A very necessary expense in your publicity campaign are postcards and posters. These can be expensive but fortunately there are a number of on-line printers that are relatively inexpensive (eg 4000-5000 postcards for $100). One hidden cost when it comes to printing is shipping so I do recommend using a printer near you – so before you buy – make sure you include shipping in your cost estimate. I actually send an assistant or intern to pick up my printing from “Next Day Flyers” since the shipping almost costs as much as the printing. Sometimes your local printer will even match an on-line printers prices – or come close enough to make it worth your while. But they won’t cut their prices unless you have a comparison price.
Regarding Postcards – they are cheap enough online that you could print them for each festival or theatrical screening even if you only print 500 at a time. The old way of doing this was to order a ton and then use stickers for your specific screening time. Unless you have some slave labor around – buying new postcards for $50 is going to be cheaper than paying someone to print and apply stickers to each post card – you have better things to do with your time.
Three important notes about posters:
1. Most on-line printers will not print one sheet size posters.
2. Printing standard film size posters – 27″x41″ – is very expensive (for film festivals you only need one or two which will cost about $50 each – but for a theatrical release you will need more than that). The reason that these posters are so expensive to print is that they are too large for standard offset printing (the cheapest kind of bulk printing). However nearly all theaters (all the ones that I dealt with) will accept posters that are 24.5″x37.5″ which is the largest size that you can have printed offset. This will save you thousands. (Although the best price I found was $1200 for 2000 posters – a pretty good price).
3. You can get a lot of mileage from 11×17 posters. Most storefronts won’t put up a standard or near standard one sheet when you are promoting in a town. But they will put up a 11×17 poster. And these are much cheaper. You can get a 1000 for around $300. They are also good for wildposting/wheatpasting as they fit on most electrical boxes. (18x24s are also a good size for this) But be careful with wildposting – you can be fined thousands of dollars for illegal posting if there is anything on the poster that will track back to you or the theater!)
Next Day Flyers based in Compton California
Got Print based in Burbank California