By lance weiler, May 7th, 2007

Cutting through the static
by Lance Weiler

Last November the internet hit a major milestone, over a 100 million sites with registered domain names and active content. The web is considered to be the great equalizer for filmmakers, one which promises cost effective promotion and distribution. But where do you start and what’s the best way to design a cost effective online promotional campaign that can help you build an audience for your work? Here are few suggestions to help you get started.

It is never too early – There’s an old adage, don’t seek publicity too early for a project because the press won’t cover it twice. For some reason people apply the same theory to their online strategies and often wait until the last minute to create a site for their work. By waiting until the last minute they loose valuable time that could have been used to build their audience. For instance I used the audience that I cultivated for HEAD TRAUMA to help me promote the movie at my festival showings, during my theatrical runs across the country and most recently with the Cinema ARG screenings.

Identify your audience – This might sound simple but you’d be amazed how often filmmakers say “I made the film for people like me.” Maybe this is true, but you need to take some time to identify your audience. Who are they and what will attract them to your work? Once you know who the audience is you can start to figure out the best way to reach them online. In some cases you will also be able to find partners to help you amplify your reach.

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lance weiler is the founder of the WorkBook Project and also a story architect of film, tv and games. He's written and directed two feature films THE LAST BROADCAST and HEAD TRAUMA. He's currently developing a number of transmedia projects

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  • Crowd sourcing, such a great phrase. I'm down with all of your points here. Nice work. I also think tools need to keep getting better so you can utilize and organize the "crowd". Sort people based on how interactive they've been so you can choose to only say things to the most enthusiastic. Have at your disposal lists of things people are willing to contribute. Let the crowd know what you need without harassing them too much by having software link lists of things you need with lists of things people are offering. Much larger then the DIY film movement is the evolution of collective intelligence and I feel their are substantial missing links in getting there. And it's frustrating because I feel once we are the true abilities of crowd sourcing can be realized. But whats great is we can keep testing and keep experimenting and using what there is today and I guess this is how we get there, keep trying things out.

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