Indie Film Takes Lesson from Indie Music – Online Marketing at its Best

Posted on by Jon Reiss

When music downloading and the internet really hit, many thought it would be the collapse of the music industry. For similar-yet-different reasons, the indie film world finds itself in a similar position today, and in combination with our poor economy, we’ve all heard the horror stories surrounding the decline and potential collapse of indie film. My thoughts are that those who are trailblazing the way towards a new world of online and indie platforms might pull through, exactly as they did in the music industry, and apparently the LIJIT blog does as well. Read on for an example…

Indie movies taking a tip from indie music

June 25, 2009

When your industry is out of the mainstream, why would you market in a mainstream way?

On today’s sign-up report, I saw that a blog all about the making, and promoting, of an independent film was on there. The movie is called Not Forgotten and the blog is called Not Forgotten Movie. (Aptly named, I know.)

As a film major, I love independent films but know how hard it is for them to pick up widespread distribution. If they’re lucky, they’ll be shown in small theaters somewhere in L.A. or New York. If I’m lucky, I’ll have the chance to catch the film on Netflix. However, with the advent of social media, indie films can increase their chances of hitting it big by connecting with audiences before the film even arrives in theaters.

When a film is made by a major studio, millions of dollars can go into promoting it. But with small films like Not Forgotten, the only chance they have at being shown nationwide is if the audiences express an interest for it. With free tools like blogs, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube, the producers of the movie can help spread the word at a much lower cost and prove that there is demand for the film to be shown.

In the case of Not Forgotten, in addition to a blog, they have a twitter account with almost 3600 followers. The producers promote the movie, interact with other film lovers on twitter, and give fans a glimpse at what it takes to actually get an independently-made movie into the theater. You can also watch videos of the movie’s L.A. premiere and interviews with the stars on their YouTube channel. If all that weren’t enough, Not Forgotten also has a Flickr account featuring still shots from the movie and promo pics of the stars.

Indie music has been doing this kind of online promotion successfully for years with a little service called MySpace. As much as I hate the obnoxious design of MySpace, I can see how the social network is useful for independent bands. You can get your music into the hands of people who want to hear it, build a fanbase and easily communicate tour dates. It’s almost mandatory these days for an indie band to have their MySpace URL all over show flyers and concert announcements.

I expect to see more indie films doing what Not Forgotten has done with social media. Not only because the price of the marketing is in line with their budget, but because it gives me hope that some of these awesome movies might actually make it to Denver one day.

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