Film Marketing Case Study: What Is Your Fear?

Film Trooper



My fear is that this little film won't make any money, that's my fear.  Haha.  So, I made this feature film for $500 with no crew.  Yes, no crew.  It's called, THE CUBE.

You can check it out here:

Anyway, the whole premise for FILM TROOPER is to produce extremely inexpensive film products, like THE CUBE, and apply online marketing strategies used by successful entrepreneurs to sell digital goods.  The digital goods in this case is a film product.

The theme of THE CUBE is about letting go of fears ... so, why not create an online marketing campaign based on that premise of "fears" to build intrigue for the film?



One of the more successful online entrepreneurs, Derek Halpern, over at Social Triggers interviewed author, Sally Hogshead, of the book "Fascinate:  Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation".  In this podcast interview, Sally detailed the principles of creating fascination for your audience.  What draws them into you?  What draws them into your product?

Sally outlines that the 7 triggers of fascination are:


Interestedly enough, in my acting class, we are taught that we need to keep our performance small because we'll want to draw the audience into our performance.  Make the audience work a little in order for them to get to know the character you are bringing to life.


So, putting on our marketing hats, how can we add a bit of fascination to the marketing of an indie film?  As I mentioned earlier, the theme of THE CUBE is to let go of fear.  Fear can be the trigger point of bringing interest to the film.  Maybe, I don't know, I'm just making this shit up as I go.

Okay, I've seen this done before with other products online.  The single landing page that serves as a sales funnel.  You might have seen these too if you've ever search for some kind of vitamin supplement product.  These types of pages used to dominate the Google search ranks in days past, but with all the changes to put a true effort on awarding sites and links that have social and content value, Google has been able to squash these older single landing pages.  However, I see where these types of single landing pages can still have value.

Let's be honest, no one is going to be searching for THE CUBE movie, especially since it gets mixed up with the cult horror classic of the 1990's from Canada, called CUBE.  My film has the THE in front ... totally different.  Anyway, I digress, I need to create something that gives me a fighting chance to have some social sharing attributes.  I need to create something that can create a bit of intrigue and fascination about the film.  I knew I wanted something that was visual that could start on Instagram and Pinterest before getting pushed out to all the other social media platforms.  But what could I do?

This is what I did.  I took photos of just THE CUBE with a person in the background.  I would just propose the question, "What Is Your Fear?"  Each picture would reveal different fears.  Here is an example:


Now, in order to slap some kind of "call to action" to the pic, I needed to add a memorable domain name.  I could use the film's website  But that wouldn't add the fascination aspect I needed.  There had to be something more.  I did a quick domain search and bought this one:

Okay, now if you look at the picture it'll read like this:


Okay, now I have an intriguing domain name to go with the pictures.  But what happens when someone goes to  What will they see?  What is my goal for that site?



I knew that I wanted the new website to display a portfolio gallery of all sorts of fears revealed with the red cube prominent in the foreground.  I figured if I had a collection of photos, a lot of them, then it might serve as a kind of social proof.  What is social proof?  It's defined as:  "a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation."  In other words the "herd behavior".  Now, it must be said that if I create bad social proof, then I'm dead.

According to there are 7 things you must understand about social proof.  They are:

  1. Negative Social Proof is Horrible for Persuasion
  2. Positive Social Proof is More Influential than Saving Money
  3. Social Proof Works Better with Pictures
  4. People are Influenced by Similar People
  5. Stories Deeply Connect with Customers
  6. Authority Rules!
  7. Better to Have No Proof Than Low Proof

I'm banking on #3 to help with my social proof marketing.  I find it interesting that Kissmetrics utilized the number 7, not the 5 things, or 10 things you must understand about social proof, but 7 things.

I recall reading that listing 7 things is the perfect number when it applies to copywriting.  5 top things is too small, and 10 things can feel too long, but 7 things is just right.

I recall reading this from one the best books on copyrighting, "Advertising Secrets of the Written Word: The Ultimate Resource on How to Write Powerful Advertising Copy from One of America’s Top Copywriters and Mail Order Entrepreneurs" by Joseph Sugarman.  When I look at blogs, they are our current day copywriting.  Although, this book is about older direct mail marketing, much of the principles can be applied in today’s blog-a-sphere.

My big takeaways from this book is to start with a great headline in order to get the audience to read the sub heading, then create an inviting environment where the audience (customer) goes down a slippery slide to your call to action (your sale).  Great book.  If you want the Kindle version click here: Advertising Secrets of the Written Word (Kindle Version)

Okay, so how do I get the reader to read the first line in order for them to go down the slipper slide where they'll eventually end up at my "call to action" which is my sales pitch for the movie?



Drawing from the influence of creating fascination and the format of creating the "slippery slide" taught by Joseph Sugarman, I attempted to create this film sales page.

First it starts with the domain name, "What is your fear?".  This is a simple yet thoughtful question that forces the reader to work a little bit in their minds to answer the question, even if it's to themselves, the brain activity has started.  This becomes my headline and my banner for the new sales page.


Then the next section is the portfolio gallery, displaying a collection of fears sharing the frame with the red cube.  This is my attempt to create a visual social proof.

Gallery Grab

The next section needs to explain why the reader might be even be here on the site in the first place.  Here's very simple, straight forward, and again, visual approach to communicating the idea behind the website.


Everyone Has Fears

I provide a "call to action" for the reader.  On the website, there is also a simple input box that invites the reader to share their fear.  I used a free WordPress plugin called, Form Maker.  Once a reader submits a fear, I'll get an email notice in which I'll have to create a graphic and add it to the gallery.  The reader will see a "Thank You" graphic pop up and lead them down the page with the help of the little dotted arrows as shown here:

Thank You

The next step is to get on with the sale.  What is the deal with the red cube, right?  So, I created this graphic:

What is THE CUBE

If I got the reader to get this far, then I've got to deliver.  I already set up the expectations that this feature film was made for $500 with no crew.  So, if the reader has any curiosity, they'll start clicking through the videos to see what all the hoopla is about.



The first video is, of course, the trailer.  I make sure that at the end of each video there is a "call to action", in this case at the end of Video 01, it says to watch Video 02 to see the reactions from movie goers as they exited the premiere of THE CUBE.


The recorded reactions are another source of social proof.  The end of video 02 tells the viewer to watch Video 03, which is entitled, "Buddha / Adam & Eve".


The film has a lot more going on with it than just a simple thriller of a inanimate object.  So, for audiences seeking something a little deeper in their films, I provide them with an animated sequence that sums up the theme of THE CUBE.


Lastly, Video 03 tells the viewer to watch Video 04 to see the reactions to the question, "What would you do if a red cube arrived at your door?".  Again, this is social proof designed to create fascination for the film.  Video 04 ends with a hyperlink to the actual sales page to watch the film on Vimeo On Demand.


Speaking of Vimeo On Demand, that is the direct distribution platform I chose because it has the 90/10 revenue split and it is an easy streaming service that can play videos anywhere.  I knew that I would be spending more time doing the marketing effort on my own, so I just needed an easy link to send potential customers to in order to buy the film.  In order to get my custom Vimeo channel to display correctly on this sales page, I used the WordPress plugin called, Vimeography Pro.  I had to upgrade to the Pro version in order to control the order in which the videos were displayed.  Bummer that I had to pay, but the way I look at it, is if I asked a programmer to build me a custom plugin, how much would that cost?  It was a no brainer to upgrade to the Pro version to make the user experience as painless as possible.

Here's an example of how it looks on the sales page:

[vimeography id="1"]

Now that the visitor has watched all the videos, hopefully they're interested, so I've got to close the deal, right?  I added this graphic that links directly to the actual Vimeo On Demand page:

Let Go Fear2

The last section is to bookend the whole concept of what the website is about.  The idea that our fears actually reveal a lot more about our desires, I thought fit nicely with the whole experience of THE CUBE.  Here are the graphics for the last section and what THE CUBE has revealed as the inner desire of our shared fear (Oh, and never forget to add social sharing icons, in case anyone wanted to share on their social networks):

What Desires

Fear Desire Slider 01

Then every good sales page needs one last up-sell opportunity.  I use the WordPress themes created by the gang over at Cyber Chimps, and they provide these great widget boxes.  I added a place for the visitor to get a FREE gift in exchange for an email address.  In marketing the power is in the list, correct?  Then I offer two more chances for the visitor to buy THE CUBE.  Here are the graphics that I placed in the box sections:

Subscribe Box

Watch It Box

Cube Box



Again, the whole concept of this single sales page is that I need to have a place where I can a virtual sales team selling the intrigue of THE CUBE.  I'm not sure how successful I can be at spamming my social media followers with, "Please buy my film".  However, now that there is a place where an audience can share their fears in exchange for the Magic 8 Ball, I mean, the RED CUBE to reveal their inner desires might be just the required social boost I'll need to keep generating sales of the film.

Now, I just launched this sales page, so I have absolutely no proof it'll even work.  I'll do a follow up post sharing all the success and failures of the effort.  I'm sure there'll be more failures than successes, but I gotta try, right?

Thanks for sticking with the blog post all the way to the end.  If you haven't already received your FREE gift, then please be my guest and get your copy of the gear guide which lists all the equipment I used to make this feature film with no crew.  Click the image below:



Oh crap!  One last thing.  If you wanna see how the finished sales page looks like, head on over to:




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