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Pulp Diction from SONNYBOO

Promoting Your Shorts

by Peter John Ross


How many moviemakers out there have started a project and not finished? Okay, now how many of you out there have finished your movie? Of you, how many submitted to film festivals? Then what? What happened to your movie? It’s sitting on a shelf collecting dust, or languishing without any views on a website, isn’t it? Okay, what can you do about it?
Promote your movies. Getting your movies seen is good. You might want to look into that. It increases the likelihood that people will know about your movies and your moviemaking skills.

So this article is for the people who have a movie completed.

First off, there are a ton of festivals out in the world that cost $0.00 to submit to. Then more that charge $5-10, and then there are the regular ones that charge $25-75. Articles upon articles and books upon books have been written on that ("The Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide" by Film Threat's CHRIS GORE being #1).

There’s the Internet. Short film sites like UNDERGROUNDFILM.COM, IFILM.COM, ATOMFILMS.COM, BROWNFISH.COM, and many more. You can also make your own website.
For me, the Internet is an opportunity. It's not the most optimal way to experience a movie. Sitting in a dark room with a bunch of strangers - now THAT'S WHY you make it. But that doesn’t happen that often, so take what you can get. I think having something on your site content wise is good. I've seen some filmmakers who promote their sites, but they don't even have a trailer for their short on there. All that's there is a lame bio, behind the scenes stills of people I don't know, and pics from a movie I can't see. So I'm left wondering. Why the hell would anyone care? Why are you trying to get people to your site?

If you actually HAVE content, IE a finished movie, and it’s on your site. You can get people to your site by promoting your site. There are BLOGS, a newer form of message board, traditional message boards, and Internet movie news sites. Ever since AIN’T IT COOL NEWS became legitimized by Hollywood insiders, several good Indie Film sites have made their way onto the scene. There’s FILM THREAT, INDIECLUB.COM, INDIETALK.COM, SHORTFILMINSIDER.COM, FILMWATCHER.COM, MICROCINEMASCENE, REWIND VIDEO MAGAZINE, and the INTERNET VIDEO MAGAZINE. Let them know via email your movie exists. Then they mention it, and people see it.

Now there’s also the printed media. You can submit a formal press release in the proper format via fax and/or email. Independent Filmmaker, Moviemaker, Computer Arts (uk), DV magazine, Film & Video, Millimeter, Markee, and several more printed magazines that take press releases for indie filmmakers to try to get their work in print.

The value of Print media is that it is very tangible and you can use it later on to show that someone other than your friends and family thought your movie was print-worthy. That’s worth more than gold when going to investors. It shows that you have a level of hype and also that you are serious.

At this time, there is a current trend of TV and cable shows that feature short films. In Canada they have MOVIOLA, the short film channel. Think MTV for short films. There is a cable short film show in virtually every market. Few if any pay for the movies, but you can get it seen on TV. And if you send your movie to these shows in other markets, you can get your movie seen by people in other states and cities, and all it costs is postage. {{SEE HERE FOR LIST OF SHOWS & NETWORKS SEEKING SHORT FILMS}}

As for promoting in a more unique fashion, you have to have a product to see. The singular best promotion I saw in the last 5 years came from 7MPICTURES.COM . They had Kevin Carr, a director, go to the auditions of ARE YOU HOT?, the reality series. If you don't know Kevin, he described it best in the promo and the pilot for ARE YOU HOT. He said, "Most of these guys have a six pack, I've got the whole keg..." From that, he was singled out because he was large & it was funny. Kevin then got interviewed on 2-3 morning drive time radio shows here locally plugging their shorts and site, as well as appearing on national TV in the pilot on ABC and also in promo spots on ACCESS HOLLYWOOD.

I have to admit this was TOTAL FREAKIN' GENIUS. The best indie film promotion ever done as far as I'm concerned. Kudos to 7Mpictures. I can say honestly that I was envious of that idea.

Spike Lee's book "Spike's Gotta Have It" about the making of his first feature has the words "BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY" written repeatedly throughout his journal. I live by that when finishing a movie and promoting it.

Dust off that old short and do something with it. Put it online, send it to more festivals, put it on TV, and let people know it’s there. By any means necessary.

I stand by my mantra – “If you want to be discovered, you have to be somewhere people can find you.” So get your movies seen. A lot.


- Peter John Ross


About award winning filmmaker Peter John Ross & Sonnyboo Productions – Founded in 1999, Sonnyboo short films have played on 3 continents and at over 50 film festivals world wide. Projects directed by Peter John Ross appear on Tech TV, National Lampoon Networks, Movieola the short film channel, The “U” Network, and Vegas Indies TV. Sonnyboo films have been noted in such publications as RES Magazine, Ain’t It Cool News, Camcorder & Computer Video magazine, Film & Video Magazine, LA Weekly, Film Threat, the Village Voice, & Internet Video Magazine.


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