Assuming you read our previous article on starting a film off as a business. You can view the article here. The next question is when and how do PR and marketing fit into a film’s success?
As we have alluded, you need to not only plan for but also begin to put into place marketing and PR from the moment you start. Publicity is immensely complicated, layered with diplomacy, and requiring immense time and energies to create something that people will want to talk about. And the more your film is talked about, the more interest it garners. And as with all things, time is always working against you and the film. So be proactive, and start laying the groundwork, and you will find that you can greatly reduce the risks of failure.
So how is this done?
Well, to start, your publicist can help point you in the right direction regarding what partnership opportunities would be great in garnering publicity and increase your odds of securing funding. A publicist that understands branding will know which brands would be great to partner up with for the film, as well as people that would help get the film the best ROI (return on investment.)
Having the wrong people in your film can lower your chances of success. Ever watch a film that you thought could have been substantially better if there was a different director or actor or even better CGI? If you check the reviews of those films you’ll be sure to see a lot of negative ones. You might have even checked the box office numbers on Box Office Mojo to find the film’s total gross to be less than the production budget. It takes a great village to build a great brand. In this case, the film is your brand, and it should be approached with just as much strategy and planning as any other business. You might be familiar with the names Rhianna and Taylor Swift. Even if you aren’t a fan of their music, you’re familiar with their brand because they’ve been all over the radio, news, and magazines. They didn’t just become sensations on their own; they had an amazing team behind them. Having the right music producer for the soundtrack, lighting crew, costume designer, glam team, graphic designers, film director, screen writers, website designer, cinematographer and so on is just as important as finding the right producers and actors to play the characters. Often when you are developing your own project, you are too close to it to have an objective lens to make great decisions for your film. Bringing on a publicist that has an eye for talent and understands what your audience wants will give you just the perspective you need to increase your odds of success.
During the development of the film, your publicist will strategize to help guide you so you can get all your pieces in place. This strategic phase will be essential for creating buzz. That could include coming up with press angles, hashtags, social media usernames, contests/promo ideas, etc.
After this base has been set and the marketing starts to move forward, throughout the process you need to develop marketing materials such as trailers, high-quality images, posters, merchandise, promotional clips, press kits, and items for your film junket/press conferences.
Obviously, the next step is to use the marketing materials to produce press conferences, campaigns, a website, social media pages, and a good PR team will do this as well as promote the film to distributors, film festivals, and influencers. This promotion, as well as advertising both digital and traditional needs to be pushed out all past the release dates.
Hiring the right team not only ensures you get these pieces in place, and effectively get your message out, but it also mitigates your risk, giving your film the best chance to succeed.
So the last question you might have is how much does this cost and what should we budget? For the majority of films, a successful budget is anywhere from 50%-200% of the total production cost of the film. Obviously, there are many variables to take into account. Such as the target audience, whether you are targeting a small niche launch or pushing for international distribution.
At the end of the day, one of the largest reasons businesses fail is undercapitalization. Films are no different. Thus having a clear business plan, raising sufficient funds, and then ensuring not only that you make a quality piece of film that people will want to watch, but also investing the money and resources into the right PR and marketing, from the start, will ensure your film’s best chance at success.
If you are ready to start a film, contact us today, so we can help you plan and achieve your success.