Indie films are the heart and soul of the filmmakers. Years of prep, financing, location scouting, travel, filming, post- production, submission to film festivals is the majority of the film budget. Brilliant indie films have won awards at the festivals, then competed against studio films in retail and online sales as well as Netflix and cable network deals. So, the path to success is accessible to all filmmakers.
Many of the indie films our team has successfully represented often had limited budgets. So how can you get the media to notice you without spending thousands each month on PR?
Tell your story. Whether your film is a documentary, sci-fi, romance, thriller or action film, your film synopsis has to catch the eye and ears of the media.
Find your hook! The hook can be why you made the film, any challenges you experienced, or perhaps the lead character or producers has a great backstory. If it’s a documentary, why this film will change thinking or enlighten the audience. If fiction, who inspired or if it’s based on an actual ‘event’. The spin is the story behind your film.
Every single person involved in the making of your film has a story and an angle you can pursue for media.
Create an Electronic Press Kit
(EPK) Your electronic press kit includes a photo’s and videos as well as short interviews you’re your principal cast and crew.
While filming you want to do off the set interviews with the cast, the director and producers that can be edited for the EPK.
Have them answer top questions the media might ask about the film.
If your film includes special effects interview the artists, or if filming in a unique location highlight that in the footage. These are future ‘selling’ points for media and film festival submissions. You can also include a short trailer in the EPK.
Important: Make sure any music used in the EPK is cleared for broadcast. You don’t want to have to backtrack and ask media to not use the soundtrack.
The long synopsis
This will include one single page which you need to make double spaced. You can tell the story in about ¾ of the page. The latter can include any anecdotes about the making if your film, and why it will stand out from other films.
The medium synopsis
Once again, it should be ¾ page long in which you summarize the film, but make it concise and to the point. The last few lines can be about the making of the film and why your film is unique.
The short synopsis format should be no longer then half the page. Once again, ¾ is your concise story about the film, highlight points that will grab interest, with the last few lines about the production and why the film will stand out.
Bios of Cast and Crew
Your EPK includes bios of all the key players involved in the film, from the producers, writers, composer, director, director of photography, actors and production designer. Include past work experience, for example any known films that the crew was part of in the past. Anything unique that will grab the eye of the media is valuable.
Ø Your EPK needs great photographs, include the following:Ø Producer on the setØ Director with the castØ Fabulous photos of the film scenes (have the photographer on the set days of important scenes being shot)Ø Highlight the equipment used in the making of the filmØ Any key players should be includedØ Remember, that perfect pic can be used on T-shirts, caps, posters and other promotional materials
It is vital for your promotion that you provide film festival submissions, journalists, and studios who may be considering distributing your film that you develop a most frequently asked Question and Answer area in the EPK. Include anything that explains the film, your mission, your audience and ultimate success of the film.Typically, it is about 10 questions. Often media who interview you will follow this messaging, so all parties being interviewed will be prepared.
Every filmmaker wants national attention on their film, but you may have to build to that, step by step. Start with local press, film blogs, YouTube videos and social media. Make your own buzz, then media will call you!
If you submit your film and get accepted, try to obtain a press list of who will be attending. Start to follow the key journalists on social media, then email your EPK and offer interviews with your key actors, directors, producer at the festival. Offer them a unique spin that will grab their attention. Always be polite, even if the journalist turns down an initial interview with you. If the film is getting buzz at the festival, then re -contact the journalist, you may get the interview.
If your film garners a commercial sale, Netflix, HBO, DVD sales, then you want to reach out to entertainment film reviewers/ writers. Email or mail the film screener, and follow up about a review. Gather as many friends as you can to view the film and post online reviews. Reach out to local and national journalists as well as bloggers, both large blogs and small, as long as the audience is in your niche.
Find a ‘spin’ in your film that will grab attention. Indie films our agency represented we had success with spins that landed the filmmakers on national talk and entertainment shows as well as national print. So, it is possible for a smaller indie film to get national press!