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Q: Marketing an Independent film to the public. ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Marketing an Independent film to the public.
Category: Business and Money > Advertising and Marketing
Asked by: panda1-ga
List Price: $200.00
Posted: 22 Jun 2006 20:10 PDT
Expires: 22 Jul 2006 20:10 PDT
Question ID: 740371
I am Interested In Marketing an Independent film to the public.

I am not asking how to make a film. I am also not asking how to raise
funds or find investors. I am financially independent and have no
desire to seek outside investors.

I will be funding the marketing of my film myself once it is complete.

 I have seen films in blockbuster that have never made it to the big
screen. Films like Gummo and Kids. Some are "documentary" type films
that play out like a movie.

They are very inexpensive films to make. I Plan on doing films similar to this.

My question is simply this:

Once I make my film, what are the proper steps to go through to
receive the highest profit margin? I.E. Should I get it in
blockbuster? If so how? Maybe I should contact HBO?

Where I go from here, and what are some of the challenges I amy come across? 

Feel free to speak to me as if I were a 3 year old (I am clueless).
Also Please share any details or resources you may acquire.

Thank you.
Subject: Re: Marketing an Independent film to the public.
Answered By: easterangel-ga on 23 Jun 2006 06:35 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hi! Thanks for the question.

Your query would be better answered by pulling together different
resources that discuss tips on how to market independent films or
movies. They may have some varieties in tactics but you can adopt them
depending upon the situation which will be more appropriate to you.

The articles mentioned are easy to understand and the explanations are
quite concise.

?10 Tips to Market and Promote your Independent Film? 

?10 Tips to Find a Distributor for Your Independent Film? 

?DATA SNAPSHOT Independent Film? (This is an interesting survey of
independent fil fans. For example it provides, how they get
information, why they go see indie films, etc.) 

?Independent Film Distribution? (Registration Required) 

?DISTRIBUTION TIPS for Independent Film, Video and more?,content=46

?EMERGING PICTURES: The Future of Independent Film is Now?,content=26 

Search terms used:
marketing distribution tips independent film
I hope this would help you in your research. Before rating this
answer, please ask for a clarification if you have a question or if
you would need further information.
Google Answers Researcher

Request for Answer Clarification by panda1-ga on 23 Jun 2006 23:21 PDT
Hi Easterangel.

You offered very good resources and I appreciate it.

However, I would like it if you would research these resources and
answer the questions I asked based on your research.


"Once I make my film, what are the proper steps to go through to
receive the highest profit margin?"

Perhaps here you could put a few highlights from the information you
found along with a few examples.

"Should I get it in
blockbuster? If so how? Maybe I should contact HBO?"

Here I asked "How I would go about getting in blockbuster."

Please specify.

"Where I go from here, and what are some of the challenges I amy come across?"

Please list steps and examples.

Once again, your recourses were very informative. However, When I paid
200.00 I wasn't given the impression I was paying for resources. I was
paying for "answers." Hence the name of this site.

Thank you.

Clarification of Answer by easterangel-ga on 24 Jun 2006 00:03 PDT
Ok I understand your concerns and I will try to piece the materials I
mentioned, but please read them since the writers of the articles have
had experience with indie films, there insights will be more detailed
and in-depth.

1. Once your movie is done how can you make the big bucks?

First of all if your movie is to sell it should first be kown to the
audience that it is out there! This is why the big film companies
provide a barrage of ads and promotions on TV, Radio and on the
internet for a single movie!

Since it wouldn't be wise to match these big spenders even if you have
the money you would have to do more creative things to make your movie
known to the public. Almost all of the articles mentioned above
mention targeting your audience and joining film festivals is a must
for independent film makers.

a. Targeting your audience is a must since no movie can be everything
to everybody especially independent films whose audience are more
discerning types. This is probably the activity you should be careful
with since all other ones will hinge on this from the look of your
poster and to what festivals you should join.

b. Joining festivals is a good idea because it makes your movie known
to a vast audience of people immediately. Of course there will be
marketing materials involve so you should be prepare for this expense

c. Use the Internet Creatively. A very inexpensive way to make your
movie known and yet the most flexible. If your movie is about mystery,
you might have "who done it?" mini story gimmick in there as well.

d. The first article above also says to stage a premiere of your movie
on certain places like bars or other locations. Then sell DVDs there.
All this is of course just to promote your movie and not yet on the
way to make the big bucks.,content=66

Other suggestions include:
e. make publicity stunts

f. solicit reveiws - a very good idea since your film is discussed in
newspapers or magazines. Of course you could get lots of help if the
review is a positive one.


Now if the reviews, festivals and premiers still don't get the
attention of production companies or big media retailer Blockbustrer
or cable giant cable company, HBO, then maybe it is time to get down
and dirty and contact distributors.

Getting companies to distribute your film seems more like getting a
book publisher. You submit the film and if they like it you'll get
attention. The crucial thing for me based on the lists presented by
the second article above is your presentation package. How you present
the film will be crucial in getting their attention since most
probably they have hundreds of proposals in their hands. You have got
to be patient with this like waiting for 2 or more weeks for a call
before you follow-up.


This additional article provides another option in case Blockbuster
hasn't picked up your DVD yet after all the festivals, the premieres
and the other gimmicks.

a. Custom Flix - "They are an 'on demand' DVD distribution service --
which means that you send them the master of your film, and as people
purchase it off their website, they burn that copy 'on demand',
package it up, and ship it to the buyer."

Here you don't have to worry about overhead costs.

b. Platform Theatrical Release -  "A platform theatrical release is
when you take your film and release it in one or two theaters in one
or two cities, and then slowly and systematically release it in
additional cities (in industry speak: platforming)."

This is a slow approach and would need a lot of marketing for you. I
think the private screenings mentioned above will be better for a
tight budget.

I hope this would be of help in clarifying my answer.

panda1-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
Good answers and resources.

Subject: Re: Marketing an Independent film to the public.
From: frde-ga on 24 Jun 2006 05:39 PDT
Back in about 1983, my brother and a dubious Russian friend of his,
came up with the idea of making videos of live gigs of unknown bands -
for free
- the idea was to sell them through the music press by mail order
(at that time you paid a fortune for a promo video/film - and video
kit was just starting)

I was drafted in to work out the financials, they surprized me, and
seriously interested the putative 'backers' to whom I gave the numbers
part of the presentation.

It did not come off, possibly because we gave too much away, but
probably because we looked a seriously dodgy trio.

Your question resonates that old 'what if'

- worrying about Blockbusters is a waste of time, chances are that
they make people pay for listing
- but ultimately they are controlled by 'suction' - market demand

You want to make inexpensive movies, fair enough, as a word of caution
keep a couple of lifeboats (don't mortgage the farm).

As you probably know, most actors are 'resting', you can get them for
day work (if you sell the story right), and bits of your clunkers
could be worth a mint in a few years time.

In the scenario I envisaged, footage of something like the Beatles in
The Cavern would be worth a fortune - the long term bet.

In your case, rounding up the unemployed (but potentially good)
talent, and making low budget movies is a good idea
- when one of your alumni really makes it through the standard
machine, you own early footage - and if you are sensible they own a

If you have some interesting material, you will find rather a lot of
people wanting to market it for you.
Subject: Re: Marketing an Independent film to the public.
From: rrpr-ga on 13 Nov 2006 10:47 PST
I am a publicist who has been involved in marketing international and
American independent films for 25 years.

I have seen many "how-to" articles like the ones above, but what is
not mentioned is that it hardly ever works, unless you have a
professional helping you.  There are many examples of
self-distribution, but success only comes when 1)the film is really
good; 2) the filmmakers have a tremendous instinct for marketing
themselves; and 3) they are willing to spend a year or two selling
their film, rather than making another one.  So the question is: do
you know you have the first two and are you willing to make the time
commitment?  It worked out great for the filmmakers of "Brother's
Keeper."  They got their film seen, they made a lot of money, and they
kick-started their career.  In most cases it doesn't work at all, and
so you've spent all that time with very little to show for it. 
Perhaps you could have made another movie and that would have helped
you more.

People talk all the time about "new forms of distribution," from the
internet, etc.  But there is one thing that is undeniable: people need
to want to see your movie. There are a lot of films on Netflix, not to
mention new movies every week in theatrres. Why your movie? Tough
odds, right?  Well don't give up hope. Good films almost always get
seen, and if not, the good filmmakers keep working and they eventually
make it.

The first thing is to approach a producer's representative like John
Sloss. I don't have a list, but you need to find out who they are. It
is hard to get them to take you on, but if they do, they will guide
you through the process. They will either take you to festivals (most
likely) or in some cases try to sell your film directly to a
distributor. There are advantages to both approaches.

If you can't get a rep, submit to a major festival. Obviously, the
most important is Sundance, but there are others that make a
difference. Toronto definitely and all the festivals near NY and LA,
like Woodstock, the Hamptons, Tribeca, etc. (NY is more important as
almost all the companies who distribute independent film are here.) 
South by Southwest is building each year. Sometimes people who don't
get into these go on the smaller film circuit.  But it takes a lot of
money to enter all these festivals and go to them if you get in.

But this is where the press, the distributors, the producer's reps,
the publicists, and the agents will see you

If you can't get into any festivals, you can keep trying.  But my
advice is to suck it up and make another one. That's what many leading
 filmmakers did.  Learn what you can and move on.

FYI, I have recently begun offering a service to help independent
filmmakers market themselves.  I'm only taking on a few clients, but
if you're interested you can find me at

There is also a list of film publicists that go to festivals on my
site that you might find helpful:

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