055: Film Marketing Fridays, List Building

Film Trooper


In this Film Marketing Friday, I discuss “List Building” and why it’s so important for the success of your film.

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Are you stuck trying to make your film?  Find inspiration from an indie feature film that was made for $500 with no crew … Check out the list of equipment that was used to make it!

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Scott McMahon is a Fellow Film Trooper at Film Trooper, a website for helping filmmakers attain filmmaking freedom. Scott recently made a feature film for $500 with no crew called, The Cube. Want to know what equipment was used to make that film? Grab a FREE gift at www.FREEGEARGUIDE.com

  • Hey Scott, great episode. I would love your thoughts on the actual value of the film product itself. I totally agree with what your saying with getting out of the ‘quantity’ game. Im just wondering if you sell your flick for $5 on Vimeo and make 100 sales that’s $500 and you make your money back which is great. But for building audience/list purposes, what if you just directly made it free. Put it in front of as many eyeballs as possible? Youtube? even torrents? Just more curious on how you would imagine that working or not working?

    • Hey Jamie,
      I think if I knew I had a film product that could resonate with an existing audience, then yes, I could see how making it free would be a great tool of building an audience. As long as, there is a way to collect email addresses in exchange to watch the film.

      But the film then would have to be an advertisement for something bigger that you’d make your money from. This is where a short film that really connects with a very targeted audience could be used to collect the email addresses and then share and promote the progress of your feature film … or web series.

      I guess it’s all about the basics of business. Supply and demand. Just build something inexpensive enough to get interest and collect information. Then when you have that data (email addresses) you can assess what product you can build that would be profitable. So, this may be a feature film, or it may be another short film, or it could be a creative advertisement for a high priced product that is associated with your story.

      • That’s great Scott. Thanks a lot. This idea sort of reminds me of the Saw franchise. Make a quick and inexpensive short film and leverage that great short into a feature and now a franchise. Except more along the lines of using the short to create an audience and take them on the journey to the feature and sell them the bigger ‘product’. Less about using the short as a calling card for the studios, but a calling card for a fan base.

        • Yes! I like your thinking. BTW, I finally got word on how to get your film onto Amazon as an HD file.

          You can use Amazon’s CreateSpace for DVD and SD versions. So, that service will be obsolete if they don’t catch up soon.

          Then you can use Amazon Advantage program, which allows you to consign your work through this program. You can sell HD downloads of your movie this way.

          However, to be part of the Amazon Instant Video marketplace, you’ll have to use an aggregator.

          Amazon pays out 50% of all sales or downloads.

          If you want it be available for streaming, even as part of Amazon’s Prime Free streams, you’ll get paid $0.10 for every stream. Now your film has to be played at least 6 minutes to get that 10 cents.

          I think launching on iTunes would be better. They give the filmmaker 70%. Build a good proof of ratings and review in the first 8 weeks to be featured as the “New & Noteworthy” section … then release it on Amazon, as the second window and to increase the search function of your film.

          But then again, if you have a strong and loyal following, they’ll buy your film wherever you want them to … iTunes and Amazon or Netflix are to be used for the casual watcher, or the stubborn customer who only watches films on these platforms.

          • Thanks a lot Scott. Lots of good info. Have you considered iTunes for The Cube, or are you thinking more about going that route for your next project?

          • Hey Jamie, sorry for the delayed reply. I’d like to do a marketing experiment with THE CUBE coming up … but I think I’ll definitely approach the next film project with iTunes in mind for sure.

          • Awesome. Looking forward to what you do next and how you do it.