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Liam

How important is a social media "presence"?

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For the small time filmmakers, sometimes I feel like popularity is the only thing that matters. literally posting a lot about filming, and becoming a personality, is said by many to be very important, even just for submitting to a festival.. like it's not just about the quality of your film.

I feel really weird about advertising myself, especially to friends and family, and pretending I'm interesting

I'd rather slowly build up a following on vimeo by making films I'm proud of maybe.. which is obviously possible, but yeah.. do any of you do this? Thoughts?

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29 minutes ago, Liam said:

For the small time filmmakers, sometimes I feel like popularity is the only thing that matters. literally posting a lot about filming, and becoming a personality, is said by many to be very important, even just for submitting to a festival.. like it's not just about the quality of your film.

I feel really weird about advertising myself, especially to friends and family, and pretending I'm interesting

I'd rather slowly build up a following on vimeo by making films I'm proud of maybe.. which is obviously possible, but yeah.. do any of you do this? Thoughts?

Ed David should be able to weigh in on the 'pretending I'm interesting' part. ;)

My thinking is that if your work is good, and you get it out there, others will recognise it and it will take off. Festivals are a good measure as the programmers need to be up to speed on what constitutes good cinema.

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I have a friend that used to never want to have anything to do with social media. Then again, he also paid for everything cash, because who knows who's keeping track of the digital traces you leave behind. Now that he has started his own business, he's all about social media and without embracing it he probably would never have seen the growth he has now. Unfortunately you're better of being an attention whore than keeping faith you will catch your break eventually. Your content might be king, but if it doesn't reach the eyeballs of someone recognizing your talent because you're hoping they will bump into it magically, opposed to actively promoting your material... then maybe there's something to it after all. Of course, being true to yourself is a noble thing... so if you can manage to get by without selling your soul then by all means stay sane! In the end of it, it's all a matter of perspective... there's 2 things in particular you mention... 'popularity is the only thing that matters' & 'making films I'm proud of'. Which is the more important one? Of course you can do something in between... like just showing some natural excitement for what you're doing by sharing little bits and pieces, keeping people in the loop... rather than just having to come across forced and spammy.

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I subscribe to the theory that if you do good work, you get noticed.  Now, you can work it the other way, and many do, but how genuine and authentic is the result?  You have to decide.

(Of course, not many people know who I am, and might never know)

Now... that's for self promotion.  

As for FILM promotion, social media is a good tool.  Targeting info to like minded people that are inclined to enjoy and buy your creative efforts is a lot smarter than advertising to random folks who wouldn't care.

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Important and not important at the same time.  All depends on what you do with it.  We have always opted to build it a bit slower while trying to maintain some sanity and our personalities.  No Vlogs, not a ton of face time, no trade shows.  We live pretty normal lives on a day to day basis. 

You can build it really quickly by just playing the game (being fake, like you said)...but those people just end up being D League Celebs.  Know what you want to do, if being a D League Celeb is your goal...go for it man.  You won't be the only one.  If you want to do something unique and different...just do it.  There's no right or wrong way.  Build your own image and show people what you want to show them.  Generally you can't force it, if I tried to do Vlogs every day they would be horrid.  I'm not Casey Neistat and there's no point in pretending that I am.  Do you because there are other people like you and they will relate because they can tell you're being real.

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It is better to get your stuff in front of ten right people that in front of 10.000 lurkers on Instagram. No one gives a damn what you publish on Vimeo, etc... unless you can make it seen. For this you need some kind of credible release plattform (film festival, fashion show, exhibition, features etc.... Collaborations with other circles work for us pretty well to get new people recognise what we are doing....

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Theres plenty of DP's who have gotten work through vimeo and instagram. Just listen to the wandering DP podcast where some of the newer players talk about hoe theyve established themselves. 

But its important to have good work to show before going wild with social media. 

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I can weigh in on this. 

About 18 months ago I was frustrated because I'd get a lot of very flattering positive comments and reviews about my work, but not really seeing the benefit of this financially. 

Unfortunately these days, if you're able to give yourself a great social media presence but you're work is mediocre (as compared to a poor social media presence with incredible work) - it's more likely the former will be more successful. 

I've been studying the "business" and "social media" side of things on a course, and although it would take me far too long to say everything here, the overall conclusion is that marketing does come before your art. Social media is the No.1 distribution platform, so if you're not bothering with it, it could be very difficult to get anywhere. 

I've only just now, this week, picked up my social media strategy. I'm not being false, I'm not doing monetised reviews or any of that crap, I'll just be documenting what I do in bite sizes, and what value I'm able to deliver and help out (in a very non-salesy, authentic, organic, real way). I'm just going to be myself. I'll show what I'm doing as it is. 

I'm also camera shy. So there's that too. 

The difficulty I've had is my creative side feeling starved. The benefit is, I'm hungry to create and the artistic side is about to receive a mighty, mighty push. 

I advise anybody to use social media to show your work and value. But be real and authentic, or the audience will see the "fakeness" a mile off. 

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Yeah, if I see another 'any filmmakers want to support eachother?' or 'hey, I saw you're into filmmaking, check out my channel, I've got lots of cool stuff going on there!' copy & paste forced desperation comment on YouTube, Imma smack a bitch! :lol: But there's few filmmakers that can generate genuine excitement by just sparking your curiosity... of course crowdfunding has taken things to new levels, more than ever you're able to involve people and creating excitement and recognition for your work. Then there's Facebook. Like, the amount of housewives and Starbucks hipsters etc that will share your project pages... it's insane how many people you can reach. Just... get and keep them interested and hungry for more, that's the real trick of course. Like Oliver's saying, social media really has become part of business and it's an industry on it's own with its own professions, so of course it's easier said than done.

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It's very important now unfortunately. Don't expect to get picked up or noticed by someone simply browsing vimeo or spreading your work. Starting a youtube page myself this week on top of my instagram just to get more attention drawn to myself.

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13 hours ago, Neumann Films said:

Important and not important at the same time.  All depends on what you do with it.  We have always opted to build it a bit slower while trying to maintain some sanity and our personalities.  No Vlogs, not a ton of face time, no trade shows.  We live pretty normal lives on a day to day basis. 

You can build it really quickly by just playing the game (being fake, like you said)...but those people just end up being D League Celebs.  Know what you want to do, if being a D League Celeb is your goal...go for it man.  You won't be the only one.  If you want to do something unique and different...just do it.  There's no right or wrong way.  Build your own image and show people what you want to show them.  Generally you can't force it, if I tried to do Vlogs every day they would be horrid.  I'm not Casey Neistat and there's no point in pretending that I am.  Do you because there are other people like you and they will relate because they can tell you're being real.

This is all true and there's an organic way to grow your following so you end up with a truer bunch of people, or you can play the numbers game. Anybody can pay to bump up their numbers on social media, I don't believe these accounts showing 150k followers and 200 likes per post genuinely engage 150,000 people otherwise they would have more than 200 likes and comments.

The content should speak to an audience, preferably a niche one at first.

Presentation is important online by the way... and Liam you could start with putting some effort into your profile picture ;)

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5 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

Presentation is important online by the way... and Liam you could start with putting some effort into your profile picture ;)

I knowww, sorry.. I had to bump up the iso way too high

 

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7 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

This is all true and there's an organic way to grow your following so you end up with a truer bunch of people, or you can play the numbers game. Anybody can pay to bump up their numbers on social media, I don't believe these accounts showing 150k followers and 200 likes per post genuinely engage 150,000 people otherwise they would have more than 200 likes and comments.

The content should speak to an audience, preferably a niche one at first.

Presentation is important online by the way... and Liam you could start with putting some effort into your profile picture ;)

 

Yep, I'm always banging on about this in the office. 

Buying your followers to look good doesn't create any kind of organic high quality.

I'd rather have 50 followers who offer great insight, communication and value rather than 500,000 random buggers who couldn't give a monkeys. 

Here's my take on social network needs and where your ideal audience could be....

I'm only just this week sorting it the f**k out so I don't die of starvation from lack of self created content sharing on social media. 

Facebook

Fun, informative and interesting content that's widely appealing and shareable. You HAVE to "boost" for anyone to actually see anything though. It does work. Very powerful if done right. 

Instagram

Visually exciting, conceptual, artistic content. This is where you show off your stylish stuff. 

Twitter

Personal insights and conversations. Sadly I've never got into it. Don't think I ever will. Zzzzzzzz. 

LinkedIn

Powerful as fuck if you're hooking up with other professionals for work. Should be a priority if you're doing filming for work. 

Snapchat

Where you're you. A human. A selfie human. I'm signed up but I'M PETRIFIED. 

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Twitter is only good for arguments. A total piece of crap.

Instagram is nice... but until now the one I used least. It has a lifestyle / showing off culture that I don't go for. But I'm going to start posting more on it. It's useful when linked to Facebook so you can post a photo on both with just one app. You can link it to Twitter too so you never need to go on Twitter! Even better!

Snapchat has a younger audience. It may not be the right target for filmmakers. It's a more personal friend-to-friend thing.

Linkedin - it took me 5 years to get them to stop sending me spam and the email notifications recently started up again out of nowhere - I wish they'd BURN!

GOOGLE AND YOUTUBE - now this is where the real action is at. This is how people will notice your content. But only if it's relevant.

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Frankly at this point anything you read from the motivation guru industry on social marketing isn't worth much at all. Books on how to become "known" and the like. The authors know damn well that the way things worked for them won't work for you (technically they will, but nowhere near as well) which is why they're willing to tell you all they know for a $9.99 ebook. Also the internet is the great haven for survivorship bias as for every Andrew Kramer making huge money with the internet and social media there are tens of thousands doing the same things and seeing zip

So basically, if everyone else is instagramming their way to great gigs, then don't expect anywhere near their success starting from scratch. Learn to manipulate Google and Youtube because I'd bet 99 out of 100 filmmakers don't know jack shit about search engine optimization and you can sweep up a nice audience there (and then make real money selling "seo for filmmakers" books and seminars five years later)

Personally, you won't find me on any social media, because I don't have time to do it halfway, and unless you're willing to go all out (and become the aforementioned D list celeb instead of a filmmaker) your time is better off face to face networking and building referrals from that.

5 hours ago, Oliver Daniel said:

so if you're not bothering with it, it could be very difficult to get anywhere

I've built a creative career with zero percent social media presence, 20% web presence, and 80% face to face presence 

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1 hour ago, silvertonesx24 said:

Frankly at this point anything you read from the motivation guru industry on social marketing isn't worth much at all. Books on how to become "known" and the like. The authors know damn well that the way things worked for them won't work for you (technically they will, but nowhere near as well) which is why they're willing to tell you all they know for a $9.99 ebook. Also the internet is the great haven for survivorship bias as for every Andrew Kramer making huge money with the internet and social media there are tens of thousands doing the same things and seeing zip

So basically, if everyone else is instagramming their way to great gigs, then don't expect anywhere near their success starting from scratch. Learn to manipulate Google and Youtube because I'd bet 99 out of 100 filmmakers don't know jack shit about search engine optimization and you can sweep up a nice audience there (and then make real money selling "seo for filmmakers" books and seminars five years later)

Personally, you won't find me on any social media, because I don't have time to do it halfway, and unless you're willing to go all out (and become the aforementioned D list celeb instead of a filmmaker) your time is better off face to face networking and building referrals from that.

I've built a creative career with zero percent social media presence, 20% web presence, and 80% face to face presence 

Yup, face to face wins out when it comes to landing jobs.  For the most part.  Some people hire based on social presence alone but its rare.

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The only work I've gotten via social media is making DCPs for indie filmmakers. But that doesn't exactly pay the bills. That's more for what my dad used to call "walkin' around money." My bread and butter is cutting featurettes and other marketing content for the major studios. And those jobs come from real life relationships. That being said, I've somehow put together 15,000+ film-industry related followers across FB, twitter and IG. Not a ton, but it has raised my profile enough that when I bring a film to a distributor, they already know who I am. And I think that helps curtail any lowball offers or shady practices, i assume because they know I have an audience -- not that I would wield my social media presence as a weapon, but you know. To me, this question boils down to "do you want a fighting chance to have people to see your work?" and I do. An active social media presence is not the only a powerful component to achieve that.

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Although I'm no social media expert, I presume the reason for your question is, you love working with cameras and want to up the living you are able to make using them...with all humans there is a certain level of marketing taking place....our choice of clothing when going out with someone and on and on...and most successful artists are very good at marketing themselves...and this goes far beyond social media...let's say....you're a painter....you succeed in talking a gallery into giving you a show....opening night comes and now, all who come to see your show AND expect good quality face time with you, the artist....they are buying you as well as the work...of course, most people are not cut out for this...but...as Luke mentioned, their approach is low key....there is a quality of life they choose to accompany what they do....on the other side of the spectrum is Casey and it's him you buy, when you watch his Vlog....The in between is huge and where you fit, is for you to evaluate....only you can answer that question...Terrence Mallick is famously reclusive...no larger than life public persona....in fact, absolutely none...so sometimes sheer brilliance alone is enough, though that is surely the exception...the reason Casey is so popular (never heard of him till 3 weeks ago) probably has to do with the fact that what you see, is who he is...he's enjoying himself and it feels authentic, whether it's your thing or not...so the trick IMO is really to gauge where you are...how public can you go....if you won an Academy Award, could you get up there and accept (Mallick would, and probably could not!)...I can only speak for myself, but I think a lot of filmmakers are behind the camera because they're shy....of course many are not!...I do think the most important question to oneself is, can I handle it if my work takes me where I hope it does....my sister-in-law is a good example....she's a printer/painter but for my taste really a graphic artist....she'll never cut her ear off for a prostitute, but have made a great living, as her work looks good in corporate worlds, or great for decorators to use in homes they do...but most importantly, at her shows she owns the room...so though nothing specific in advice for you, I believe the philosophy is always the same...

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I think it's important for people to see that you're working and remind them that you're out there. I follow tons of local filmmakers and the ones who I see posting set-pictures or stills from a project are the ones that stay in the front of my brain. When I need to bring on an extra shooter, the first people I think of are likely to be the ones who I've most recently seen sharing their work. You can pimp yourself out however much you want (or not), but we as filmmakers shouldn't be afraid of sharing our work. 

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