Tag: Film

Launching New TOTBO Workshop Webclips

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I am kicking off a series of excerpts from my Think Outside the Box Office Master Classes today on my new YouTube Channel TheJonReiss. I am rebooting my YouTube channel because even though I had some decent views on YouTube.com/jfilm1 – it didn’t feel like that accurate or searchable. Since I am going to start releasing regular content not only from my workshops, but also interviews with filmmakers, artists and people on the cutting edge of audience engagement, I thought it was time to start fresh. On the channel you can also see excerpts from my film and music video work as well. I look forward to your thoughts on the clips as they roll out.

This week’s post concerns setting the goals for your release. I am a firm believer that it is essential for filmmakers to have a clear idea of what their goals are for their film’s release and to prioritize one or perhaps 2 specific goals because a film team will use different release strategies to achieve different goals. I see 4 main goals that most filmmakers strive for in their releases:

1. Money (Fortune)

2. A career launch, helping get another film made. (Fame – for a traditional career based on the previous film career paradigm that only exists for a small percentage of filmmakers these days).

3. Audience (some people just want their film to be seen by an audience as wide as possible.

4. Change the World – especially for documentary.

However I encourage most (if not all) filmmakers to consider a fifth goal:

5. A long-term relationship with a potentially sustainable audience/fan base. This is an essential component of any modern media release – yet most filmmakers still do not consider this a primary goal. This goal is different in objective than the old school fame based career launch (Number 2 above). It is not about press, “heat”, ego. Its about connection, engagement and a bringing your fans with you from project to project. This goal is not achievable if you sell your film outright in an all-rights scenario. In that case your distributor has access to your audience data – not you (although most don’t cultivate this data – yet).

Next week’s clip will talk about the importance of prioritizing your goals. In other words you are better off pursuing one goal. If you don’t, you are at the risk of not achieving any of your goals. Upcoming posts will concern identifying and engaging audience, creating events, merchandise, digital rights, timing as well as interviews with artists and filmmakers such as Timo Vuorensola, Molly Crabapple, Corey McAbee and many more.

I’m launching the channel today as part of my Spring Workshop Kickoff. Yesterday I gave a “Strategic Distribution Workshop 202” at Hot Docs Toronto. I will be helping lead the IFP Filmmaker Labs in NYC in May and June. I will also be giving a mini-workshop at Sheffield Doc Fest in June 15th and then in London on June 23, 24th for a newly revamped two day TOTBO Distribution Master Class.

I’ve also created some Hot Docs Specials on my store where you can get a PDF of TOTBO for $4.95 and a hard copy for $9.95.

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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. Continue reading →