IFH 003: Are you an Indie Film Marketing Spammer?



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This week I ask, are you an indie film marketing spammer? Do you ask people you just met online to support your film or Kickstarter campaign without taking the time to build a relationship? Do you blast your latest reel or trailer on every online outlet you can post it on? Then you might be an indie film marketing spammer.

When I first started marketing myself and my films I was a spammer. I would spam all my links, videos, and pictures aiming them back to my desired webpage. This did get me some traffic but I also upset a lot of websites and people in the process.

They pretty much blacklisted me and it made that much harder to promote my films in the future.

Now, when I started promoting my work in a more cohesive way, in a give and take manner,  I saw my traffic and sales go way up without alienating people.

You must provide value to people before you ask them for anything. When I promoted my short films I made sure to have a kick-ass trailer that would provide value to websites so they would be willing to post my material for their community. It makes the webmasters look good to their community if they can show them an underground treasure.

Many filmmakers and Filmtrepreneurs don’t take the time or energy to create enticing marketing materials for themselves or their film projects.  I’ll be going into more detail on how to create impactful film marketing materials in a series of future posts.

In this episode, I’m here to help you get eyes on your films, your reel, or yourself without being an indie film marketing spammer pissing everyone off in the process.

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Alex Ferrari 0:00
So today's episode is going to be a little bit interesting because I've been getting a lot of contact. And this this goes on for this has been going on for years. But generally now since I launched the indie film, hustle, I've been getting contacted by a lot of filmmakers. And I thought it'd be appropriate to let some people know because they just don't know. Are you a filmmaker spammer? People don't want to be called spammers. But when filmmakers are starting out indie filmmakers, we all all a desperate bunch, me included, I am in no, I am in that same group with you guys. What I've learned over the years is you have to be a little bit more sophisticated in your approach to how to talk to people how to ask people for things, how to ask people for favors, how to ask people for their time, especially the bigger the person you're asking for, for their time and attention, the more you have to work that relationship more you have to give and take. So I'm gonna go over a little bit about how you should approach decision makers, influencers, people that you're trying to either watch you talk to you give you their give them your time, whatever, but it all it's all about building a relationship, you have to spend the time to build a relationship with whoever you're talking to. So if you're going to a party, and you meet somebody at a party, and you know that their let's say their big stuff, you know, they really are, you know, they just won Sundance and they have some connections and their agent is the agent you want. The first words out of your mouth shouldn't be Hey, man, how you doing I'm I'm so and so I'm jack and I got you know, I got this great script. And, you know, I'd love to you get if you get it to your agent, and maybe I can. That's complete turnoff. Let me just put, let me give you an analogy. Imagine you're going out on a date. And then when you meet the girl, the first thing you say to her goes, you want to go back to my place and you know, go to sleep together, it doesn't work that way. She'd be disgusted, slap you in the face, and you would move on. That's the same equivalent of emailing someone very aggressively talking to someone very aggressively at a party. So if you're going after a blog, let's say, or approaching a website, and you know, movie website to try to promote your movie, there's certain ways of going about it, you have to kind of start building the relationship, you have to give them something, if they give them time to build a relationship, see, if they even want to talk to you, you have to be much more low key about things. When I get you know, I've been getting emails from people. And, and you know, messages sent to me saying, Hey, watch my real, hey, look at this, look at that. And, you know, I'm happy to do so. And I'm happy to help any filmmakers that come by and I have no problem with that whatsoever. But, you know, it's kind of like you don't know me? I don't know you. I have a lot of things on my plate. Why should I devote time to do it? There's only so many hours in a day. I don't know if you guys know this or not. But I have I'm a father and I have twin girls, as well as trying to run indie film, hustle and a post production company and trying to get my own projects off the ground as well. You should work you know, just introduce yourself like Hey, man, I really like what you're doing, you know, keep up the good work, and you drop that seed. And then maybe in the next few days, you go, Hey, man, great article, it shows me that you're reading something, or you're showing that person that like, you know, hey, this is a great article you just wrote about this. Thanks so much. It's been really helpful. And it starts putting you in their eyesight, their eyeline and you start giving them something if they have, if they have a newsletter that that they're suggesting you should sign up for it. If they have a group that they're asking you that it's part of their group you could sign up for to go ahead just sign up for your group. Wow, it's so much interesting stuff. Great. It's time it takes time to build these relationships. In order to get something and I'm not using myself as an analogy by any stretch of the imagination. I am no power player or influencer by any stretch. But when you're talking to people that have Millions and millions of people coming to their blog, or millions and millions of people coming to the websites who if they do a review of your movie or do a shout out on their Facebook is a huge deal. I don't care about the Kickstarter thing I get it, you're like, Oh my God has two days left, I gotta go and you just start spamming everybody because you're so desperate to get your your movie, man, you're so desperate to get a finance, and you just go boom, boom, boom, and you just start hitting people hitting people, you're just turning people off. And people can smell desperation from a mile away. That's why when you're at a club, and you walk up to a girl, and you're really like, hey, a girl's feel it. That's why the guy in the corner cool, chill looks like he doesn't really care. You know, he could probably the biggest ass in the world, but he's the one that's getting the girls. You know, so try to be a little bit more aloof, try to be a little bit more just professional. And start building that relationship with people before you start asking them for something right away. Or before you start begging them to finance you or to, you know, send you $5 or post your own thing. Just think about it, you have to build these relationships. And I know, if you are a spammer, and you feel like, well, I'm just gonna throw everything against the wall, I can, and something's gonna stick. I want to tell you from my own experience, when I first started doing web marketing and promoting of my own movies, I did that for a long time. And it does piss people off. And it does, it doesn't get you where you want you to want to be, you know, out of 100 people, maybe one or two might give you something positive, but you've pissed off 98. And that's not a good thing to do. Especially when you're trying to come up and build relationships. These relationships are we're going to help you in the future. We're going to help you develop your movies, hopefully, promote your movies, introduce you to the agent introduce you to the financier, introduce you to the crew member that you might need that has that camera. But you you can't do that by spamming. You can't do that by just taking taking taking from people you have to be able to give them offer them something if it's not money, it should be your time, you're taking an interest in them. People want to feel like you're interested in them authentically, not just because you're trying to get something from them. You know, I was at Sundance A few years ago, promoting one of my movies. And I wasn't a little desperate. I wasn't you know, it was my first Sundance, I was a little desperate. And I had finagled my way into some big parties, where there are some really big players, you know, Harvey Weinstein and a lot of big directors and stuff like that. And they saw me coming from a mile away. It was fascinating to watch how they shot me down so quickly and so effortless, effortlessly. It was a it was amazing. And only looking back now years later, I understand why. Because, you know, they get bombarded daily, hourly, by the minute, anytime you see, can you imagine how it's like to be Harvey Weinstein at a film festival, you know, that that has this legendary status of, you know, bringing filmmakers up and imagine you being Quentin Tarantino, or being Robert Rodriguez, or being Steven Soderbergh or David Fincher at a film festival without anybody around them. And they would get bombarded by by, by everybody who wants something from them. And it's very uncomfortable. Believe me, I felt that myself. And then I've now seen over time how I've done it to other people. So just start to build the relationship a little bit. And think about what you're doing when you're going after going after certain influencers, certain people, certain blogs, certain agents, things like that, you just have to figure a way in. Also a shows me, let's say, let's use me for an analogy. If you're taking interest in what I'm doing, it shows me that you're putting in time you're putting in effort. And that means a lot in this business. That means you're taking the time that that says a lot about your character as a filmmaker, and as a person, that you're actually thinking about this not you're just not just another filmmaker, with another short film, or another feature film that you just like, do watch this, watch this, I need a break. I need this. I need that, trust me, I was that guy. I was that guy. 10 years ago, I was that guy all the time. And it was annoying as hell, I could only imagine how annoying that was to people. And that's probably one of the reasons why I didn't build the relationships as I should. And then when I did take the time to build relationships, which I've had, I did build a lot of good relationships, with websites and with bloggers and with influencers in the business agents, managers and so on. Once I built those businesses, those relationships up, they have flourished over the time. And it does take time. understand something that indie film, it is not a short game. It is a long game. It is not a checker Smash. It is a chess match. is going to take you time, lots of it. So under, if you understand that going in, you won't be as frustrated, being an independent filmmaker, as I am, or as as I was, in the early days, because you're taking the time and understanding that this is a long game, this is a long play, some some relationship, you start building now might take a year, to even flourish, might take you five years for anything to even come out of it. But you never know. And those are the kinds of relationships you want to build. And keep building and keep updating them and keep doing things like that. But you have to show interest in what they're doing, you have to give, as well as take, and that's with any relationship in general. So I hope this helped you guys out a little bit. It really is. It's I think it's a big problem in the indie film world, that people are just so desperate that they just kind of throw things off. And it just, I feel bad for the person who's trying to get attention who's trying to get their movie financed, or the movie looked out or their trailer looked at or their real look that or I need a job or I need this or that there's ways of doing it. And if you take the time to do research, to, you know, take take interest in what they're doing, see what you can give them back, then you'll be a much happier filmmaker, and hopefully a more successful filmmaker. So I hope that helps guys. Please let me know what you feel about this episode. In the comments. We've got a bunch of interviews coming up and a bunch of really cool episodes coming up in the coming weeks. Also guys, don't forget to subscribe on iTunes. And please leave us a great comment on on iTunes and give us a good rating. If you like the show. You have no idea how helpful it is to us that you do that. So thanks. As always, if you want to learn the six secrets to getting into film festivals for cheap or free, head on over to festival free festival tips. Film Festival tips calm sorry about that film festival tips.com and you can download an ebook that I wrote about how I got into over 500 international film festivals all around the world with paying little or no entrance fees. Thanks so much guys for taking a listen to my ramblings. I hope they were some. So a little bit helpful to you this week. So thanks again and we will see you next episode. Have a good day and always keep filming. Bye.




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