Friday, March 28, 2014

Social Harvesting

Research has shown that people who follow the development of a film project are most likely people who will see the film, ergo an indie film mantra, "build your audience." Using accounts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+, Vimeo, Vine, et. al. are great free ways to build that audience.

Case in point.

A few days ago I went to see THE GRAND BUDPEST HOTEL at my local theater. I don't often pay to see films because I belong to a film society where we see soooooooo many .... but, occasionally, there's a film that gets my interest that is not made available to our film society. I sat in this 'civilian' theater and the pre-movie barrage began, but there was no image - only sound. After ten minutes I alerted staff. Another ten minutes passed and still no image. I pulled out my smartphone, launched Twitter and searched for the theater company name, found them and tweeted the alert. Ten more minutes and the image came on (fortunately before the main feature). Later in the day I received a follow-up tweet from the theater company apologizing and thanking me for the alert. The (and here's the point) they began following me on Twitter. I tweeted about our film. Whoever handles their Twitter account visited our web site, watched our teaser, then Tweeted back that they liked it. So now we have a real follower!
And that's an important point. Don't buy followers as some do, earn them, communicate with them, and really build your audience.
Another case in point.
We decided to add a Vine campaign to our pre-marketing strategy. The items we want to make would require having a way to stabilize a cellphone while shooting. On eBay I purchased  a tripod mount. I received it quickly but it has a design flaw whereas the mount partially blocks the phone's camera. The seller was willing to accept a return, but I did a little work and fixed the problem by using rubber bands instead of the provided clamps, allowing me to shift the camera above the obstruction. I then reached out to the manufacturer alerting them of the issue. Thirty minutes later I got an email from the company offering to exchange the mount for a different one (even though I did not purchase the unit from them). Apparently the one I bought on eBay was for a different use. I explained our plan was, then the company owner visited our web site, watched our teaser video, and followed us on Twitter. Again, it's a real connection. 
By the way, if you're looking for a mount for cell phones, tablets, GPS units or small cameras, check out Arkon. Their catalog is impressive, the products are well priced, and the commitment to customer service is well proven.
And a third case in point.
Richard Lustig is a multi-time lottery winner. At one point we reached out to his blog simply to introduce MegaBall$, our comedy about geeks, the lotto and the Mob. Richard was intrigued and even inquired about perhaps making a cameo on the film. We connected on Twitter and Richard also signed up to our MailChimp account for email progress reports. Yesterday Richard emailed stating he hadn't heard from us in a while, so we sent him an update.
Each one of these followers is not only likely to become a paying audience, but also likely to help spread the word to their friends and followers.
While you're doing all your creative stuff, and legal stuff, and financial stuff, don't forget to build your audience.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tarry On ...

As we come out of the long and cold winter, recovering from health issues and tragic fires, we turn our attention back to MEGABALL$.

It has always been part of our strategy to build our audience before we make the film. We have been building a following on our web site, on Facebook, Twitter, YouTubeLinkedIn, Google+  and Pinterest, and by posting piece about the film in a few online film sites - which has led to the project getting a listing on IMDBPro. We are active on several film industry sites such as Slated, Stage32, Funny or Die and The Black List. We have set up a MailChimp list where people may sign-up for email updates. We also sell logo merchandise on our web site and fans who have purchased T-shirts, cups, posters, etc., have posted photos of them with their items. (Proceeds from those sales help to underwrite the growing development costs.) We frequently put time in on social media to help build that following, which reaches all over the world.  We'll continue that strategy while we film by posting stills from the set and even behind-the-scene videos.

Another element that will help the marketing and audience building is our planned mobile APP, which will be functional and promotional in nature, and be released early into production. Not only will it have useful lotto elements, such as a number picker that plays lines from the script, users would be able to get production notes, buy merchandise, and even buy downloads of the completed film.
We are now examining the possibility of combining our financing effort with one or two other projects by other producers. In doing so the financiers could improve their chances of profit margins because the money would not be in one project but spread over several of different genres.

Soon we'll begin shooting some Vine videos - comic short items about the lotto.

We sued our winter down-time by working on all of our materials based on feedback from Molly Mayeaux. Molly is a veteran producer with over 30 films to her credit, and spent a week reviewing all our work, making recommendations on changes to the screenplay, the business plan, and more. Her insight and objectivity was very helpful, and her input much appreciated. Molly thought the title sounded a like a low-ball or raunchy comedy and is not fitting to our high-concept smart comedy. However, for the moment, we're sticking to our title which evolved by combining the two most popular lotto games - MegaMillions and Powerball. The reaction we get from everybody when they hear the title is that it's about the lotto and it's a comedy.

Visit our web site for more information on the project!