Film Marketing Tip: How To Steal From Netflix (Legally)

Film Trooper


You’ve heard it before …

Location, location, location …

Or … shelf space baby!

For filmmakers, what is our equivalent for the shelf space?

  • Getting a theatrical release and being on the marquee?
  • Getting your DVD’s onto the shelves of Walmart?
  • Getting listed on the featured pages of iTunes, Amazon, or Netflix?

For indie filmmakers, the platform of Digital Downloads and Streaming is the new oasis of distribution.

So …

How can you, as a indie micro-budgeted filmmaker, compete for the allusive shelf space?


Imagine …

You’re in a store …

You need to pay for the items you want to purchase …

All you want to do is go directly to the checkout counter …

But no …

You have to bob and weave your way through an endless row of shelves …

And on these shelves are candy, magazines, and a tool to help remove your nose hairs.

If you’ve been waiting in line for some time, your eyes are forced to browse those shelves.

And I bet … you found yourself throwing a few more items into your basket as you waited.

Congratulations!  You’ve been a victim of upselling.  Haha.

So, how do platforms like iTunes, Amazon, and Netflix do this?





Everything that we browse online for …

Every transaction that we make …

Every item that we check the “like” button for …

Is being tracked.

So, when you watch a movie online, what do you see?

Suggestions on what other movies you might like based on what you’ve been browsing or purchasing.

Here are some examples from Netflix:

So, how does an indie filmmaker compete to get on these coveted listings?

Make up your own!



Social media is booming and is here to stay.

What posts have the greatest open rates?

Anything with pictures and videos.

Why do you think Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, and Twitter Pics are blowing up?

Visuals …

So, I stole the “upsell” idea from Netlfix and created my own marketing pics to be shared on various social media platforms.

Take a look!

If You Liked Upstream Color 600px

If You Liked Pi 600px

If You Liked Safety Not Guaranteed 600px

If You Liked Twilight Zone 600px



If you noticed, I even added a RED border to my pics, as a subtle connection with Netflix.

Hell, I don’t know if it’ll work … I’m just making this sh#t up as I go.

Be sure to add your movie’s website at the bottom of the pic … so people know where to go.

Also, don’t forget to add the appropriate hashtags to every pic you blast out.

So, in the case of comparing my movie with that of Darren Aronofsky’s “PI”, I made sure to add in the hashtag #NOAH, since that was his latest movie that just came out.

Online marketers and bloggers use this technique to write posts on top trending topics all the time … so why not us?



I can’t see the exact analytics of whether or not these pics are driving people to check out my trailer, but I have seen a uptick from Twitter since posting these beauties.  Haha.

Regardless, what’s cool is that I shared this idea with my Film Trooper G+ Community …

And one of our fellow Troopers, started to use it on his film!

Check it out:

Chasing Amy LLWD

Waiting LLWD

The cool thing is that I’ve seen Bojan Dublic’s film, “Living Life or Waiting to Die” and it’s a funny, raunchy comedy with heart … just like the films that he has matched them up with.

I’d love to see this simple marketing technique used more often …

So, you’ll know where it came from …

And who we stole it from …

Stealing from Netflix … The legal way 😉



If you haven’t already received your free gear guide, then be sure to get a copy.

This is an equipment list of all the crapola that I used to make my feature film with no crew.  Yep, no crew.  It’s called THE CUBE.



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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