Getting a job as a filmmaker is unlike most professions. For the most part, you get hired based on the work you’ve created or been a part of. So once you have a couple of projects under your belt, you want to be able to show them to the right people and get exposure. Here are a few steps to market yourself as a filmmaker:
1. Take advantage of YouTube
Social media has proven to jump start careers and turn projects into big movies and TV shows. Platforms like YouTube have provided filmmakers with a free space to showcase their work. Though, with so many videos on YouTube, how do you drive traffic to your video? Here are some tips:
- Tags – There are certain keywords that you can use when tagging your video that will make it easier for people to find your project. You’ll want to keep tags very general at first, so for example, if your film is a zombie horror film, you’d want to tag words like horror, suspense, zombies, action, etc. This will allow YouTube’s search engine to drive traffic to whoever is looking for a good horror film.
- Thumbnail – The first image a viewer will see is going to be the thumbnail you chose for your video. A lot of videos on YouTube will have interesting and colorful images so it’ll draw more attention to the eye. You’ll want to put some effort into these. You can use photo editing and illustrating software to create some sort of image that will convey what the film is about while also keeping it interesting.
- Title – It might seem obvious, but choosing a proper title will define for certain viewers whether they’ll invest the time to look at your work or not. You want this to be like the headline for a newspaper. It’ll turn heads and make the viewer dig deeper, either because it’s mysterious or straight forward.
These are only a few tips that will help with marketing directly inside of YouTube, but to grow your audience to its full potential, you need to cover ground the old fashion way – meeting people.
2. Networking is King
Remember when you used to meet people face to face? The film industry remembers, and it remains true to this day. A good way to show people your capabilities as a filmmaker is to go to events that people in the film industry will be at. It might seem obvious, but going to film festivals is a fantastic way to mingle with people in the film industry. You’ll find actors, producers, writers, directors, gaffers and pretty much anybody who’ll be relevant to the industry. In addition, going to places like comedy clubs and theaters with the intention of meeting people, you will make those valuable connections, if not people currently working in the industry, people who are aspiring to. Those people are equally valuable because they might end up being the next Quentin Tarantino. Remember that Quentin used to work at a video store before he became a renowned director. To conclude, if you want to find people with the same goals as yours, try to find different places where they will be at.
3. Give away as much content as possible
Everyone will take something free even if they don’t need it. Why? Simply because it has no cost to them. Find those people who will want or need some sort of video production. Here are some of them:
- Music Videos – Find a musician that you have direct access to and offer them a free music video for them. Even if you don’t have the ideal equipment, with some effort and creativity you will have a fine product for your demo reel and you’ll also get promoted by the musician since he’ll make sure people will see that video.
- Acting Reel – There are always actors trying to display their acting skills, because just like you they will get hired based on the work they’ve done. Find any actor looking for a reel and provide them with one. They will certainly appreciate your efforts to make them look good.
- Sports Videos – Whether it be a football player trying to send his footage to colleges so he can get a scholarship or a skater trying to show off his skills to his friends, there is a tremendous amount of opportunity when diving into the sports world with a camera. Every sporting event will require some sort of recording, and you can be that resource. Talk to your high school or college and get permission (or not) to record the event.
- Parties – If all else fails, find a friend or relative whose celebration is coming up and offer to film it. Everyone will appreciate it since it will become a piece of memorabilia for the people involved and they will brag about your skills to everyone they know.
4. Add print to your marketing tool-kit
People still read, at least some of them do. Finding some sort of print to promote your work will still remain valuable. A good, accessible resource would be finding your local newspaper and speaking with someone will give you space within their newspaper to showcase your talent. If you make a video relevant to something that’s going on in your town and present it to the newspaper they will have some interest to write an article about it. Integrate some journalism skills and apply it to your filmmaking tool belt. It will give you an upper hand in the industry and you might meet some good people along the way.
5. Good work will speak for itself
Of course, the biggest way to market your videos is the integrity and quality of your work itself. Don’t try to cut corners and rush things if you don’t feel they are ready. Rushing through your work will only hurt your chances of getting hired. In an industry saturated with repetitive and mundane work, investing the extra time to make it creative will allow your work to stand out. Explore what gets a positive reaction from people by showing your friends and adjusting accordingly based on their feedback. It’s always good to get a second opinion. Finally, challenge yourself to think outside the box in order to promote your filmmaking skills. A lot of times deviating from the norm will play to your advantage, especially in film. You’ll need something to be unique and have a voice that people will gravitate towards.
Marketing is probably not what we signed up for when we thought of pursuing film, but that doens’t mean that we should ignore it. Also, the practice of marketing your filmmaking abilities should simple, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to implement. Always remember to continuously practice the points mentioned here, it’s curicial that film makers understand the importance of using themselves as a trajectory for success.