The Financials of Horror

If you can stand the incessant popups and ads, Forbes.com has an article looking at the financial state of Horror films. The horror genre has always been pegged as the go-to genre for profit, simply because you can more easily make low budget horror and the audience is not uncomfortable with the low budget trappings of bad acting it seems!

But, digging into the numbers there is a feeling that it is not the gold mine it once was – which will be very interesting news for low budget filmmakers.

The final hurdle – top tips for marketing your film

Lots of good stuff coming out of IFP Week. Another good article on NoFilmSchool, summarising the panel discussion “Wrapping Your Brain Around Marketing”.

They come down to a few key points and each is discussed in detail.

These kinds of articles are pure gold. Sometimes you get conflicting advice but remember to choose advice that is aimed at your budget level and genre.

http://nofilmschool.com/2014/09/tips-wrapping-your-brain-around-marketing-your-indie-film

6 (More) Crowdfunding tips

Really, there are so many tip lists out there for crowdfunding it is a wonder that anyone fails to get fully funded!

But, in case you missed all the other articles, here’s a good one from Indiewire that focuses on a little bit of a different area – breaking down your project into sections for funding.

Film – Economics or Enlightenment?

Ted Hope, who has probably one of the most consistently interesting blogs about film on the net, has an interesting take on the value of film. He thinks that there has to be a better metric for measuring a film’s success. He doesn’t offer one, but I understand what he means. Films are not just about the money. They are about the experience.

Filmmakers often think they are alone in this, but they are not. The things that filmmakers tackle I think authors have been dealing with even longer. But they haven’t figured it out either yet. The ‘it’ I mean is how do you place a value on a film or book?

But we do know that we have to create a great piece of … product… and go from there.

The truth is, until we come up with something else we are stuck with numbers, or at least return on investment.

Charts to prove Hollywood is doomed

We’ve heard it before. Hollywood is doomed. In April, 2014 even Jeffrey Katzenberg voiced words of warning. He was not believed (publicly).

But now at MediaRedefined (a pretty awesome website if you haven’t gone there already) they have a very indepth article (actually 3 articles) that really get to the heart of the matter – people aren’t going to the cinema any more.

It is somewhat depressing reading – if you are in Hollywood, where you were refusing to believe this. But those of us in the rest of the world have known this for a while and have been trying to find new models that can sustain a career.

There is a lot to digest in these 3 articles (all linked below) and I think it will take me days to get through them and really understand. But it is vital stuff to know.

But of special interest to my readers (if I have any) or at least to me is part 3. ‘The Future of Independent Filmmaking’.

This article really should be (and probably will be) linked out into a post of it’s own on here, but I include it here for completeness.

 

Five Fatal Flaws of your Indie Film Website

I’m trying to contact as many micro and low budget filmmakers as possible. Those who have completed and distributed, in any form, a feature (preferably narrative) film. I am doing this for my Raindance Postgraduate Degree research.

For my sins I have to go to a lot of indie film websites. A lot. And it is more often than it needs to be – because it needs to be never – very painful.

I’ve compiled my top 5 list.

1. No Contact Us Information

Are you KIDDING ME?!?!! You went to the effort of making a website for your movie and you didn’t put a contact us form or even your email address in the typical replace @ with (at) form? You do realise that you have just cut yourself off at the knees, don’t you? Probably 90% of people who go to your site that want to contact you will not look any further.

If I had to guess I would say that more than 50% of the ‘official’ websites for micro and low budget films have no contact information.

2. Facebook is not your website

OMG. WTF? You think that setting up a Facebook fan page is all you need to do? While it is PART of a strategy it should not be the whole strategy. It is very difficult to have private conversations on FB and let’s face it, this is what email is for. Also, you have very limited control over your page and design on FB (which for some of you is a good thing as we find out in point 3) but really, do you want your destiny held by Facebook?

I will expand on this and say that any other site like Facebook, where you can put up a page about yourself or your project, is ALSO NOT YOUR WEBSITE. The sites that are not your website include: YouTube, Wikipedia, KickStarter, IndieGoGo, Film Festival pages… you get the idea.

Spend the $10 and get your own domain.

Extra ‘fail points’ for thinking that your IMDB page is good enough.

3. ‘Clever’ or ‘Arty’ design

You have a friend who is a clever web designer. Or you yourself are an artist. That’s nice. But please don’t be tempted to have some super sexy, graphics heavy, Flash/HTML5 video driven site that is unusable from anything but a high end pc. Yes, put your – YouTube hosted – trailer on the front page. Yes, have social media buttons. No, don’t make me wait for media to load. Or make me regret going to your site from my iPhone while I am on 4G.

4. Not updating

Many websites I visit seem to just peter out. Often there are no postings after production is done. There MIGHT be a posting about some festivals, but I have gone to films from festival website links where they don’t even mention being in that festival. Now… if I was running a festival and I knew you did that why would I put your next film in it?

During fundraising, pre-production and production you have to update a lot. Lots of photos, behind the scenes, etc. Of course you have to do that. But even in post-production and definitely in distribution you also need to do that. Keep a dialog with your audience.

5. No Website

Of course, this is the worst one. As I said in point 2 – get the domain name for your film. You should do this way way early. Even before fundraising. Because you should be naming your film something that is unique and people can find (see bonus tips below). Once you have that domain name, get some free hosting or cheap hosting, put up a wordpress site and get going. It doesn’t take much and you can do it yourself or find a friend who will do it for free or next to nothing. Please pay attention to point 3 and don’t make it overly complex or ‘clever’. ‘Clever’ is the enemy of ‘usable’.

If you are stuck on this point then contact me and I will help you out.

Bonus Tips:

6. Check Google Results

If you google on your film name and you are not on the first page you’ve got a problem. Especially if you add ‘My Film Name’ + ‘Filmmaker Name’ and you don’t show up in the top five.  It means your website is not being tracked well by google or you have called your film something ungoogleable. Like it or not, Google ranking is a vital tool in the promotion of your film. As I stated above, keep uniqueness and ‘googleability’ high on your list when thinking of your film name.

7. Check spelling and links

Nothing is worse than seeing spelling mistakes or even worse, mistakes in links that cause the link to not work. Double check and test your site. Please.

 

And God Smote… Christian Movies take a tumble

Ok. 75% of the reason I am linking this article is the title. But, the other 25% is that again we see that band-wagon jumping doesn’t work. Also, note that the films that did the best (apart from Noah, which I think is kind of cheating to put in here anyway) are the ones that were true indies.

The long  and short of it is, you have to make a good movie and you have to get the word out.

And the word was good.

Research paper into the YouTube ad model

If you are seriously interested in the state of internet video advertising then you have to read the research paper published over on the BlueMatrix website.

The paper is a very comprehensive study about the state of things and the future growth potential of YouTube ads. It includes a look at TrueView, the evolution of YouTube’s ad targeting.

Fascinating, if dry, reading.

Marketability vs Playability – Sherri Candler illustrates

Sherri Candler has a great site/blog and often nails it as far as posts about marketing your film. This one is no exception.

Directors, and other filmmakers, often get wrapped up in the ‘playability’ of the movie – their belief in the intrinsic quality of the film. But producers and sales agents are often stuck with something that is shy on the  ‘marketability’ side. And, as Sherri, points out, if a film doesn’t have a strong marketability angle then all the playability in the world won’t help.

Anyway, she says it better than I do.