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fuzzynormal

I’m F’in Stupid, Now Tell Me Why.

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Okay, after years of corporate funnin’ and making a living that-a-way, had some savings set aside that really allowed me to devote a chunk of a year to making a movie and then self releasing it. From start to finish, it’s all a DIY effort from just two people, myself and my wife. 

So we know production enough to get by, but after we jumped through those hoops and made the product, I stepped into an arena that crushed my old ignorant ass: marketing and social media. 

I mean, I feel like what my wife and I do as filmmakers is decent, we’re not as accomplished and polished as some in the craft, but we enjoy what we do and are proud of it.

... But basically, we got a modest little film and can’t seem to find a strategy that allows me to sell it in any financially rewarding way. 

I’m a cook that’s trying to plate a decent meal, but can’t figure out how to leave the kitchen.

Marketing and promotions, I feel so lost and stupid.  We’d love to pay a publicist 20k and make their magic happen, but all the coins went into the production budget.  Now what?

So, I’d like to ax you’s guys to take a peek at my online naïveté.

When it comes to promotions, where am I screwing up?  Is it obvious to you?  ‘Kuz it ain’t to me, and I’d love some advice. 

Links below.  They show the current efforts. Mostly FB, IG, the usual suspects.  I do dislike social media and my bias is probably betraying my ambition...?

What do you see? Maybe more important, what do you NOT see? Thanks for your help!

https://www.path88productions.com

https://www.path88productions.com/film-screenings-calendar

https://www.facebook.com/path88prod

https://www.instagram.com/path88productions/

https://www.flyingfurfilm.com

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Interesting topic, shitty predicament.

I know very little about this stuff but I did take a glance at your IG page and I don’t think you’re following enough people. Instagram is a... you “like” my photo, I “like” your photo kind of game. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there that will start following you just so you follow them and once you do, they stop following you.

You also need a lot more hashtags so people will come across your posts. But you have way more followers than I have, so what do I know.

@Mattias Burling has a great IG page and may be able to help. 

Also, maybe start liking and following posts from people who host animal planet shows. 

I’d also assume, but unsure, that frequency of posts, may affect where you appear on people’s feed.

And finally, you may want to look into putting your film onto Amazon Prime. I believe they have some program where you get paid X amount of cents for every minute watched... or something like that.

Otherwise, reach out to different sites to review your documentary. Buy banner ads on those same movie review sites.

Sadly, the state of indie film distribution isn’t what it used to be and it isn’t as easy as it once was to make a film and sell it to a distributor and if you do, it’s my understanding, you’re lucky to make your money back... and by make your money back, hopefully you spent less than a few grand on it. 

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If you add up the “sweat equity” of professional time put into the production, it’s kind of crazy how expensive the film should be —but we all know the words to that particular song.

I’m doing an accounting of the true film expenses next month. All of it. Travel, food, lodging, rentals, etc. Reckoning time. Yikes. 

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You need to identify what niche markets would this film appeal to. Then hit them!


You also need to be clearer in what you're promoting, I read you entire post and I didn't even know what the name of your film is :-/  That is shocking, you should take every opportunity to mention it! (heck, I didn't even know the TOPIC of your doco from this thread!)

You need to shout its name loudly from the rooftops! "FLYING FUR"!

Also, how come when I go to youtube I can't see the trailer anywhere? It is all well and good having your trailer on Vimeo, but you need it on YouTube as well! You'll pick up far more organic views there on YT than you ever would on Vimeo. 

Plus what is your elevator pitch? You need to make that point more clear cut in your marketing. 

59 minutes ago, fuzzynormal said:

You're never using any relevant hashtags, how is anyone going to find you?

13 minutes ago, fuzzynormal said:

I’m doing an accounting of the true film expenses next month. All of it. Travel, food, lodging, rentals, etc. Reckoning time. Yikes. 


One of your many niche groups you could target is indie filmmakers, you could write up about your journey, put out a BTS mini doco video, etc

For instance if you got yourself featured on for example NoFilmSchool, then that would be a win! (because for as much as I dislike what NFS is in 2019, it still does get a lot of traffic)

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Also, I think you may be charging too much for your rental fee on Vimeo. I assume it’s an upsell price in hopes they will just buy it but since it is on Vimeo, a lot of people would watch that on their phone, who wants to watch a long documentary on their phone? And if they do, I don’t know if they would want to pay more than .99 cents for it.

With the Amazon angle, your title will appear next to other animal programs and documentaries as a whole. And a lot more people watch Amazon on their TVs, so if you decide to monetize your doc instead of the pennies per view idea, you could probably yield a lot of views at .99 cents for the rental, or $2.99 to purchase... but with Amazon you need to go through some hoops like having a closed caption file...

Thanks for posting this. As I try to make my film, I constantly think about how or what I will do with it once it’s completed. 

Unfortunately, the democratization of filmmaking makes it a little more difficult for people’s work to be seen with all of the competition out there and so many people expect everything on the internet to be free, it’s really hard to make any money.

38 minutes ago, fuzzynormal said:

If you add up the “sweat equity” of professional time put into the production, it’s kind of crazy how expensive the film should be —but we all know the words to that particular song.

I’m doing an accounting of the true film expenses next month. All of it. Travel, food, lodging, rentals, etc. Reckoning time. Yikes. 

I can only imagine. As a filmmaker, I think there’s a constant struggle between making a short film as a showpiece or making a feature for some sort of profit.

Sadly, both seems to be a fool’s errand. When was the last time you heard of a noname director breaking through with either?

Can you break it down into a web series, if you need to?

Check our The Witching Season on IG. They made a bunch of short horror films and released them on Amazon and YouTube as a series. They got such great reviews, they were able to raise Kickstarter money to turn one of the shorts/episodes into a feature.

Perhaps you could release the trailer and the first episode and use Patreon or something similar to market the other episodes to supporters of yourself or the cause.

Also, are you doing any shared profit promotion with the organization?

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24 minutes ago, mercer said:

are you doing any shared profit promotion with the organization?

I don’t think so. What do you mean by this exactly?

 

49 minutes ago, IronFilm said:

You're never using any relevant hashtags, how is anyone going to find you?

F me. I don’t even know what a relevant hashtag would be. You mean, like the title of the film? Something like #flyingfurfilm

 

31 minutes ago, mercer said:

a noname director breaking through

Not really trying to do this, just trying to make the film known within a niche market. 

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From what I saw your posts are a lot about film festivals and popcorn. Something your target audience care very little about.

They care about one thing only, dogs being rescued.

I would start targeting dog owners, dog related groups and communities. On Instagram you can use up to 30 hashtags per post, use at least 10, if not 30. #dogsofinstagram #dogrescue etc. When you search hashtags on Instagram you see how popular they are, try different combinations and pick the once with +50k or something.

There are a million forums, FB groups and so on about dog, cat and other rescuing. Join them all.

As a dog owner I've seen a lot of dog and animal rescue channels on YouTube. I would approach the bigger once and try to cut a deal for a sponsored video. Maybe even a discount code with some kickback for the channel.

As anyone with a some what successful YouTube will tell you, the big numbers comes from other platforms such as blogs, etc. And still best of all, "unsocial media". Get on the news or in a paper and things start to happen quickly.

I used to work in marketing for the worlds second largest chain of animal hospitals and veterinary clinics and believe me, your TA is fanatic. Every time we got a rescue dog or cat that survived some type of ordeal it was a piece of cake planting the story in papers etc.

12 minutes ago, fuzzynormal said:

F me. I don’t even know what a relevant hashtag would be. You mean, like the title of the film? Something like #flyingfurfilm

Until your movie hits big that hashtag is just a waste of the # key ;)

But seriously, use that hashtag on all posts and then 29 to reach your TA.

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20 minutes ago, fuzzynormal said:

F me. I don’t even know what a relevant hashtag would be. You mean, like the title of the film? Something like #flyingfurfilm

 

#animalrescue #flyingdogs #puppies

etc etc etc

The possibilities are endless! 

The more niche a tag is (such as "#flyingfurfilm", at the moment perhaps NOBODY else is using it!), then the more likely they'll find your content specifically if anybody looks at that exact hashtag. 
The downside though is not many people are searching it....
While "#puppies" will have lots and lots and LOTS of people looking at that hashtag!
The downside is your post might get lost among all the others...
But that is ok, you only need a very small proportion of those many many people to find yours to make it kinda worthwhile. 
 

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1 hour ago, fuzzynormal said:

don’t think so. What do you mean by this exactly?

I mean, do you have a promo code set up with Flying Fur that they can give their donors/followers that if they rent/buy your film, a part of the proceeds will go back to Flying Fur?

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55 minutes ago, mercer said:

I mean, do you have a promo code set up with Flying Fur that they can give their donors/followers that if they rent/buy your film, a part of the proceeds will go back to Flying Fur?

Also very solid idea. That or to some international animal help organization.

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Not to be harsh, but... the trailer doesn't get me emotionally invested like... at all. And if you put it on in the background or don't pay attention for a few seconds you wouldn't have made the connection that it's basically flying doctors for animal rescue. And the 2nd half is like vague generic - insert here - motivational talk and you're telling the viewer what to do 'great story anyone can appreciate - something everybody should see' (I'll be the judge of that). Yet... I don't see a story being told here? What's the story? 'Tells the story of animal rescue start to finish', sure. Then give us an actual example, don't tell us, show us! Let's follow a dog around and leave us with a cliffhanger or something, making us wonder if the dog ended up alright. The subject is there. Flying doctors for animal rescue sounds super interesting, make sure to properly acknowledge that angle. Now you've gotta use that and make us realize that what we are about to see is trully unique. So... I'd make an alternative trailer cut and use that. Also... Facebook moms will share the shit out of little snippits of cute dogs in trouble getting an emotional rescue. Make a few 10 sec or so videos to share there, lesser things have gone viral. My 2 cts.

Of course... great job doing something out of the love for this subject and I hope it catches on! 👍

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2 hours ago, Lars Steenhoff said:

Put it on youtube and monetise it with ads?

 


That is likely to only earn you pennies on the dollar, at best. 

1 hour ago, Cinegain said:

Not to be harsh, but... the trailer doesn't get me emotionally invested like... at all.


I do agree, the trailer could be much MUCH better I feel, given what the content probably is. 

Which goes back to one of my first points:

"What is your elevator pitch?"

That should help you focus down on what your trailer should be about. 

 

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Yep, like Mattias said, dog lovers and dogs rescuers. Research them. Send all the CEO's of those organisations a press release/free screener. Get them involved. You're in a niche area, so use that to your advantage.

I don't mind your trailer.

These guys did a great job in a (not so now) niche area.

 

 

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7 hours ago, mercer said:

With the Amazon angle, your title will appear next to other animal programs and documentaries as a whole. And a lot more people watch Amazon on their TVs, so if you decide to monetize your doc instead of the pennies per view idea, you could probably yield a lot of views at .99 cents for the rental, or $2.99 to purchase.

Have you done this DIY?

4 hours ago, Lars Steenhoff said:

This video has 28 million views for example.

Any ideas on how they got to millions of views?

2 hours ago, Cinegain said:

the trailer doesn't get me emotionally invested

TBF, that “trailer” you referenced is a release announcement video so the subject could share the movie directly to his fans during the initial launch of the film. They’re already invested in the guy and know what’s what so its a direct appeal to his niche audience.  

 We do have a standard trailer that we’ve been using elsewhere and we’ll be updating it later this week. 

But I agree. More storytelling for a general audience. 

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32 minutes ago, fuzzynormal said:

Have you done this DIY?

My friend tested the process with an old, short film he shot and he said it was easy but laborious. Amazon breaks down everything you need to do, they are just very strict in how it’s done. And it took a couple weeks for the approval process to be completed.

After I finish some ADR for my role, he is going to upload his feature film.

Here’s a link to his short film on Amazon Prime to see what the final layout looks like. 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/B0793CDL9P

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12 minutes ago, mercer said:

My friend tested the process with an old, short film he shot and he said it was easy but laborious. 

We’ll put it up on amazon after a few months of our VOD “direct” sales.  I’d be curious what the net revenue per sale is on amazon, however. Still, you’re right, they’re a big sandbox, have the viewers, and offer a DIY route. 

I be curious how to take a run at AppleTV/iTunes. My understanding is that they’re a pretty substantial streaming service as well. 

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5 minutes ago, fuzzynormal said:

We’ll put it up on amazon after a few months of our VOD “direct” sales.  I’d be curious what the net revenue per sale is on amazon, however. Still, you’re right, they’re a big sandbox, have the viewers, and offer a DIY route. 

I be curious how to take a run at AppleTV/iTunes. My understanding is that they’re a pretty substantial streaming service as well. 

I think you have the option, with Amazon to charge a rental/purchase fee or be part of their percentage points (I forget what it’s actually called) program.

It’s my understanding that iTunes is the best of the lot, but it’s very difficult to get on there. Supposedly you need an aggregator, or something, to do it for you. I believe an aggregator is a middle man that takes care of the process for you.

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3 hours ago, IronFilm said:

I do agree, the trailer could be much MUCH better I feel, given what the content probably is. 

Which goes back to one of my first points:

"What is your elevator pitch?"

That should help you focus down on what your trailer should be about. 

 

I agree with all the comments above about the trailer, it urgently needs a re-do, it is lacking emotion, do not show the guy in front of the camera, only show actions and voice-over, make us feel emotionally involved in the rescue of the dogs....

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