HOW TO PROMOTE YOUR SHORT FILM Image

How many moviemakers out there have started a video or movie project and not finished it? Okay, now how many of you out there have actually finished your movie? Of you, what are you doing with it now? Have you submitted to film festivals? Then what? What happened to your movie? It’s sitting on a shelf collecting dust, or languishing without any views on a website, isn’t it?

Okay, what are you going to do about it?

Learn to promote your movies. Getting your movies seen is good, great, wonderful. It increases the likelihood that people will know about your movies and your moviemaking skills. Maybe you’ll get hired to work on someone else’s film…maybe you can leverage your short into a full length feature. Maybe you can get a Hollywood deal. You’ll never know unless you promote your film and get it seen.

This article is for the people who have a movie completed and need to have people see it.

First off, there are a ton of festivals out in the world that cost $0.00 to submit to. There are some that charge $5-10, and then there are the regular ones that charge $25-75. Articles upon articles and books upon books have been written on that (“The Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide” by Film Threat’s CHRIS GORE being #1).

There’s the Internet. Short film sites like UNDERGROUNDFILM.COM, IFILM.COM, ATOMFILMS.COM, BROWNFISH.COM, and many more. You can also create and maintain your own website.

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For me, the Internet is an opportunity. It may not be the most optimal way to experience a movie, but it works. Sitting in a dark room with a bunch of strangers – now THAT’S WHY you make it. But that BIG THEATER experience doesn’t happen that often, so take what you can get. I think having something on your site content wise is good. I’ve seen some filmmakers who promote their sites, but they don’t even have a trailer for their short online. All that’s there is a lame bio, “behind the scenes” stills of people I don’t know, and frames and pictures from a movie I can’t see. So I’m left wondering. Why the hell would anyone care? Why are you trying to get people to your site?

If you actually HAVE content, IE a finished movie, make sure it, or a trailer, is on your site. You can have a low res version for free access and a high res version for paid access.

You can get people to visit your site by promotion and PR. You can use BLOGS, (a newer form of message board), traditional message boards, and Internet movie news sites. You can submit a formal press release in the proper format via fax and/or email.

Ever since AIN’T IT COOL NEWS became legitimized by Hollywood insiders, several good Indie Film sites have made their way onto the scene. There’s FILM THREAT, INDIECLUB.COM, INDIETALK.COM, SHORTFILMINSIDER.COM, FILMWATCHER.COM, MICROCINEMASCENE, REWIND VIDEO MAGAZINE, and the INTERNET VIDEO MAGAZINE.

Let them know via email your movie exists. They may mention it, your url, and the world will start showing up at your door.

There’s also the printed media. Independent Filmmaker, Moviemaker, Computer Arts (uk), DV Magazine, Film & Video, Millimeter, Markee, and several more printed magazines that take press releases for indie filmmakers to try to get their work in print.

The value of Print media is that it is very tangible and you can use it later on to show that someone other than your friends and family thought your movie was print-worthy. That’s worth more than gold when going to investors. It also demonstrates that you have a level of hype and promotional skills, and that you are serious.

At this time, there is a current trend of TV and cable shows that feature short films. In Canada they have MOVIOLA, the short film channel. Think MTV for short films. There is a cable short film show in virtually every market. Few if any pay for the movies, but you can get your project seen on TV. If you send your movie to these shows in other markets, you can get your movie seen by people in other states and cities, and all it costs is postage.

As for promoting in a more unique fashion, you first have to have a product to see. The singular best promotion I saw in the last 5 years came from 7MPICTURES.COM . They had Kevin Carr, a director (also a FILM THREAT REVIEWER), go to the auditions of “Are You Hot?”, the reality series.

If you don’t know Kevin, he described it best in the promo and the pilot for “Are You Hot.” He said, “Most of these guys have a six pack, I’ve got the whole keg…” From that, he was singled out because he was large & it was funny. Kevin then got interviewed on 2-3 morning drive time radio shows here locally plugging their shorts and site, as well as appearing on national TV in the pilot on ABC and also in promo spots on “Access Hollywood.”

I have to admit this was TOTAL FREAKIN’ GENIUS. The best indie film promotion ever done as far as I’m concerned. Kudos to 7Mpictures. I can say honestly that I was envious of that idea.

Spike Lee’s book “Spike’s Gotta Have It” about the making of his first feature has the words “BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY” written repeatedly throughout his journal. I live by that when finishing a movie and promoting it.

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Dust off that old short and do something with it. Put it online, send it to more festivals, put it on TV, and let people know it’s there. By any means necessary.

I stand by my mantra – “If you want to be discovered, you have to be somewhere people can find you.” So get your movies seen. A lot.

Visit Peter at the Sonnyboo Productions website.

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