Series on Production, Packaging, Marketing and Finding a Distributor
This is the first part in a series of articles offering tips for writers and independent film makers on preparing their product for optimal distribution and marketing opportunities.
Selina Yoon, consultant and founder of Master Communications, Inc., breathes a deep sigh as she dials the phone for a tough call. The independent producer she is calling has submitted a high-quality DVD, but the title isn’t marketable for a variety or reasons. To prevent more calls like this one, she’s willing to offer some tips she’s picked up after years of working with TV, consumer goods, publishing for international and North American markets.
Target your Marketing Audience
When a distributor asks a client what age group they plan to target, often the response is, “My product appeals to all age groups.” This is a a big, red flag, according to Yoon. It’s untrue and hinders marketing. Some of the greatest works of all time cover a wide age span, but nothing appeals to everyone. Can you imagine a group of preschoolers sitting and listening to The Chronicles of Narnia? Or a theater filled with single adults all eager to watch The Velveteen Rabbit? Knowing your target age range streamlines your story line and delivery. It also helps with packaging design and marketing strategies.
Analyze Writing and Video Marketing
Consider the marketability of your product and make sure that your interests match the market’s needs. Perhaps you have an obsession with all topics related to the Civil War. Check out the titles already on the market related to the Civil War, especially in the age group you targeted. Don’t forget to look at upcoming releases. Make sure your idea has a unique spin that will make it stand out on a crowded shelf.
If you are a filmmaker, consider making a film based on a popular book. Yoon notices that this type of film tends to sell well. If you are a book writer, check out important events coming down the pike. If your book highlights the nuances of language, write it in time to have a release during literacy month. Books with releases that coincide with current events grab a buyer’s attention.
Book and Video Production Mediums
Think carefully about your medium in relation to your product’s targeted age range and your own budget. If you plan to create a book, consider whether you want to make a picture book, graphic novel or novel. Do you want cloth pages or pop-up images or other special features? Think about your competitors. How will your product stand out?
For filmmakers, animation is a tough medium. To gain an edge with an animated title and bring your movie to the forefront in an over-saturated market, you will most likely need a vehicle for merchandising and a savvy marketing agenda, with some help from a motion graphics company. As you determine your medium, don’t forget to consider licensing and costs. In filming, live-action costs less than animation. Some independent producers like to combine live-action and animation. You can learn more about this with VFX LA.