In two weeks Serpentine goes into production. With our locations secured and cast and crew locked, this is the phase in which there are numerous details to attend to. From printing posters, to purchasing a new laptop, American flag and external hard drives, it’s a methodical checking off the list of all the things that are needed to produce a film. For me it’s about organization. I produce dramas not seek to create them in real life.
Past all the aforementioned details, there’s also the creative side, from being in touch with the actors regarding their characters to the crew for various shots and other production matters. Producing a film is a team effort one that requires the cooperation of numerous parties. While the director may conduct the orchestra, you do need an orchestra!
As for the creative side, as we are filming just the first ten pages of the feature length version the end of the month, I wanted to give this short a name. For Justice Is Mind we called that short film version Evidence. For Serpentine it will be called The Short Program. I think this is a fitting title. First, this is a short film. In figure skating the short program is, to quote Wikipedia, “The short program of figure skating is usually the first of two phases in figure skating competitions.” As this short is phase one of the Serpentine project that’s another reason for the name.
Earlier this week I updated Serpentine’s IMDb listing. For this short film alone there are just over 35 people and companies. When you hear someone say it takes a village to make a film, they are speaking the truth! For those that wish to get into this industry, I always tell them to try to visit a film set at some point to see what’s involved.
But the one thing that I will be working on today is our press release announcing that Serpentine is going into production with The Short Program. Anyone that has worked with me on my past projects knows how much I believe in promotion. And when someone signs on to one of my projects, I promote them at every opportunity. Case in point when I was marketing Justice Is Mind. It was always great to include the cast, crew and our partners whenever I could.
The marketing of a film is just as important as its making. Without promotion there is no audience. While today’s world of VOD is great for the independent filmmaker, if your audience isn’t told about your project how can they ever find it? To this day, I continue to promote First World, Evidence and Justice Is Mind. When one thinks of the enormous amount of time to develop and make a film, why wouldn’t you promote them regularly? As they say the proof is in the pudding when you see a consistent placement on IMDb along with VOD streams.
But there is one thing I do need to find for this particular production. It was a gift from Tara Lipinski after we photographed her for the magazine I used to publish. It’s been in my basement since I moved back from Los Angeles.
I come from a world of brand building. Having once worked in the sales department at TIME magazine and being on the same floor marketing it was there they built a brand to stand the test of “time”. Life is interesting. You can be in the middle of learning something important and you don’t pay any attention to it at the time. Dare I say it…Time Life?
I’ve talked before about taking my experiences from publishing to filmmaking with one of those being distribution. But also carried forward from that experience was brand development. Whether it’s print or online a brand is a brand. It all comes down to consistency. But it also means testing to see where your audience is coming from in terms of demographics. Trust me, this is something distributors will want to know – your audience.
Last Thursday, the trailer for Justice Is Mind was released and I could not be more pleased with the results to date. With over 1,000 views on YouTube the trailer has already started to be picked up by other sites like MovieWeb. As part of the distribution mix for Justice will include digital platforms, the numbers are showing an interesting pattern already. Facebook is recording 50.4% of women between the age groups of 25-54 with men at 48.7% in the same age group. As for YouTube our top demographics are men 45-65 with women at 55-64 years. You remember my post from last week when The Wrap talked about older audiences? Justice is following that trend. One of the panelists in that article stated, “When we started the National Research Group 35 years ago, moviegoing was a young person’s domain. Older people went to the movies, but we stopped sampling after the age of 49. The target audience ranged from teenagers to the late 40s. Now it goes up to the mid-60s.”
I cannot thank enough all our supporters for posting, sharing, liking and tweeting the trailer for Justice Is Mind. It’s very encouraging as a filmmaker to see your project supported by so many. But Justice isn’t just about me. It may have been when I first wrote the script, but the moment cameras started to roll for the short film and then the feature others are now part of the mix. Independent filmmakers and their constituents need this type of support to move projects forward. A quick like or comment goes a long away. Of course you can’t please everyone. But even when someone posts a negative comment they are amplifying the project for someone else to see.
As for promotion, I highly recommended promoted posts on Facebook. For the first time I tested this type of advertising. A $10 investment on the post that included the link to our YouTube trailer page yielded 2,738 that saw the post in their news feeds. I’d say that’s a worthwhile investment!
With early numbers and demographics in hand, I start Monday to promote the trailer in earnest to interested media and distributors while I plan the next release event for Justice Is Mind – stay tuned.