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  • Writer's pictureNicholas Buggs

Films Aren't Just Products; They Are So Much More

When indie filmmakers produce films, they most often expend all of their time, energy, resources, and creativity on production in an effort to make the best films that they can. It's an admirable pursuit. and one they hope will pay off with a high-quality finished product, but the problem with this approach is that it fails to exploit the full potential of their creative works. You see, films aren't just products; they are properties. To be specific, they are intellectual properties that can be monetized in a variety of ways.

Use Your Film to Promote Yourself

Every film that you create and promote can be leveraged as a marketing piece for your next project. The only thing stepping in the way of that is your willingness and ability to give your audience a call to action. Whether your'e distributing a short, episodic, or feature film, be ready to invite your audience along for your filmmaking journey by asking them to like, follow, and share or by contributing to your crowdfunding campaign.

Use Your Film to Hone In On Your Target Market

If you've created a film, it's important to get it in front of the various segments of your target audience and gauge how they react. You can measure the responses to determine how to best position your film as you plan for distribution. Having real data will help you position your project to distributors as you will be able to match your target demographics with theirs. This data will also be useful as you plan your digital marketing campaign. Targeting the right audience with your marketing campaign will help to promote positive reviews and a network effect that will maximize downstream revenues. Split testing your film will help avoid the cost of bad reviews while increasing your marketing and sales potential.

Use Your Film To Engage An Audience

A film can be used as a starting point for a conversation with your audience. Consider posting content and inviting your audience to react to it. Do they love it? Do they hate it? What did they love or hate about it? What would they have liked to see? How can you improve in your next project? By engaging your audience, you express empathy. Empathy creates connections and connections build communities. Building communities around your work enables you to leverage them downstream as you seek to finance and distribute your work. If your community is strong enough, they will go where you go (and bring their digital wallets with them).

Use Your Film To Sell Merch

Merchandising your film through physical products or derivative works is a great way to create multiple streams of income based on a single piece of intellectual property. The key is to plan for merchandising during development so that you can identify opportunities in the story that lend themselves to specific ancillary products. Merchandising can be based on film quotes that resonate with your target audience (e.g., T-shirts that read: "Hasta la vista, baby."), film artifacts that have a strong meaning (e.g., lightsabers), the uniqueness of the characters themselves (e.g., action figures), or artwork and music from the soundtrack to name a few.

Use Your Film To Get Sponsorships

Using your film as a marketing piece for a brand or organization can provide yet another way to offset the costs of your film. Product placement, in-content ads, and logo placement can be attractive to those seeking new ways to advertise their products or services. If you can clearly articulate how your film aligns with a sponsor's demographic and have a foolproof plan to engage that audience, you will hav a compelling pitch for sponsorship dollars.

As you can see, your films are far more than just standalone products. If you leverage them for their full potential, you can always find a way to make them work for you whether they are formally distributed or not. Look at each film for what it can do to help you build your brand, engage your audience, and promote the development of multiple revenue streams. With this approach, every film you make will be a success in its own way.

As always,

Be Better. Be Creative. Be Engaged.

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