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Adventures in Self-Releasing: Building Buzz Around the DVD Release

Adventures in Self-Releasing: Building Buzz Around the DVD Release

Blog - Adventures in Self-Releasing

All right I’m getting close to releasing a limited, first edition DVD of the movie. As I’ve said before, this is something we’ll be offering off the Website (www.thelastlullaby.com) and in conjunction with Neoflix.

I’ve been thinking of ways to increase the interest around the DVD. Obviously, we don’t have a huge marketing budget and can’t afford television spend or even print ads. So, as an independent moviemaker, what can you do to make enough noise to build awareness around you and your movie’s release?

I’m currently doing a couple of things, and am always looking for other things I can do, as well:

1. Targeting our niche audience
The more I do this, the more I realize that a major element of making a small movie work is identifying your niche audience and rallying them around you and your movie. Lullaby has always been a difficult movie in this respect. Aside from the world of crime fiction, our niche audience isn’t really that clear. In fact, I’m starting to feel like this whole concept of targeting your niche audience actually works better most of the time for documentaries than narratives. In other words: Make a documentary about organic foods. It’ll be clear, then, who your niche audience is.

But I do know the world of crime fiction recognizes Lullaby as one of their own and supports it. And so, at the very least, I can make sure that crime fiction enthusiasts are aware of the movie. Marc Rosenbush, who I have mentioned numerous times now in this blog, recommends the site Quantcast.com. In essence, you can visit Quantcast, enter a Website and it will tell you the number of visitors that site receives each month. It’s a great way to determine what sites within a niche receive the most traffic.

For instance, through Quantcast I was able to determine that ThrillingDetective.com was one of the most popular Websites for crime fiction enthusiasts, so I decided to place a banner ad there, announcing our upcoming DVD. Banner ads are not terribly expensive and allow you to target your audience in a very specific and, more importantly, cost-effective way.

2. Social networking
It’s become vital for independent moviemakers to take more responsibility in building audiences around them and their work. To this end (and most moviemakers I know
are now doing the same), I have a Facebook group for the movie, a Twitter account, a blog and a monthly e-mail update list. But how do you grow these groups,
particularly at important times like your DVD release?

It’s a tough question. And, I’m sure there are many different ways. But, I just did a promotion that cost me nothing and proved enormously successful, so I wanted
to share.

Essentially, here’s what I did:

I sent out an e-mail to all of my groups telling them that if they helped me grow their respective group to a certain size, then I would issue their entire group a 20 percent discount on the DVD. Because of this promotion, in less than four days, I saw my Facebook group grow by more than 350 people and my other groups grow significantly as well. I have never tried anything like this, but its success makes perfect sense. Everyone pitches in because everyone benefits. I think the underlying philosophy is really sharp and that variations on this same idea would also be successful. I’ll keep trying things and let you know about the results. In the meantime, I’m curious if any of you want to share some grassroots or inexpensive promotional techniques that have worked for you? Oh, and of course, if any of you want to join one of my groups… We hit our numbers, and you’ll get a 20 percent discount, too.

After living in Los Angeles for seven years, Jeffrey Goodman returned to his hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana to direct The Last Lullaby. Co-written by the creator of Road to Perdition, and starring Tom Sizemore and Sasha Alexander, The Last Lullaby was filmed entirely in and around Shreveport and financed by 48 local investors.

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