How to Rethink Your Video Content Strategy to Build Your Community
You might remember the excellent article written by BOND CEO Marc Schiller, couple of months ago about An analysis of Internet trends in 2014 for Independent Films. Schiller -who’s one of Indiewire Influencers– has had its fingers on the pulse of community building and engagement for years now and has been hard at work sharing his knowledge and making data and tools understandable and accessible to indie filmmakers with a diy spirit.
In this extract from an IFP conference recorded last October about Video Content Strategy that included No Film School founder and indie filmmaker Ryan Koo (who also was at the Sundance Panel about Community Building), Marc Schiller gives a great insight in how things are done as of now, what are the pros and cons about it, and what filmmakers should look into in order to engage with their audience on a broader scale.
How Indie Films Are Promoted Today:
“I’m trying to actively change how we use video to market films because the way we’ve been marketing through videos historically has been very limiting.What we typically will do is that we will look at a film and we will select probably ten clips anywhere between a minute to 90 sec as a pool, and we will select them specifically to try to give people a taste of the tonality of the film, to really use those clips as a way to introduce people to the actual content. The ten clips will then be shared with the distributors, the PR team, and from the ten we will narrow it down to about 6 or so, keeping the total number less than 10 minutes total. Including footage from the trailer. And that’s the Academy rules, although I don’t think the Academy goes online and counts the minutes, we stay to that 10 minutes rule and we never want to put out more than 10 minutes prior to release. We then take those clips and put them on Vimeo or other services, sometimes many, sometimes only one. And then as we get closer to release, we will pitch a scene as exclusive to various digital media outlets to get more coverage for the film, going into opening weekend. All the clips are then put into a wish list grid, a clip would go to Indiewire, another clip would go to a blog maybe for the genre, some clips would go to imdb, and because they’re exclusive for 24h to those sites, you get a considerable amount of promotion. So in a way it’s looking at bartering exclusive content for exposure. That’s typically how most films look at video content.”
More Awareness but Zero Community Building
“So most videos today, for films that have theatrical releases, are used for barter for PR. And it’s split up into different opportunities to maximize the exposure. So you’re using literally videos to create more awareness because you don’t have the top dollars for advertising that the big Studios have, and in many instances you don’t have the Stars, you just have a great film and that’s the best way to get awareness. It works, it’s how everybody does it. It doesn’t build community. It doesn’t build loyalty. It doesn’t do anything more than just give you exposure.”
How Indie Filmmakers Should Think To Use Video to Build Their Community
“It’s important to start to shift and make videos much more strategically and not just leading into opening weekend but for the long run of the film. Nowadays a lot of people see a movie, they love the movie and they go online and they google to learn more after they’ve seen the movie. We need to create video content to serve that audience, to keep them engaged, to keep them motivated.It’s difficult to do because most filmmakers they are just trying to finish their film in time. They have no ability to think about new narratives and additional content, but when you get into that mindset, that’s when you start early. it’s when you have the ability to look at the web from the perspective of developing community through new narratives. That shift is very difficult to do when you are looking at films in the traditional distribution system.”
As you can see, it’s once again all about storytelling and being creative to expand an initial story that might be 90 minute long but whose audience might want to know more about. This is a new era for storytellers and storymakers, and using the tools available to find your audience is almost vital in a market saturated with content (most of it already available for free).
I haven’t had the chance to watch the full conversation, that is -alas- only available to IFP members, but this small extract only gives material to think and explore. You can watch it below:
Thanks to Sheri Candler