By Brad Wilke
As an independent content creator (or filmmaker, if you’re old school), it’s imperative that you own your audience. Gone are the days when you can rely on a distributor, film festival, or aggregator to do the work of building awareness, selling tickets, or getting people to care about what you made.
And that’s the good news.
With the tools and resources available today, there’s never been a better time to launch a career as an independent filmmaker. It could be as easy as picking up your phone, grabbing a few friends, and spending a weekend shooting a feature film. You could also take the time to develop the script, plan the shoot, and rehearse the actors beforehand in hopes of making something that stands out from the crowd. And it’s the same with your digital strategy.
Most filmmakers don’t launch their film’s digital strategy until they begin to prep for their festival premiere, which is much too late for it to have any real impact. Savvy filmmakers get started in pre-production, and their strategy includes objectives and key metrics that connect their engagement efforts with their overall goals for both the film as well as their burgeoning filmmaking careers.
Your objectives should include words like “increase,” “establish,” and “engage,” and your key metrics should focus on rates, not raw numbers. For instance, engagement rate trumps post “likes,” and audience growth rate is a better indicator of success than total page likes.
There’s a big difference between community management (which typically includes updating channels and responding to comments) and digital strategy, which connects your community management tactics with your overall film (and career) goals. One without the other can only get you so far; you need both to be successful.
Of course, something is better than nothing, but if you’re willing to take the time to build an audience via a value-added digital strategy that not only promotes your film, but participates in the broader #indiefilm conversations, you’ll find, over time, that you’ve created a sustainable audience base from which to launch new projects, monetize finished ones, and support the work of fellow filmmakers.
About Brad Wilke:
Brad Wilke (@jbwilke) is an award-winning filmmaker, produced feature-length screenwriter, and film programmer for the Seattle International Film Festival. Brad holds an MBA from the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business, as well as a Master of Communication in Digital Media from the UW.
About Smarthouse Creative:
Smarthouse Creative is a full-service publicity and digital strategy agency that works with independent content creators (and organizations that support them) to amplify and promote good work to appreciative and engaged audiences. Team Smarthouse is Ryan Davis, Jessica Marx, and Brad Wilke.
It’s your last day to submit an application to the Filmworks Innovation Lab!
This program offers funding assistance as a return on qualified in-state expenditures on the production of motion picture content (including labor and talent that reside in Washington State). Projects must spend between $25,000 – $499,999 in Washington and must be 50% funded to apply. 75% of the budget must be spent in Washington State and 75% of production days must take place in Washington State. 85% of the workforce must be Washington residents as well.
Please remember to review the Guidelines & Criteria for the full selection criteria. The PowerPoint presentation is another good tool to use when completing your application. Any questions can be directed to Lab@WashingtonFilmworks.org, or you can call the Washington Filmworks office. Please note, if you didn’t attend one of the Innovation Lab Application meetings in Seattle, Spokane, or Bellingham, you need to schedule a call with our staff.
Tomorrow’s August Film + Music + Interactive Happy Hour will celebrate the return of the popular Pulling Focus series. Come mix and mingle with the film industry professionals behind the Pulling Focus series at the August 27 Happy Hour. Pulling Focus is produced by Washington Filmworks and hosted by Northwest Film Forum and the Seattle International Film Festival. The events are also presented in partnership with the Seattle Office of Film + Music, Seattle Film Institute, and Women In Film.
Mark your calendars for August 27 from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm at Spitfire (2219 4th Avenue, Seattle).
Pulling Focus is a series in Seattle and Spokane that focuses on the business of film. These panel discussions, moderated by Warren Etheredge, Host of Reel NW and Editor-At-Large of Media Inc., are designed to speak to a diverse audience, from screenwriters to actors, from directors to producers and on to musicians. The goal is to elevate the conversation and design a dialogue that will have a little something for everyone and will help give our community a rock-solid education about how to make the passion for film into a career. Guests are encouraged to continue the conversation at a cocktail reception after the panel discussion.
The first event will be held in Seattle during the Northwest Film Forum ‘s ever-popular Local Sightings Film Festival on Wednesday, October 1. Stay tuned for Spokane event dates, guests bios and ticket info.
Filmmakers, now’s the time! Submit your Innovation Lab applications now through August 28 for your chance to receive funding assistance for your production. You’ll want to be sure to read the Guidelines & Criteria and review the PowerPoint slides from the mandatory application meetings before submitting.
The Filmworks Innovation Lab offers funding assistance as a return on qualified in-state expenditures on the production of motion picture content (including labor and talent who are Washington State residents). Projects must spend between $25,000 – $499,999 in Washington.
On July 24, the Washington State Labor Council voted unanimously for continued support of Washington Filmworks at the 2014 Convention of the Washington State Labor Council.
Supporters of the resolution included SAG-AFTRA, IATSE Local 488 and Teamsters Local 174. Rik Deskin, who was the SAG-AFTRA delegate to the Labor Council Convention, amended the resolution from the floor right before it was voted up on the last day of the Convention, which ran from July 22-24 at the Wenatchee Convention Center.
According to the WSLC’s website, delegates representing the WSLC’s more than 500 affiliated labor organizations, with some 400,000 rank-and-file members, gathered to hear from distinguished labor, government and community leaders and to set the course for the state’s largest union organization in the coming year. See the 2014 WSLC Resolutions, as approved by convention delegates.
The full text of the resolution to continue support for Washington Filmworks can be seen below.
Continued Support For Washington Filmworks
Submitted by IATSE 488 (Co-sponsored by SAG-AFTRA Seattle Local)
WHEREAS, Washington State continues to look to grow revenue and create jobs for Washington resident workers; and
WHEREAS, leaders of both the executive and legislative branches have indicated an intention to intensively review all government programs to determine their economic sustainability; and
WHEREAS, past experience has shown a glaring lack of public understanding of the Washington Filmworks program which supports the production of television, commercial and motion picture projects; and
WHEREAS, Washington Filmworks has attracted over 92 projects to the State that have had over $232 million of economic impact statewide; and
WHEREAS, Washington Filmworks’ projects have created thousands of union and family wage jobs that provide health and retirement benefits for the state’s actors, technical support workers, and production support businesses; and
WHEREAS, Washington Filmworks committed all $3.5M in available funds by May, 2014, and no longer has funds available to commit to deserving productions that provide employment of thousands of workers; and
WHEREAS, more than thirty-eight states currently provide similar and even greater financial support for film and video productions; and
WHEREAS, there is a rich body of evidence that proves the effectiveness of production incentives in the creation of non-polluting, well paid, sustainable work; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, support legislation ensuring that the State commit to funding Washington Filmworks at a level that increases the competitiveness of Washington State’s motion picture industry and ensures job creation and economic development opportunities across the state.
New Latest Work
Congratulations to World Famous, a production company based in Seattle. They are now featured in the Latest Work section of Commercialize Seattle. This business development campaign is designed to drive production and advertising to the region and the Latest Work section of the Commercialize Seattle website showcases some of the very best commercial work coming out of Seattle and Washington State.
Explain yourself, World Famous: Our passion is creating stories. Using visual media, sound design and narrative voice, we build lasting kinship between brands and fans. Tony Fulgham and Alan Nay have plumbed the depths of Seattle’s vibrant creative community and rounded up a frisky gang of hyper-talented directors, designers, musicians, artists, dreamers and doers. Our staff of 15 is nimble, inventive and tireless, staying up to date on developing trends and technologies while offering the personal service clients expect.
Why Should You Submit New Work?
When we’re out selling the region as one of the best places in the world to make commercials, we point people to the Latest Work section on the Commercialize Seattle website to show them what we can do here! The campaign highlights locally made commercials and is a hub where brands and agencies look to find great talent. Local production companies and ad agencies should register and learn more.
We frequently showcase new work, so get registered and submit. Then we can show you off to the world. Remember, advertising is the best thing any of us can do!