Amongst the many industry events that were programmed at the London Short Film Festival there have been some interesting marketing related talks. Kate Shenton made a feature film called Egomaniac for around £5,000, which debuted at London's Fright Fest in 2016 and she shared her learnings about how to make a first feature film with no money and get it seen.
It was notable that Kate acknowledged that the second part of her topic was just as important as the first and was often the area where film-makers struggle. As marketeers at mouseclix we find that when film-makers get bound up in the creative process, making the film becomes the all-encompassing goal and what to do with it afterwards becomes neglected because its outside the comfort zone of some film-makers. Failing to gain exposure for their first film is often the reason why only 13% of low budget first film producers go on to make a second feature.
Even when a film-maker is in the creating phase, there is much that they can do to help with the selling phase to follow and I've expanded on these in the following key take-aways on no budget film-making from Kate's talk:
1. A no budget film will not be your defining masterpiece, so don't sweat over details. Just get the film made and move on to the next one. (See point 6.)
2. Focus on just a couple of things, such as locations or sound. Do these as well as possible and spend budget mainly on just these areas. This will give you a USP to focus on when promoting the film. If its not your core USP then try and get by without spending too much on it.
3. Write the script with the production in mind. Do you really need that extra location? Will this scene take ages to set up? By focusing on how the script will end up being produced it can be honed down to essentials, which also gives a great insight into the key elements that you will be able to focus on when approaching the sales process.
4. Social media is your friend. It goes without saying in this day and age, but many people are still not comfortable with using it to its full potential. Used professionally and effectively, social media will develop your brand and engage a network that will spread the word about the film.
5. Be protective about your World Premiere and then sell it out. Choosing the right festival or screening event and having a full and engaged audience is crucial in building the buzz that will launch the film on its journey.
6. Be working on the next project so that when the buzz on the first film does happen there is something extra to be talking about to your newly found audience of fans and industry insiders. And you can hook them into the new project at an early stage. Kate was able to do this with her next film Bloody Burrito as the exposure from from Egomaniac brought new industry interest into what she was doing next.