How to Use PR to Launch Your Independent Film
The film world has been going through seismic changes. It hasn’t been rocked quite a hard as the music world, but still, this is not your dad’s film world and it’s changing by the minute. So start by shifting your mindset. The days of making a film, finding a distributor and opening theatrically may still be alive, but on life support. Going from conception to production, to theatrical distribution was never an easy road to begin with. Only a handful made it, but now it’s even tougher. Traditional distribution channels are shrinking and financing whether it be for development, production, or distribution is getting harder and harder to come by. Particularly when it comes to small independent films, the heyday of companies such as Miramax, Gramercy, New Line and Lions Gate is now behind us.
But let’s say you’ve finished your film. You’ve maxed your credit cards, or mortgaged your home, and sold your cat, but you managed to get it done. So now what? You’ve submitted to Sundance? You’ll give a few more festivals a shot and then you’ll… wait? Well that’s one approach. But it might be a good idea to start considering a few other avenues.
When it comes to the entertainment world, whether it be film, music or publishing, perception always helps shape reality. No one knows this better than the studios. Particularly when it comes to blockbuster sequels, which often tend to be dreadful, the PR, marketing and online blitz is generally enough to send millions to stand in line at theatres and to buy DVDs. The studios are creating urgency through marketing that all but forces the public to consume. So, why not take a page from their playbook? You can’t compete with them budget-wise, but you can jump into the game with creativity, savvy and some marketing know-how.
Launch your own PR campaign for your film. You don’t need to have a theatre opening date or even a distribution deal in place. You can launch your media campaign in order to land a distribution deal. By creating a media buzz you separate yourself from the rest of the crowd. PR can help build an audience, attract investors, interest distributors and position you and your film to succeed.
So, how can you launch a PR campaign for a film with no distribution? Be creative. Maybe a pitch on how you raised the money to make the film, or a story on how the subject matter relates to something that’s currently in the news, or how it illustrates a trend. Perhaps your journey from your previous life to filmmaker would make for an interesting local feature. Is there something else you’re working on, or a cause your involved in that could make for a good story? If so, pitch that and then bring your new film into the interview. There are a number of possible story ideas. Think outside of the box. Once you have some PR, now you have the Internet which you can use to amplify and magnify your media coverage. I’ll be covering online marketing approaches and using you PR on the Internet in an upcoming article.
Copyright © Anthony Mora 2010