Here are 10 ways to prepare for getting your film idea closer to finding an audience.
BECTU’s recent panel on Marketing your Project, held at Ravensbourne College, heard from Christopher Hird, md of Dartmouth Films, Sarah Mosses from Together Films, which helps film makers to market their work, producer/director Lily Murray, director Jonathan Pearson and writer/producer and pitching expert Sasha Damjanovski.
1. Have an asset, not an idea
"It’s not enough to have an idea you have to have an asset." Christopher Hird’s advice was not to present an idea without at least one of the following:
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2. Skill up
For any initial project, you will have to be producer as well as director, probably writer, possible editor and take on a few other roles.
3. Plot a micro business plan of your life
As a fledgling director, you’ll need to fit the aspiration to film with the day job. So work out when you’re filming and how you will afford it. Schedule it in.
4. Park any squeamishness about selling
"You’re not selling yourself, you’re selling your excitement about the idea," says Sasha Damjanovski, who runs workshops on how to pitch. He recommends practising on family and friends; if they glaze over then you’re on the wrong track.
5. Shrink your idea to two sentences
"It has to be so concise," says Sarah Mosses. "If you can’t condense it, then you don’t know what your film is about."
6. Practise a two- to three-minute pitch
Nail your elevator pitch and prepare a PDF two-pager. So when you get the chance to tell it or send it to someone who matters, you can deliver just what’s wanted and follow up seamlessly.
7. Work with an established indie
Identify a production company that works with projects like your own and take them something worth having. And don’t go into stasis with fear that they’ll steal the idea. "Come with something so well developed that they won’t want to steal it off you," says Hird.
8. Be ambitious, but realistic.
If you need to get credentials with your first film, then make something close to home, in every sense. You do want to show your original thinking and personal style. You don’t want an international travel budget. Many films don’t make a profit, often they cost more than they make.
9. Keep back money for marketing
“A film doesn’t exist ‘til someone sees it, " says Mosses. With fiction it’s common for one third of the budget to be kept for marketing, but it’s not just drama that needs a fuss made to get it seen. It’s not down to distributors or sales companies, you need to earmark production money to get your film a bigger audience,
10. Take care with tasters
More often than not an investor will want to see footage – a taster tape, perhaps more of the characters, some scenes. Make sure you don’t spend too much time and money shooting footage that won’t come to anything. It might be the best calling card, but it also might never get made.
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