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Adventures in Self-Releasing: Social Networking & Paranormal Activity

Adventures in Self-Releasing: Social Networking & Paranormal Activity

Blog - Adventures in Self-Releasing

We’re five days into the online release of The Last Lullaby, and sales have been strong. But I’m always looking for other ways to spread the word. My recent efforts include posting on Facebook walls; I’m targeting affiliated groups with the most members. For instance, Sprague Grayden is in our movie and also has been on “24,” so I posted on the walls of the most popular 24 Facebook groups—things like that. I’ll let you know about other efforts as we move forward.

As I mentioned last week, we have special promotions for anyone who buys a DVD during its first month in release. To announce the winner, I plan on doing a live feed some way, somehow during the drawing. Any ideas of the best live feed to do? Or should I just post it on YouTube once the drawing is done?

This week the first major independent movie award nominations of the season came out: the Gotham Awards. I thought it was an unusually interesting year for nominations. I’m curious what you all thought?

This week I wanted to focus on Paranormal Activity and its phenomenal success so far. First off, I’ll go ahead and come clean: YEAH, I’M JEALOUS! They spent less than one percent than I did making the movie and have made 400 percent more than I have? (Well, let’s just say they’ve made a lot more money with their movie than I have.)

Okay, now that I’ve come clean, I want to focus on what Paranormal Activity’s success tells us. I have a few theories and would be curious to hear from you, if you have others to add:

1. It’s a 400 percent better movie than I made.
Obviously, I’m not objective on this one. But I’d have to guess—even if some would argue that it is a superior movie to The Last Lullaby—I don’t think even our most adamant haters would concede that it’s 400 percent better. And I’m sure many people would actually say it’s inferior to the movie we made.

So if that’s not it, then…

2. It’s a horror movie with a much more definable demographic than we have.
What I’ve discovered in this process is that probably no other genre has an audience that’s as unified and supportive as the horror movie genre. But there have been numerous horror movies in the last several years that have cost much more to make and have had much more money with which to market themselves. Yet, they haven’t performed like Paranormal Activity.

So that can’t be the only explanation either. If that’s not it then…

3. The marketing team behind Paranormal Activity is working with more money but also in a smarter way than the marketing teams behind most small movies.
I don’t know Paramount’s exact marketing budget for Paranormal Activity, but at this point they have to be spending at least several million dollars pumping the word out to the masses. But that’s only after they pushed the movie over the tipping point and knew that they would be compensated for their marketing dollars. Their extremely intelligent use of Eventful should make all of us stop and think about using a similar method on our next productions. And their use of Twitter (they’re asking all of their fans to “tweet your scream”) and throwing Paranormal Activity parties for the first 10 theaters that sell out their 12:01 a.m. showtime on October 23, 2009. As far as I’m concerned, this movie is a marketing class for all of us as we move forward.

Sure, you might have one percent of the marketing budget they had, but things like their Twitter campaign and this idea of throwing parties at select theaters, all of us could probably emulate. Take time to look at and study their Website; it’s the best I’ve seen as we enter this new era of independent moviemaking.

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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