Building Your Audience on a Budget

Gaining buzz and press around your production can be a tricky part of the filmmaking process. There’s no “one hat fit all” method as each production has its own needs and audience. Here are just a few quick tips to help you start building your audience at any stage of the production process.

  • Start Now

You can NEVER start too early. Even if you’re still in the development phase of your production, start gaining social media followers and building your online presence now. It’ll pay off in the long run when your production is ready for the world to see.

  • Press Release

Want to get word about your production on local blogs and publications? Write yourself a Press Release and disperse it on a distribution platform online (there are many!). Anytime something new and exciting happens, write a new press release. Are you Crowdfunding? Write a press release. Did you get into that festival? Write a Press Release. Have you recently cast a YouTube sensation in your film? I think you get what I’m saying.

  • Twitter

I have found twitter to be one of the best social media tools for connecting with both fans and filmmakers in the same boat as me. It’s fantastic for networking, staying up to date with your fellow filmmakers and establishing connections with other productions you can later collaborate with. Take it from someone who until six months ago had never touched twitter; this one is easy and essential for all you low-budget filmmakers.

  • Crowdfire

Jumping off the back of twitter, Crowdfire is a fantastic app that helps you maintain, build and establish connections with people far and wide, on a daily basis. Its easy to use, free (unless you want to subscribe to one of their more beneficial plans) and it helps keep you updated on recent re-tweets and mentions. Oh, and you can create a custom Direct Message service so all your new followers get to know a little more about you. Personally, I saw my followers double within the first month alone!

  • Instagram

Speaking of social media, Instagram is a great tool for giving your perspective audience a taste of what your production is about. Here you’ll be able to “set the mood” of what you’re selling, in picture form. Be sure to use behind the scenes images, production stills, cast headshots and anything that you feel fits into the world you’re creating. A word to the wise – while filming, make sure to stock up on pictures as not to run out of original images when the time comes to release your production.

  • #Hashtagging

Using the right hashtags (especially on Instagram) can help you grab the attention of people you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to access. Make sure your hashtags target your specific audience. For example, on previous productions of mine, we targeted the female filmmaking community, therefore we used tags such as #Production, #SetLife and #WomenInFilm. Don’t forget to use universal hashtags such as #Love, #Instadaily and even #TaylorSwift. It sounds crazy, but these are sure to get new people seeing your stuff.

  • Advertise

This is a little harder, especially if you’re on a tight budget (or no budget if you’re like many of us) but if you can set aside a small amount to $$$ there’s a lot you can do with it. On social media, you can tailor your advertisements or “promoted” posts to your needs, both financial and target audience. Aside this, some online streaming channels (such as MaddyGTV) accept advertisers before their films for as little as $0.10 per advertisements. Scour around because there are so many options to fit your budget.

  • Collaborators

Now that you’ve got your social media accounts up and running, reach out to other productions similar to yours (whether that be similar audience base, amount of social media followers, themes or performers) and see if you can cross promote. You can go about this a few different ways; the very basic re-tweeting/gramming option, the sharing each others material on your platforms option or even, if you can start this far enough in advance, the jump into each other worlds and have stuff from their production in yours option. The possibilities are endless.

  • Online Competitions

There are so many of these online, and many you’ll be surprised to hear are free. IndieWire’s “Project Of The Day” is a great one! Don’t worry if your production takes a few submissions to get through. Like anything in this industry, just keep persevering.

  • Reaching Out

Find online publications that actively look to interview or feature filmmaker’s works such as yours. Trust me, if you look hard enough (or Google long enough) you’ll find plenty. Contact them and see if they’ll tell your story. You can also search for blogs that share similar topics of yours. For example – does your production portray strong themes around the positive body image movement? Find publications talking about this and reach out!

Article written by Alexa Berry for The Monthly Film Festival
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26.12.2016
 

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