series with a look at crowdfunding.

So you have a script that you’ve been itching to get made. You’ve tried many of the traditional ways of bringing this puppy to life, but so far, No Dice.

Have you ever thought about Crowdfunding? By now, you’ve probably heard of this movement that’s been sweeping the independent film sector!

Now there are hundreds of different online companies that specialise in crowdfunding. But, how do you know which one is right for your project?

Well, that is exactly what we are going to look into today!

Top Crowdfunding Platforms

At the moment, the two main international crowdfunding platforms would be Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. However, for Irish filmmakers, there is also a more localised one called Fundit.ie

There is no real answer to which one is better. They each have their own advantages and disadvantages. But let’s see which one is right for you.

Let’s start with the biggest company first: Kickstarter

Kickstarter

Averages a 44% success rate on campaigns overall

Advantages

Exposure   As the world’s largest crowdfunding platform, you will have the opportunity to reach a larger number of people if you use Kickstarter. Now this doesn’t mean you will. It just means you could!

High Project Goals – If you are looking to raise a significant amount of money, then Kickstarter may just be the best option. If your project happens to go viral, then your campaign has the potential to raise a lot of money. More so than with the other platforms anyway.

Project Acceptance – There is a chance that your campaign could be rejected by Kickstarter. Now this may sound like a disadvantage at first, but in reality, it could be to your advantage as well. You see, Kickstarter will only reject your campaign if they feel that you have not created a proper strategy that will lead to success. So, if you do get rejected, then it means your campaign may not yet be strong enough to go live yet (better to find that out before you launch, right?)

Disadvantages

Competition – With the larger platform also comes the stronger competition. It can be very difficult to attract attention to your campaign, with so many others fighting for interest as well.

All or Nothing – You have to reach your intended target. If you don’t, then you get nothing. Oh, and you should aim for higher than that. Because if the credit card of one of your contributors doesn’t work, then that could mean that you didn’t reach your target as well. Even though, Kickstarter are very good at contacting contributors about overdue payments, it’s still not a guarantee.

Offline Fundraising for Kickstarter – If you are raising money through other offline areas, then it can be tricky to post those earnings on Kickstarter, as you are not allowed to pledge to your own campaign. This means that you would have to find another person to trust with your own donation.

IndieGoGo

Averages a 34% success rate on campaigns overall

Advantages

Keep What You Raise – Unlike Kickstarter, IndieGoGo will allow you to keep whatever money you raise. This means that even if you don’t reach your target, you still get to keep the finances raised. While this might be an advantage on some level, it can also be detrimental to your campaign as well (See Disadvantages)

Basically Rule-Free – IndieGoGo declare that you can “raise money for anything, including for-profit ventures, creative ideas or personal needs.” This means that you don’t have to go through the vetting process that occurs in Kickstarter.

Advice Page – IndieGoGo has an extremely detailed advice page that will breakdown all the stages of developing a successful campaign. This page is actually considered better than Kickstarter’s.

Disadvantages

Lack Of Urgency – As mentioned above, even though keeping all you raise can be seen as a good thing, it also takes away from one of the driving factors for contributors: Urgency.


One of the most common times for contributors to pay is at the end of the campaign. It really lights a fire under them to pledge their support.
If you are going to keep whatever you raise, then you lose the priority-factor of hitting your target.

Exposure – IndieGoGo has a much smaller community. This will limit the exposure of your campaign.

Fees – IndieGoGo has a 4% fee for successful campaigns. While that might be slightly better than Kickstarter, if you don’t reach your target, then they will take an astounding 9%. So be sure that the actual money raised at the end is worthwhile before you start your campaign. 

Fundit.ie

Averages a 74% success rate on campaigns overall

Advantages

Success Rate – As you can see, Fundit.ie has a very healthy success rate. Those figures show that that you have a good shot at reaching your target.

Limited Competition – Because there aren’t as many campaigns on Fundit, you may have a better shot at being funded by someone browsing through the site. Also, your chances are higher to be one of the featured projects on their homepage.

Project Support – Fundit are quite known for providing very helpful support and advice to ensure that your project will reach it’s goal.

Disadvantages

Overall Exposure – Your project may not reach the same level of people as it would on Kickstarter.

No Live Edit – Once your project goes live, then that’s it. You are unable to edit it. This means that you cannot add any more prizes or stipulations (However, you can add these into the updates section).

Financial Limits – As the audience is smaller, so is the amount of money you can raise. Whereas some Kickstarter campaigns have been able to raise over $10 million, Fundit just doesn’t have that kind of reach. To date, Fundit’s highest grossing campaign has been just over €20,000. So if your project requires more than that, then perhaps you might seek one of the bigger companies.

Which One Works For You?

So, as you can see there is no clear-cut winner in this group. Each of the companies have their own unique set of advantages. In the end, it’s best to examine your own specific project, and then determine which one of these platforms would be of the most benefit.

For instance, if you are making a story that will really strike a chord with an Irish audience, then perhaps using a more targeted platform is the way to go.

Alternatively, if your project has a very interesting universal hook – something that will immediately peak the interests of casual film-goers, filmmakers and enthusiasts alike, then perhaps using a bigger, more international platform like Kickstarter could really help spread the word.

Either way, before you start off on your campaign, it’s best that you have a fully orchestrated strategy ready. The campaigns that succeed are the ones that know that you can’t just stick your project up and hope to get funding. It’s takes a lot of work!

So, what do you think? Have you used any of these platforms before? Or is there a lesser known one that you feel needs recognition? Which one do you think is best?

Let us know, by either dropping a comment below or tweet @chrisbrennan_1

Thanks for reading and good luck with your campaign!

 

 

 

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The New Digital Filmmaker’s Guide: An Introduction

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Christopher Brennan introduces his new series that takes on the challenges filmmakers face in the new digital film landscape.

With the rapid growth of digital technology over the past few years we have seen a complete overhaul in the film landscape. Finally, it is possible for anybody to create extremely thought-provoking and top-quality films.

However, as more and more people managed to access the tools to tell their own unique stories, the film industry quickly became a highly competitive arena.

Soon enough, this new digital film landscape began presenting a whole new level of obstacles and challenges to overcome.

In this series, my goal is to present some ideas and strategies on how best to tackle these obstacles through the navigation of new territories such as crowdfunding, social media and online distribution while also providing insight into the crucial aspects needed to get your film into production.

Or another way of putting it: The areas that really concern the modern filmmaker!

But Who Am I?

Now before we go any further, you might be wondering who in the blue hell I am?! My name is Christopher Brennan, I am a filmmaker, screenwriter and digital marketing specialist. Over the past 6 years or so I have been involved in a variety of different film projects (in all the various department). These days, however, I tend to focus mainly on writing, directing and producing.

I came into the business from the academic side, gaining a Masters in Digital Feature Film Production at Filmbase/Staffordshire University. I guess this might be one of the reasons why I have become so fascinated by these new models of production, film marketing, distribution and audience identification.

Over the past couple of years, however, I have also been working in digital marketing; developing an understanding for how this new era of advertising and audience engagement truly works.

But enough about me! I just wanted to show you that I’m not just here to blow smoke up your ass (Well not yet anyway!).

Join the Conversation

I also wanted to say that in no way is this series designed to be a one-way channel of communication. No, the reason Film Ireland have graciously given me some space on their site is so we can get a real conversation going. Not just with me… With each other!

Every year that passes, our industry leaps forward with new technologies and innovations. By the time we have just mastered one thing, it has already changed or evolved into something else. So it’s really important that the Irish film industry has a hub where we can discuss and examine these developments! I guess that’s basically the reason I’m writing this now..

My intention is to bring some interesting and engaging ideas to light. Many of which already exist (I might slip my own ideas in there from time to time!).

From here, we, as members of the Irish filmmaking community, can discuss, test and possibly expand on this new ideas and theories that are out there, with the express intention of creating better films that will entertain and engage an already hungry audience.

If you find that a particular idea or topic might be beneficial, let us know! Or if you downright loathe it, then please tell us why (but, in a calm, mature fashion of course!).

So going forward, if there is an area in specific that you would like us to cover, drop me a line and I will look into it. Either by commenting below or tweeting @FilmIreland.

Alternatively, you can hit me up at @chrisbrennan_1 and let me know what’s on your mind!

Let’s get your story off the ground!

@chrisbrennan_1

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