The greatest challenge for an independent filmmaker has historically been finding distribution. But now that distribution is as easy as uploading a video to YouTube, the new challenge is finding an audience amidst so much competition. In partnership with ScreenCraft and Hello World and NoFilmSchool.com, last night Writers Guild of America, East addressed these issues and more in "Digital Discourse: the Future of Media Distribution & Content Creation," a panel which covered changes in content distribution and ways that new content-creation platforms are shaping the entertainment industry.
Panelists included Erica Anderson, CMO, Seed&Spark, Adam Neuhaus, Creative Producer, @radical.media, Erick Opeka, SVP, Digital Distribution, Cinedigm, Marc Schiller, founder of BOND 360 and Amy Singer, Strategic Partner Manager of YouTube. The panel was moderated by NoFilmSchool.com founder Ryan Koo, who is also a filmmaker.
Here are 7 Tips for Filmmakers:
1. Build community.
"It used to be that content was king, but now, really, community is king....That 100,000 e-mail list will be gold later on." -- Adam Neuhaus
"The most effective strategy is when you start a project, share immediately and create a community around you...You shouldn't market your film early, but you should create a community around your work early." -- Marc Schiller
"As a creator who is building a brand, you need to try hard to engage your user base. Bring them into the fold." -- Amy Singer
"Organize your contacts! Take the time to put all those separate entities in groups to target." -- Ryan Koo
'Find out from an early stage who are the people that will be your
audience & what matters to them - by asking them directly." -- Erica Anderson
2. Express yourself.
"The more you feel the freedom of expressing yourself, the more (social media) doesn't feel like a job." -- Marc Schiller
3. Create exclusive content.
"It's critical to build a list of assets that you can use in the build-up to market, but leave some of your aces in the hole...Let your distribution partner give something exclusive to each outlet." -- Erick Opeka
"If you find the voice of the film, it's unlimited the amount of ephemera you can create." -- Marc Schiller
4. Don't be afraid to ask for help and/or crowdfund.
"We don't view crowdfunding as a a necessary evil, but really as a tool to engage your audience.... and build community...Our crowdfunding site is listed like a wedding registry so you can ask for what you need." -- Erica Anderson
"Use your network. Unless you use your network it doesn't mean anything." -- Adam Neuhaus
"About 80-90% of the films I work on have had crowdfunding campaigns. That will only grow." -- Marc Schiller
"Crowdfunding s a sign of engagement that we look at when considering films in an extremely competitive distribution environment." -- Erick Opeka
5. Use Analytics to understand your audience.
"Start to understand the demographics around your video....YouTube has an audience retention tool so you can see when the audience leaves." -- Amy Singer
"I bookmark every service that's selling content online. You'll start to see patterns of different kinds of content that rise to the top." -- Erick Opeka
6. Sometimes, it's okay to give it away for free.
"I released a short film ("Amateur") about one of my secondary characters in my film ("Manchild") in order to build the brand." -- Ryan Koo
7. Market Yourself.
"Partner with an organization related to the topic (of your film) and start there." -- Ryan Koo
"There's a real power of DIY and grassroots campaigns. You have much more power than you think." -- Marc Schiller