Last night marked our first New York City panel, Digital Discourse: The Future of Distribution and Content Creation. In association with WGA East, Hello World and NoFilmSchool.com, we had a great conversation about how the new frontiers of digital media are affecting the business and creative possibilities for storytelling.
The panelists encouraged filmmakers to think differently about how they market and release their work, especially in the ever-changing digital landscape. As moderator Ryan Koo said, a large challenge as a filmmaker today is finding and holding on to an audience. To do that, Adam Neuhaus, Creative Producer for @radical.media, said to bid adieu to the old saying "content is king." Now, think "community is king."
To engage community, Erica Anderson, Chief Marketing Officer for Seed&Spark, said filmmakers should always be "thinking of your career as a whole, not just in individual projects," much like the music industry builds hype for the band itself, not just the individual album.
To do that, Erick Opeka, Senior Vice President of Digital Distribution for Cinedigm, said filmmakers should create an entire world around the movie and think how to work within the digital distribution ecosystem. For example, panel moderator Ryan Koo, founder of NoFilmSchool.com, released a 10-minute film online for free. This short piece about one of the characters in his larger film created hype for his directorial debut.
Another tip for creating a system around the movie is to keep your community engaged throughout the entire production process. For example, Anderson said to post short behind-the-scenes videos online. "The moviemaking industry has a lot of magic still. Ordinary parts of the job like location scouting may seem mundane to us, but viewers think that's pretty cool."
The panelists agreed that there is power in DIY marketing and, as Neuhaus said, rolling up your sleeves and sending emails. Find the people you want and send them personalized messages. Also, the group stressed the importance of tinkering around with the many online tools, like hootsuite, which allows you to streamline work and schedule social media posts. Amy Singer, Content Partnerships for Youtube, suggested downloading a how-to guide from youtube.com/playbook.
In In summary, as Marc Schiller, founder & CEO of BOND 360 said, the most effective strategy for self-marketing is "sharing content immediately and building a base ... There's a real power of DIY and grassroots campaigns. You have much more power than you think."
With the vast array of online tools available, the possibilities are endless for DIY-marketing and distribution. To embrace the challenge of finding an audience, read more advice from the panelists in the IndieWire article, "7 Tips for Filmmakers On How to Get Their Project Out into the World from WGAE's 'Digital Discourse' Panel'