INDIE FILMMAKERS - TO BE THE BEST, LEARN FROM THE BEST

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Kevin Smith The digital age has been a blessing and a hardship for today's independent filmmakers. While there are more avenues to create, enhance and promote films, there are just as many amateur and professional filmmakers taking advantage of these resources.





Getting your film noticed among a crowd is going to take more than just the usual razzle dazzle. Nowadays, online marketing paired with better editing is crucial to setting up your independent film for the best possible chance at success.

Paranormal Activity
Marketing / Social Media

Social media is marketing that an independent filmmaker can handle alone, with little to no money needed. Don't dismiss the potential social media has to boost your film's reach. For example, it was savvy social media tactics that boosted awareness of the movie "Paranormal Activity" in 2009; the small, cult film cost only $15,000 to make, but it cashed in big when it was picked up by Paramount. The production company was attracted not so much by the film itself, but rather filmmaker Oren Peli's social media strategy.

Teasing the online audience is important when using social media. Where most movie trailers typically show some of the bigger highlights, niche films like "Paranormal Activity" build up anticipation among the audience through shock value and controversy (is it real?).

Finding your film's best attributes (selling points) and sprinkling it over social media sites can drum up more interest, as long as you aren't flooding each site with updates and posts too often. Keeping a balanced but consistent update for readers is key to good social media success.

Much of the success of marketing through social media is the idea of digital word-of-mouth: one friend sees a trailer or tease-post on it and shares it with another friend, and so on. Social media is still considered new in the realm of online marketing for independent films, but it's basically using an old hat tactic, which is proving to work on any digital platform.

Chasing Amy
Put More Emphasis on Editing

Considered to some as an industry genius, independent filmmaker Kevin Smith is a big believer in editing on the fly. The creator of Clerks, Chasing Amy and the Jay and Silent Bob movies believes taking the time between sets to edit the footage and reshoot on the spot when needed provides a better cut of the film after wrap, which cuts down on the heavy post-production editing. Involving your cast and crew in the on-the-fly edits can also improve the acting and filming overall.

Smith points out that allowing your cast and crew to immediately see how scenes play out can give them a better vision of the entire film, motivating actors to perform better and the film crew to improve scenes by suggesting different angles; perhaps filming from a ladder or even a construction scissorlift rather than eye-level.

Another savvy way to organize, improve and speed up the editing process is using a video annotation service called Remark, which allows you to edit video frame by frame and share notes without the hassle of using any type of exporting system (such as emails). Audio notes, drawings as well as time-stamp comments are possible through software like Remark.

Finally, if your film is heavy on sound features, spare no expense to get the best sound equipment. In fact, hire a good production sound mixer. You may not have figured it in the budget, but making sure you have quality sound in your film can literally make or break your success with this film.

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