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marketing Lesson Learned Post

onebaldman

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onebaldman

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I am a chronic screw up, its something I've dealt with my entire life. A mix of my stubborn attitude, my ignorance, and my past traumas mix together to create situations where I am always questioning what is the right thing to do.

That said, I think I do have some good qualities. I am very transparent, and always willing to step back and reconsider my stance on things (it just takes time for those to get through my thick skull).

In hopes that I learn and grow as a brand new filmmaker (and a human), I'd like to journal things that I realize as I struggle, so not only do I keep transparency and an attitude of constant learning, flaws and all.

Maybe it will help others, maybe not. But it helps me to be honest, and keeps me aware that in film making we are all humans trying to share our dreams with the world, and it can be a very painful process. Especially when that dream is tarnished or not received well.

So, without beating a horse to death, I will post this lesson I learned this morning.

Lesson Learned #1: Don't Post Un-Graded Film Stills

It's the first film where I am working with a pro DP. I am brand new to this game, and when I see the way a pro DP handles the camera, I cry a little inside with pure joy. To me, its beautiful work. Better than I could ever hope to achieve. I think, "oh hell yes! People will love this! I love this! This is incredible work!".

I get a little excited, (as any new Director would), and start prepping my social media posts. I just have to share this beautiful work that is being done!

Only, I don't stop to think that it isn't a finished image... I'm putting the cart before the horse.

This was pointed out to me on the r/Cinematography Reddit forum. The fella there said: "Showing ungraded stills is like showing a meal in the prepping stages..."

Of course, with my attitude, I was pissed... At first. I was all like "here we go with the freaking haterade! Forget Reddit man." And proceeded to delete my post out of fear I did the wrong thing once again.

Only after I calmed down a bit, and took a breath. He was right. I shouldn't have posted ungraded stills. I can't remove all the posts I've made, but I sent an email apologizing to the DP, and made a promise to myself to not release anything until it was ready.

Sometimes, the hardest thing for me is to control my excitement about a project. I loose myself in the process, in the film, so much that I stop thinking about the audience, and I am only dreaming my own dream.

In the future, I really need to consider the audience, and only put out the best of the best foot forward for the sake of the team backing the project. It would be like posting a picture of your lady without her makeup on, just after she woke up with eye boogers. Bad idea man, bad idea.

I still deleted my Reddit account, but that is another realization for another post.
 
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indietalk

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It's all in the delivery.

Like, a band releasing a demo. You know it's a demo.

A work on progress scene. An ungraded still.

There's nothing wrong with seeing the preparation of meal. People watch cooking shows right? They don't just skip to the reveal. So use these types of things to your advantage. Teasers. Getting interest. Getting fans along the way.

It just needs to be done the right way. If you are excited about an image others may be too. Just let them know what it is, and what is in store! On the ungraded still though I wound't only do it once if I did. Then I'd tease another way.
 

indietalk

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Also have confidence in your project and don't let critics get to you. The more they talk, the more your post gets attention. You need to remember this for the final film too because surely you aren't going to scrape it off the web after one reddit comment.
 
onebaldman

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onebaldman

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Also have confidence in your project and don't let critics get to you. The more they talk, the more your post gets attention. You need to remember this for the final film too because surely you aren't going to scrape it off the web after one reddit comment.
Right, I know I would never take the entire film down after posting it. Once the project is complete, I am good. It's all the marketing work leading up to that throwing me around like a mouse looking for cheese surrounded by traps.
 
Like, a band releasing a demo. You know it's a demo. A work on progress scene.
I never meet the majority of my clients in person. I send them stems of their work in progress. The edited dialog stems do not yet have noise reduction, the Foley and sound effects are raw, nothing has EQ or is in perspective. It's all sent out for approval - does the client like the new "tone" of the dialog deliveries, does the Foley fit the characters, are the sound effects what the client wants/likes? Everything is far from perfect or polished. That comes during the mix process.

When you are on a deadline and on someone elses dime you don't have time to waste making it pretty.
 

indietalk

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Yup. But I've seen bands/filmmakers tease their works in progress. Usually with a phone vid in the session and they play it and show the screen and add some narration, there's all kinds of creative ways to tease unfinished works.
 
onebaldman

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onebaldman

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When you are on a deadline and on someone elses dime you don't have time to waste making it pretty.
That's a whole different ballgame I think.

What we are talking about, and me specifically, is the right time to tease an interested audience with pre-production or marketing material for a low budget film.

I do think that audio would be harder to market early, BUT you could do it if you had a really good EP or sound library.
 
That's a whole different ballgame I think.
Yes and no.

What we are talking about, and me specifically, is the right time to tease an interested audience with pre-production or marketing material for a low budget film.
The whole point I'm trying to make is that works in progress, whether you are crowd funding for a low/no/mini/micro indie or presenting interim materials to a client is that your "audience" are the investors or potential investors. They are not expecting the project to be polished to gleaming perfection until it is finished. When I do pro bono work I'm investing in the concept and the people involved, just as my clients are investing in my reputation and previous body of work.
 
I enjoyed seeing the ungraded screen grabs. I thought it looked really cool. The project as a whole looks cool. Admittedly, I am not a Reddit user, but from what I know, you can either score big over there or get crushed depending on the first few users commenting; every one after pretty much follows the leader. I would think a forum like this would be much more appreciative of those ungraded stills. Those stills are the very thing that made me sign up to follow your campaign. I know I am excited to see the finished result.
 
onebaldman

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onebaldman

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The whole point I'm trying to make is that works in progress, whether you are crowd funding for a low/no/mini/micro indie or presenting interim materials to a client is that your "audience" are the investors or potential investors. They are not expecting the project to be polished to gleaming perfection until it is finished. When I do pro bono work I'm investing in the concept and the people involved, just as my clients are investing in my reputation and previous body of work.
I see what you mean. Unfortunately I think only artists or other filmmakers who are true to their work understand that there is a process or steps to a finished piece. I like imperfection, and sharing honestly. Sometimes, it bites me, but I don't think I can do it any other way.

I enjoyed seeing the ungraded screen grabs. I thought it looked really cool. The project as a whole looks cool. Admittedly, I am not a Reddit user, but from what I know, you can either score big over there or get crushed depending on the first few users commenting; every one after pretty much follows the leader. I would think a forum like this would be much more appreciative of those ungraded stills. Those stills are the very thing that made me sign up to follow your campaign. I know I am excited to see the finished result.
I'm so glad you like our work! And thank you so much for supporting us!

I agree, REDDIT seems like a black and white kinda place. Either you are loved, or hated into downvote oblivion. It sucks that people felt that way about our film when I posted, but it isn't the first time my films have been disliked. I appreciate places like this where people understand that being a filmmaker is not always a clean cut road to success or a great film. Sometimes it just takes hard work and a do or die attitude, despite all others.
 
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