My Personal Experiences in Promoting My Independent Films

Film promotion primarily requires utilization of media resources. For independent works that don’t have the marketing and promotion budget of studio-produced movies, the most practical way to do is to invest time and effort in online promotion. On the side, it is always great to also have exposure in other media venues such as TV, radio, and print.

Being in film school allowed me to learn much about film production, but the experience of having to market my own films was something I just realized more intently during the actual promotions I needed to do for them.

As these films have intervals of one to three years in between, the way to market each one varies because of adjusting to the demands of the times. For instance, way back in 2003 during my first film’s release, there was no Facebook or Twitter to help spread the word yet.

Posters and Art Works

Before starting with any kind of film promotion endeavor, make your film poster and related art works and collaterals. I made posters, tarpaulins, and flyers for the film’s premiere and exhibitions in local and international film festivals. I was able to post some of them in local bulletin boards, schools, and other public places.

Art works, photos, and portfolios are very helpful for film promotion. These can be utilized in websites, blogs, social networking sites, print features, and press kits.

Websites and Blogs

Get an applicable domain name and hosting service for the film’s website and blog. A practical way to go about it is to just get one domain name and use this for all your film promotion needs. Ideally, you may get your own name’s .com account, which can also serve as your filmmaker’s portfolio site.

For my past films, I used my own domain name where my demo reel, filmography, curriculum vitae, and other valuable film-related content are featured in the site. For my films “Karsel” (“Prison”), “Aninag” (“Light’s Play”), “Pera-perahang Lata” (“Penny from the Tin Can”), and “Technophilia,” I was able to secure web pages and appropriate links for them through my official website.

I used blogs to post important information about the film. They are very helpful when intending to update both the members of the production team and the general public about the progress of making the film or any upcoming festival invitation and screening for it.

Uploading trailers, music videos, and various production videos enhance the look of your film’s web page and blog pages as well.

Social Networks

In this age of social networking, creating Facebook pages for film promotion is very helpful to any filmmaker. It is also an effective way to link to the film’s websites, blogs, and other significant profiles and sites relating or referring to the film.

TV Spots and Radio Plugs

You can get sponsorships or take advantage of special programs that may be available from TV and radio stations and cable companies. In my case, my films were able to secure TV spots for MTV Philippines and other cable TV venues. I was also able to secure guestings/interviews in some radio shows.

Write-ups in Print Media

After posting much on my films’ blogs, I had some opportunities to get features in magazines and newspapers. Some also published my press releases for upcoming premieres and festival schedules.

Digital Press Kits

Ideally in CD or DVD format, the digital press kit is always a handy material to have, especially during premieres and special screenings. This typically contains production notes, trailers, and other significant videos about the film, film posters, film stills, and behind-the-scene photos.