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Make video work for your film – some thoughts on creating online content

With windows getting shorter and film marketing & distribution budgets getting tighter, it makes even more sense for film makers and/or producers to start building up a connection between their film and audience early on. Invest in developing that relationship from as early as the development stage of your film, all throughout the production and by the time you’re ready to release – or seek release partners – you’ll have created a demand & excitement already; a link you can use for promoting or even selling your film.

This does mean you’ll have to create good quality online content for your film’s blog and/or social media pages – content is king! – over the course of 6 to 12 months and that requires some creativity… Peanuts, I say for we don’t work in a creative industry for no reason! Having said that, many filmmakers don’t feel comfortable writing blogs and prefer to use visuals. That’s ok, videos and images just happened to be the content most likely to be shared so we’re killing 2 birds with 1 stone by thinking visuals.

I’m all for looking at competitors – that’s how this post came together after all – but make sure to look outside the film industry too, dare to be different or become a great copy-cat. How about this clever & low-cost video campaign that generated over 100K new Facebook likes for Heineken in Brazil, created by the creative team at Eddy & Kako:

Make it personal. Reposting the film’s trailer over and over again isn’t enough. It’s ok to remind & excite your community every so often with the trailer as I’m sure your team’s put a lot of work and effort in making it. But why stop there if you can show much more? Think on set mini edits or related videos that are connected to the (sub) theme of your film. Entirely depending on your film’s identity – and the crew’s state after a long days hard work… – think doing a Harlem Shake (or whatever else is trending at the moment you’re reading this post) with cast & crew or a call-to-action appeal for more socially engaged features and docs.

Stay on topic. It happens so easily: you’re searching the web for content to share; Google takes you on a journey into time & space and before you know you’re watching a video of a lamb being bottled fed by a springer spaniel. Swept away by its cuteness you think it’s a good idea to share the video with your community. It is, if you’re working for Innocent Drinks, but you’re not…

And less is more. A part from the occasional in-depth long view video – have a look at the TEDx database, there’s a video on pretty much any subject – people don’t have time to watch over 2 to 3 minutes of footage. Think sneak previews, cast & crew intros or single question interview series.

Which leads me to the last pointer of my thoughts: keep it fresh. Cutting a 10 minute interview in 5 shorter ones allows you to spread out the content over a longer period of time, engaging with your audience on a regular basis. Like you would with friends in real life.

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