Traditional marketing wisdom states that you should offer something of value to your potential customer prior to trying to sell to them. However, this value proposition is different when you’re talking about making a film versus selling a software application. It has to be something of value to your customers, and since most of your customers are not going to be other filmmakers you’re going to need to think outside the box and offer something that people who only consume content are going to be interested in. Here’s a list of some ideas to get you started.
1. An unreleased short film
Unfortunately shorts don’t tend to have much value of their own. Their primary purpose is to build the skills and the brand of the filmmaker who’s making them. Luckily, this can make them ideal for giveaways behind an email capture. You’re giving the consumer a taste of you style, as well as developing your relationship with them for the future.
It’s important to note that these shouldn’t be your film school exercises or camera tests. This should be thesis level work if it’s going to have any value whatsoever. If it did the festival circuit an racked up some awards then it’s likely to be a good giveaway that actually provides a decent amount of value.
2. A concept piece for the film you’re currently working on.
If you made a short film as a proof of concept for the feature, this can be a great giveaway once you get closer to the release. That is, unless you have spoilers for the feature in the concept film. If you do, you might need to re-edit the piece slightly.
Timing this can be difficult. I would make sure that the film is at least about to hit the first window of release before offering the concept video as a giveaway.
3. Behind the Scenes featurettes.
With the DVD market in decline, its become much harder to get the old DVD extras than it used to be. But even if you’re planning on having a full film distributed via transactional video on demand, (TVOD) that doesn’t mean you can’t make more content available on your website for those interested enough to seek it out. If they are that interested, they’re exactly the sort of person you want on your email list, and they’re prob ably happy to join it.
4. A copy of a script for a feature film you’ve already distributed.
This one skirts the line of being more for filmmakers than the general public. However, if you have a film that’s already 2-3 years old, giving away the script as a value add can be quite valuable. While most filmmakers are aware of the Internet Movie Script Database (IMSDb) but most of the general public is not. This seems like something that could be novel to your ardent fans, and costs you very little to generate.
All of that being said, don’t post this as an email giveaway if it’s not already distributed.
5. Concept art and Character Bios from the film.
The people you want on your email list are your community and your early adopters. The rabid fans who can’t get enough of your work. These are the sorts of people who would also love to see your concept art, behind the scenes photos, and more detail into the process of making the film. Character bios can be great for this. If you can make these little things into a behind the scenes featurette, then all the better.
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My name is Ben, I'm an Entrepreneur, Producer's Rep, and Author. I'm the founder of Guerrilla Rep Media, Co-Founder/CMO of ProductionNext, and founder of Producer Foundry. Together, the organizations seek to help make filmmaking a more economically sustainable endeavor. I am dysic, I have capitalization issues, and the blogs are often unedited. opinions all my own.
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