The Movie “One Sheet”

If I thought that by finishing my film, I was done – I was sorely mistaken.  My work has just begun.  What would have been the point of putting my heart and soul into a film for the past year and a half, if no one sees it? That means there’s a lot more work on my part, getting it out there – distributing it, marketing it and promoting it.  All that takes time, money and expertise.

I’ve been reading Jon Resiss’ book “Think Outside the Box Office” “The Ultimate Guide to Film Distribution and Marketing for the Digital Era”.  It’s become my bible. For starters, it lays out what a filmmaker needs to do to get their film out there, create an audience and make money.

In terms of publicity, every film needs a good press kit, which should include:
•    One Sheet – with tag line
•    Synopses – long and short
•    Cast and Crew Bios
•    Director’s statement or interview
•    Production stills and video interviews for the electronic press kit.
•    Production stories – something interesting about the making of the film.
•    Technical specs

When I first heard the term “one sheet”, I wasn’t quite sure what that was.  It’s pretty much what it says it is – a one-sheet piece of paper describing your film, but it it’s concise with provocative visuals and a catchy “tag line”, designed to peak interest, whether it is with the press or the movie going public.

A “one sheet” can also be what most of us call movie posters.  They are essentially the same thing – a one sheet with imagery and text to capture someone’s attention.   Some movie one sheets are works of art in their own right and become collectibles.  Think of some of the best ones that you have seen over the years.

Sounds like it should be fun – coming up with a “one sheet” for the movie, but even though I have a lot of great content for a “one sheet”, I don’t have the skills needed to create a composite for a movie poster. There are people who just design movie posters – that’s their niche.

I’ve learned a lot in the process of making a film.  The most important thing, I’ve learned is to make relationships and collaborate with others who can bring their expertise to the project.  It’s not only a rewarding process, but it raises the bar on the final outcome.

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The D.I.Y. Age

The world is full of possibilities these days.  In fact, for the individual and their “reach” globally – it’s staggering how many possibilities exist that didn’t just a couple of years ago.

We can not only create in a more affordable way with inexpensive equipment and leaner crews – we can also get our creations out to the world without the need for a publisher or a stock agency or a film distributor.

We can do all those things due to the exponential growth of technology.  But we also need to recognize that all those possibilities come with a cost, in terms of dollars as well as man-hours.  Each one of those possibilities takes time and money in order to become a reality.

Even the path to getting money or financing these days has changed because of crowd funding.  But like anything else you need to stand out amongst the noise, so who knows how long this trend can sustain itself.

If you’re planning a personal project, keep in mind that you will need to not only create it but find a way to get it out there after completion.  Expect to put time and money into:

•    Self – Publishing – this includes hiring a designer and researching self-publishing partners like in the print publishing world. They also offer downloads. In the motion world, you have options like Amazon, iTunes and Netflix.
•    Marketing, PR and advertising – This is definitely an area where you will need money and expertise. Jon Reiss in his book “Think Outside the Box Office” suggests that it will take an investment for at least as much as you spent creating your film.
•    Crowd funding – The crowd funding sites provide you a portal if your project is accepted but you need to do the work as far as getting people to know about your project and fund it.
•    Bookings – Whether it is an exhibit or a movie or a lecture – you need someone to book venues for you.  This could also mean finding sponsors.

The bottom line is really kind of an old fashioned notion in a high tech age and that is – the prize is out there is you’re willing to do the work.

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