In the last seven years, ÉCU – The European Independent Film Festival has reached thousands of audience members, filmmakers, and producers via multiple social media platforms. With today’s population spending more and more time online, it is crucial to get on as many computer screens as possible. In searching for the world’s most talented and passionate independent filmmakers to spotlight each year at our 3-day festival in Paris (March 29-31, 2013), we thought we would share with you some of the platforms that we have found most helpful not only to us as an international film festival, but to independent filmmakers working on a low budget. Social media can be one of the most effective ways to market your film and your skills, and comes at no cost – a key factor in the indie world.
Why: With over 800 million users, Facebook is the first social media that comes to mind in terms of efficiency and reach.
How: The first step? Make a fan page for your film – this will help keep all discussions and buzz in one central place. Include on this page your trailer, description, where the film is being screened, relative links, and any other information you can think of. You can publicize your film by exploiting the Facebook Minifeed – post teasers,
interviews with cast and crew, and contests. These posts will show up on the minifeed of all of your fans and grab their attention. Additionally, by tagging cast members and production assistants in photos or posts, you automatically put the post on their profile, increasing the reach of the post ten-fold to their range of friends as well. Facebook can be linked to many other social
media platforms, including Twitter and Tumblr – by updating one, often you can update all three – easy and efficient, a huge timesaver!
Why: Tumblr provides a more creative alternative, while still getting you the looks and attention you want via keyword tags. People on Tumblr are just as interested in what other people are coming up with as what they are posting themselves – it works as a two-way street, and it’s community-like function is what makes it such a valuable space. By creating a blog, you have access to and the attention of the entire blogging community.
How: Post your trailer, description, and stories – the key is to make your page a multimedia space. It must be visually interesting, and easy to read. If you already have a website, make it a page for photos and videos exclusively. Blogs are often more effective if you give them a personal flourish and a creative touch, and every filmmaker has a creative side, so post your personal favourite video of the moment, reviews of your film, on-set photos, or tracks you used in your film. Unlike twitter and certain blog sites, there is no word limit on Tumblr, so feel free to post production diaries, tip lists, micro-shorts, interesting comments, or dicussion pieces – they key, at the end of the day, is to tag. Tag every keyword you can think of – no word is too general, too boring, or too specific. The more tags, the more traffic.
Why: If used correctly, twitter can be useful in simply getting your name out there. The more people you follow and tag, the more traffic your twitter will get. Even if they do not follow you, twitter surfing can be enough to get your name out.
How: Twitter posts can only be 140 characters or less, so posts must be short and to the point. Be sure to use a punch line – the more poignant and direct, the better. If you want to include a link to a picture or website, that could suck up your character count. Solution: www.bitly.com, this website will shorten your link to a more manageable size. They key to using Twitter is the hashtag and the @ symbol – the more parts of your post you replace with hashtagged phrases, or people you tag using the @, the more likely it is that people will see your post.
Example: Justin Reardon’s Twitter Page
Why: People log on to these sites specifically to view video content – a filmmakers dream! Mo
re importantly, you do not need an account to view the videos, so hundreds of millions of people surf these sites daily. Members and non-members alike can share your video with anyone they like with a simple copy and paste of the link.
How: Make an account (you must have an account to post videos) and post teasers. Once you have posted the video, share the link on your various social media platforms as well as the Facebook pages of popular festivals, production companies, and filmmakers.
Example: Adam Bizanski Youtube Channel
Why: Having a website allows you to keep all of your work in one central place, and gives you one central place to connect all of your social media buzz back to. Once people are talking about you, you must give them something to look at – a website provides you with that professional space.
How: There are many free website hosts, which are essentially servers or domains that allow you to use a template for free in order to put up your information or create a website on the World Wide Web. Three that are easy to use are WordPress, Blogger.com, and Doteasy. WordPress is most widely used, and doteasy has become less popular. However, it is important to point out that once you use their domain to create your own website, your site belongs to them. If your website was called ABC, it would be ABC.wordpress.com – in order to get rid of the wordpress portion of the domain name, you would have to buy it, which you can do through the domain that you have chosen. However, in terms of getting your information out there on the internet, there is no need to buy your domain name. If you want to tweak your website to look a specific way and stray from their predetermined templates or have your web address look more professional, you must buy it.
On this page, you can post contact information, screening information, good quality production still shots, taglines, synopses of each piece in your work portfolio, cast and crew bios, and links to your social media.
This is an SEO download that helps tweak your website to get more search engine traffic – it is a service for WordPress only, and is a content optimization assistant. It analyzes webpages, blog posts, and press releases.
Where to find it? http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/scribe/
Why: It’s cheap (what’s cheaper than free?), it’s easy, and it’s viewership. Simple as that.
How: Rentals for subscribers run from $2 to $8, and as a filmmaker you submit your film for free. If your film is selected, you then get 50% of the revenue. However, revenue is not even the most important part (although as an indie filmmakers it is never a bad thing) of this sweet deal – by having a pre-selection process, the paying audience trusts the quality of the selected films. You get your name and your film out there for free, even if only five people watch it and you make $20, that’s five people that might have just found their new favourite indie film that they can rave about at the next cocktail party they attend.