[First written May 28th]
My brain works in a very round the houses kind of way. But then, if you’ve read my other entries, you already know that. So before I even actually make the film, my brain is thinking of the Film Poster, the blog site, the potential marketing opportunities. Hence the mad idea of writing blog entries and posting them later, when I’ve got time to rework them – rather than just bash stuff out at the time. I tend to work on many things at once, and move from one task to another. It’s not ideal, but it’s the way that I have to work each day and it fits with the way my brain is programmed.
Some could consider that pre-marketing is a very definite waste of filmmaking energy – and they’d be right. However, what is the good of making a film if no one sees it? How are you going to make a film festival pick it up and select it to play at their event, if they can’t guarantee people will part with their hard earned money to come and see it? How are you even going to raise the money to make said film, if you can’t convince people that the film is a ‘goer’? – that it is really going to happen. Without a team behind you it is a lot of work for any individual to take on. However, I think it is a very vital part of the filmmakers’ responsibilities. And it is even more crucial when you’re sure that the short has potential as a feature and you want to promote the former to enable you to make the latter. Am I right?
After all, even in the big leagues it is written into many contracts that the talent must go out and help promote the film. But in the world of no-budget filmmaking you should really make sure that there is an audience out there for your product before you make it. Do your research, try word of mouth. Try at least to document your achievements and even your failings. Let them motivate you to try harder next time. You never know, even on a blog like this, people may be happy to lurk in the shadows and silently follow your story. They may even be rooting for you to succeed. It’s not just about the supportive comments – but they do help. ;0)
I have seen many films in my time, that are never likely to grace the special features of a DVD, in my time as a reviewer. I’ve lost the contact details of many a filmmaker because they have virtually no online presence and are too humble to promote themselves, to try and stand out from the mass of other wannabes.
Granted, for me, their is a risk with promoting a film that you haven’t even made yet. After all, I learned that the hard way, when after a year of producing the ROSEBLOOD PODCAST, the film hit the skids, just when it was about to actually happen! That was a shame, especially as it was a cracking idea, had so much potential – all we needed was a location. But sadly that was not to be and the production tanked. But it would have been a bigger shame to pour money into a project that was only ever going to grace a festival screen at best, and not have any word of mouth to help launch the feature.
Anyway, the point of this post is that I choose to promote my work. If I could pre-sell it I would, in order to fund the venture and keep making films. I’m no way even near that stage yet. But I would if I could. For me, most of these promotional activities start with having a visual brand. A logo, a poster or graphic that people can remember. Like the classic teaser posters that are used to sell films at film markets all over the world, that exist only in name form, with a possible cast list of marketable stars.
Now I’m no graphic artist. But I do have friends who are. And in order to help promote this film idea, I knew I needed a blog, and possibly a twitter site, and in order to stamp some kind of identify on them I needed a graphic, perhaps even a rough film poster of my own. So what better than an excuse to chew the fat, bribe a good friend with food and enlist their services to come up with ideas for the poster.
So what I did was send my good friend Paco the film script. Wait until he’d read it and was already psyched about working on the film. Them took him out for lunch and then bombard him with images of classic film posters. I talked about what kind of images were effective within the film. Spoke about what it was about those classic posters for the inspirational exploitation film posters, like THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, STRAW DOGS, as well as normal posters like THE EXORCIST and ALIEN. To give him a few good examples to use, to reference styles of fonts and layouts etc to create an iconic image for me. And then I let the ideas percolate in that mad Spanish brain of his, while I planned my holiday.
Then, once he’d agreed to think about it, I allowed myself a week of relaxation to get over my early summer cold and the demands of my day job. A week of writing on my netbook, in Ibiza, working on the script / breakdown while I was away. In between cocktails, I planned the various props, wardrobe items, locations and sound effects I would need to make this movie… After all if I was going to make this movie, I had to break down the script to work out what I needed. Right?