Marketing Start-up Kit for Filmmakers and Entrepreneurs

Article originally ran in C47Houston News and Entertainment Magazine ( March/April 2014 Edition

Gaining Traction in the Marketplace for Your Productions
By Andy Valadez, Marketing Strategist of Marketing Dynamics

So, you have a great idea for a film and so does everyone else – really. A filmmaker really is an entrepreneur, just like the actors, writers, the crew, the producers, and various service providers to the industry. It takes a team and the originators must reason with a cadre of talent that their project is viable and appeal to their entrepreneurial acumen to make it successful.

Most people want to rally around a noteworthy production and it behooves the production leaders to learn all they can about marketing and entrepreneurship to enable their project to have a good chance of getting off the ground and garnering the short and long-term commitment from its members.

We’ve read the stats, 80% of most businesses fail within the first 5 years (probably more like 90%, within the first three years these days).  The entertainment business is really tough as we all know, but people are succeeding.

So, how can you improve your chances and gain traction for your production(s)?  Through marketing! Now, I need to explain. Everyone thinks they are a great marketer, just like most filmmakers think they are great filmmakers. I know my marketer friends will agree, there is more to marketing than what is commonly believed. So, become a student. Learn all you can about marketing and keep learning.

Here are a few things to help you along the way:

  • Market research – who is really going to go see your film and why?
  • Create a series of well-written and formatted 400-word press release announcing talent, crew, support, locations, etc.
    • Even if you only use this internally, these briefs help to communicate your vision for the story and recognize the contributions of your team
  • Distribute your press releases to media contacts – news attention does gives you credibility
    • Public familiarity with your work aids your development without giving the story away
  • A simple 3 to 5 page website with appropriate domain
  • Get your project listed on (this can be tough these days, but there are strategies to help you achieve this)
  • Integrated social media into your communications, the top 10 to 15. Hint Google: Top 15 Social Media
    • Build up your following by friending key influencers or affinity groups
  • Excellent photography and photo share delivery about your production (behind the scenes and photo-ops)
  • Make memories along the way, those will truly last
  • A couple of video clips, if only to share with a key reviewers or decision makers (remember your team can help you magnify your message and reach people you can’t)
  • Sample music from known musicians or composers – music is critical for film and musicians are ready to offer their assistance if you ask them
    • For our business clients, we do advise a music song or jingle for their brand
  • Product placement alignment – demonstrates buy-in from the business community
  • A good marketing brief – 15 pages or less (not the same as the investment document)
    • More of a story document to garner interest, with photos, festival plan, screenings opportunities, on-set invitations, promotional, hyperlinks to video, the team, and plan for the production, etc.
  • One-sheet brief with graphics, featuring the production – “Great minds think differently, together they are brilliant.”
    • This will help others to analyze your production and find ways to improve what you already have in place
  • “What’s in it for me?” – How will your project help your team right now? Besides compensation.
  • Never give up. Your project has a life of its own.
  • Audio recordings of your script or information about the nature of your project.
    • Many people don’t make time to read your script, but will listen to an audio message for their review – to peak their interest further.
  • Sponsorship deck – How can companies sponsor your production as an advertisement opportunity via your social media or your film?
  • And more!

Case studies:  We have many case studies regarding the projects we have assisted. Last week, I attended the “Dusk Till Dawn” TV series premiere after-party in Austin and ran into a credited film writer who explained to me that there was serious interest in one of our films. A film he had developed for one of my clients two years ago. We had hired him to complete a synopsis treatment, conducted a few meet-ups and conference calls, recorded some audio briefs for his research, provided historical written material regarding the story, and maintained communications.  Now, the film is moving to the next stage. For this project, we were advised not to create a website or other public information given that it would actually not help move it forward faster. So, we took that under advisement. Each film is different and the needs of the production will vary.

About Marketing Dynamics

Marketing Dynamics was founded by Andy Valadez, graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in Marketing, and Tulane University (Applied Business Certificate), and former United States Marine (serving during Desert Storm/Shield).  Andy is an entrepreneur who enjoys advising his clients on how to capitalize on their opportunities by adopting best practices and principles in marketing with a focus on strategy and tactical implementation and a trending producer on  Marketing Dynamics serves these key sectors:  technology, broadcast, film, music, publishing, motorsports, and start-ups. To learn more visit:

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