Short films are now attracting great attention throughout the world as content platforms constantly evolve and audiences seek out new and interesting ways to view the latest short film talent.
In order to maximise the success of your short film it is important to devise a marketing strategy that will let you take the utmost advantage of the new opportunities and enhance your profile as a filmmaker.
Ultimately short films are a means of introducing your filmmaking talent to the world. They are not hugely commercial endeavours but are the essential tools in any filmmaker's strategy to go on and have a career in one of the toughest and most competitive industries in the world.
Many film makers are so excited when starting out that they are happy to give away their work for free but a sustained and intelligent marketing strategy involving all key areas of festivals and distribution can be your key to success both for yourself and your film in the long term.
Below is an outline of a marketing strategy to get your film on the road to success.
KEY ELEMENTS IN YOUR MARKETING STRATEGY
Cast & Crew/Industry Screenings
Generally the first way that you will market your film is at a cast and crew screening. You can invite press, festival directors and others interested in short films to attend. A Cast and Crew screening is seen as being a private, not a public screening and so won't impact on any premiere requirements of film festival screenings.
Prepare a Press & Publicity Kit
Before launching your film into the world you need to create all of the press and publicity materials to promote it. This includes press kits, preview DVDs, postcards etc.
Set Up A Website
To help with the promotion of your film you may want to set up a website that lists all screenings, festivals and awards and has a trailer and stills to download.
For a full list of all press materials and how to prepare them please see our Press and Publicity page.
Festivals & Awards
If you want to get a profile as a filmmaker and attract the widest attention for your film you need to develop a strong festival strategy, including submitting your film to A-list festivals with prestigious awards.
Remember that key A-list festivals such as Cannes, Berlin and Sundance can expect a premiere so hold off on submitting your film to smaller or specialist festivals until you have assessed other opportunities.
For entry into Flickerfest we expect the film not have screened in Sydney for the six months prior to our festival dates.
The pinnacle of a short film's career, nomination to the Oscars, also has a number of rules, such as no TV or on-line broadcast. These rules are strict so make sure that you check out at: www.oscars.org
For more information see The Festival Circuit page.
You may also want to enter your film into a festival with a market attached i.e.:
Festival markets can encourage buying interest and publicity around your film. See Distribution page.
Short Film Distribution
After you have outlined your festival strategy and began to market your film the other area that a successful short filmmaker will need to consider is distribution. A distributor can market your film to all short film buyers across the world, determine a strategy that will not impact on any festival premieres you may have lined up across certain territories and generate some financial returns for your short film.
New platforms for exposing and exhibiting your short are arising all the time. Generally distributors can work out a strategy that will target key broadcast buyers first, followed by video-on-demand (VOD) and on-line sales and DVD. Basically it is their job to determine who will pay the most money for rights to your short film and hold off on on-line/free screenings that can jeopardise this. See Distribution page.
Although on-line screenings can give great profile for your film, it is better to exhaust all key festival and broadcast opportunities first (generally for at least the first 12 months) before you go down this road.
After you have made key sales you make want to explore on-line sites such as www.atom.com who are a respected on-line site in the US who purchase comedy films upfront for viewing.
Flickerfest also has a relationship with Real Networks whereby we host a catalogue of Australian Short Films selected from the festival for download or watching with Real Player.
Generally fees per download never return any cash to filmmakers, so it's better to seek out upfront payments if possible.
A general rule for on-line is to wait until your film is at least two years old and you have exhausted all key festival and broadcast opportunities before putting it online for free viewing.