Guerilla Marketing For Independent Filmmakers – Getting your film seen through Indie Distribution Routes

by | June 30, 2009 | Uncategorized

This is a great article from Suite 101.com that posted over the weekend.

Guerilla Marketing for Independent Filmmakers
Using Independent Distribution Routes to Get Your Indie Film Seen
by Jeff Lanctot
Jun 25, 2009

Traditional distribution isn’t the only way to get your independent movie seen. The indie film marketing world is growing every day, and your indie film can take part!

If reading Three Methods for Getting Your Movie Distributed made you want to put your camera down and go find a nice job as an accountant, don’t go just yet! The traditional routes to film distribution can be daunting even for ‘insiders,’ but as an ‘outsider’ to the Hollywood machine, you have many additional options available to get eyeballs on your independent movie, make a little money, and maybe even get your foot in the door of Hollywood for your next project.

Skip the Middleman

Trying to sell your film to a distributor can be a painful minefield of ways you can lose your shirt, so why not skip the distributors do it yourself? As recently as 10 years ago it was nearly impossible to get an independent film around the Hollywood machine directly to the public, but the speeds on the internet are increasing every day, and instant access to the world is more cheaply available via new technologies coming on line all the time. Today’s indie filmmakers are harnessing this technology and power in ways that are, frankly, scaring the pants off of the old-guard Hollywood gatekeepers.

While web sites such as www.indiefilms.com may not make you your millions, sites like these will get your product and your name out there to the right industry people. Once you get your foot in the door hawking your wares to distributors will be somewhat easier. Even sites like MySpace and Facebook have large indie film communities that can be accessed by the general public.

Taking your product straight to television can be a surprisingly lucrative option as well. Like the saying goes, “we’ve got 99 channels, but nothing’s on.” Television has a voracious appetite for new content and with so many channels to choose from there is a constant vacuum for new and exciting programming content. While the inner workings of getting your indie film on television are beyond the scope of this article, books such as Independent Film Distribution: How to Make a Successful End Run Around the Big Guys can provide valuable insight on how to use alternative film distribution methods to get your independent movie seen, and put money in your pocket.

Keep on Pluggin’

These days DVD’s are relatively inexpensive to burn. On the low-cost end of the spectrum, you can simply burn a few dozen copies of your film, use one of the many free image editing software packages to create some decent packaging for you and attend some film festivals or conventions in order to distribute your product. For just a few hundred dollars you can even get a professionally packaged product through do-it-yourself services such as www.discmakers.com, and can be making a profit without having to sell millions of copies of your movie. You could stand on the street corner if you desired but the chances of reaching your target audience is greatly improved at organized events.

The bottom-line is that you can help your independent film to success if you’re willing to be your own publicist. Build a simple website where people can purchase your movie and then write up summaries and production notes on your film and place them in various industry / genre magazines and publications. It is imperative that you attempt to be realistic in these reviews or you will wind up doing yourself more harm than good..

While the process of independent film distribution can be tedious at times, the advantage is that you get to be in control of every facet of your film. You no longer have to be at the mercy of distribution execs that may or may not see your point of view, or want changes in your film to “make it more marketable.” Because you don’t have to recoup millions of marketing dollars just to break-even, you will probably find that with a little hard work and some self-promotional moxie you are able to make a profit on your movie much more quickly than you ever could using a major distributor or a film marketing company.