As the owner of a small indie film and music company, Latin Thug Productions, I constantly have to discover new ways to promote and market my film and video releases with smaller and smaller budgets.
One recent project was a comedy documentary film called “The Main Room” about becoming a stand-up comedian and starring Pauly Shore, Howie Mandel, Bob Saget, Roseanne Barr, and some other famous comedians.
We knew our audience was comprised of comedy fans, so we attacked comedy clubs and created flyers and little table-top tent cards that promoted the DVD. We talked to some agents who handle comedians and were able to get some mailing lists and email lists of comedy clubs across the country. We sent them sample DVDs and the promo materials and asked for their help in promoting the film.
We also were able to do a contest with The World Famous Comedy Store, and offer a free pass inside each DVD. This gave them some extra publicity and promotion and gave us something extra to offer to buyers. The club still makes money as people who get in for free still drink their alcohol and order their food.
To promote the film, we held a screening at The Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood and invited press and media to watch the movie in hopes they would write about it and help get us some visibility.
We are seeing more and more of the indie movie business shifted to the online world, both for sales of physical DVDs and now to actual digital downloads. This is good, as the costs to market and promote projects have also dropped in some respects. We can do less physical marketing, posters, flyers, and other things, and concentrate on online marketing and promotion, all with the idea of increasing the visibility of our projects and also to drive sales. If it doesn’t increase sales, it’s not worth doing. Sometimes we are spending the same marketing and promotion budget, but it’s just going toward human work, online promotion, and social networking, not printing and producing things that will eventually be thrown away. It’s a new world out there; we are working twice as hard and making half the money we did 10 years ago.
Personally, I have seen the future as I subscribe to Netflix and now watch many movies and TV shows via streaming. I’m excited about the future because everyone still needs content, even if the methods of delivery change. Good promotion is about identifying your audience and where they are, or what they read or do, then get in their face and let them know about your product, service or idea and that will never change.