Friday, January 8, 2010

How to exxxttteeeeeeend our film's life?

Jon Reiss recently addressed an interesting topic on his blog. Jon's post was a response to an article by Brian Newman which you can see here. Basically, they are talking about rethinking the "life" of a film. Generally films put a ton of time, money, and energy into pre-release PR. The goal is to build as much buzz as possible so as to maximize the exposure of their release. After the release, that's it. The movie is out there and people buy it, watch it, download it, whatever. While Jon feels that pre-release PR is very important because this is what puts a film on the media map, he and Brian also suggest that filmmakers consider putting more into the post-release life of their films.

This rings true with us. A lot of people have given us the old line "You only get one release, that is your biggest chance for sales, don't take it lightly". The "release" is just a date. It is (in the case of Self Helpless, and lots of other micro-budget films) nothing more than the first day you can buy or download our movie. This idea of the release date as some sacred and pivotal moment seems to be a hold over from the old distributor-based distribution days. So what are some concrete actions that filmmakers can take to continue to grow their audience after they release their film?

The main idea that we have for post-release PR for Self Helpless is a demand based tour. A lot of filmmakers seem to be touring their movie in order to build an audience before their release. This didn't appeal to us. With no press, or stars, or giant youtube following, we found that it was incredibly difficult to manufacture an audience once we got away from our home zone. We still think that a screening tour would be a great way to build audiences and get a shit-ton of tail. We are going to use "demand it" to set up a post-release tour. If we can build an audience with our torrent release, then hopefully those folks will want to see Self Helpless in a theater and meet the assholes who made it.

What are some other ways that filmmakers can continue to build their audience after releasing their film? Are there things that we can do that don't cost a ton of money? Everyone would like to release an app and an online game and a graphic novel, but that just aint in the cards for us. We would love anyone's suggestions.

If you are interested in connecting with some folks who are pondering answers to similar indy distribution question, try searching #infdist on twitter.


Sheri C said...

so which one of you use Extenze?

I think your idea for touring the film is a good one, especially for young and scrappy guys like yourselves. It isn't for everyone. I know I wouldn't like it.

Why no advance press and no big YouTube following? You can do that. There is some kind of pub for every story and your audience should be finding you on YouTube, or you should be connecting them with your presence on YouTube.

Mostly this is a case of finding your talkers and giving them stuff to talk about. Have you thought about internet radio?

Self Helpless said...

Hey Sheri, thanks for hitting us up. You rule.

With the youtube thing, I just meant that if you are Zach Galifianakis or Mystery Team then you can just hit the road because people already know about you from your youtube videos. For us to tour, we will have to first build an audience. We are hoping to accomplish this with the bittorrent release.

Internet radio is definitely on our radar. I am sending screeners to The Film Talk and Film Snobbery. Those crews have both been really supportive of our movement. Hopefully they will dig Self Helpless and we can get on the air!