The latter part of that is easy. After much research and deliberation, we’ve decided to use Distrify.com to handle the watching and viewing. It has the features we need: embeddable, choice of pricing options, multiple discounting options (specific codes for promotional events, advertising and data-tracking), and the ability to place other purchasing options within the embedded player itself like physical copies of the film, merchandise etc. This is the viewing element of our marketing plan which is making the film as accessible as possible to everyone to whom we’re marketing.
The who also makes up the how. The film has a very specific audience. Partnering with specific organizations right up front gives us access to what is essentially, a built-in audience. The organization’s buy-in up front gives us access to their constituency, mailing-lists, subscribers, and followers. This is huge for the obvious reasons. We have two specific organizations we’ve partnered with that are going to take up the banner for the film as they have a vested interest in getting people to watch something they’ve supported from the outset in fundraising efforts, promotions, and office support.
However, I feel I nee to state that this isn’t a film about the organization or some sort of “branded entertainment.” Both organizations had absolutely no input in the creative process or story and in one case, hasn’t even seen the film. Personal relationships were the key here. As filmmakers, we had the trust of the organizations up front due to previous relationships. This model could be the subject of a dedicated post later on.
Outside these two organizations, we’re tapping personal relationships, key contacts in the blogosphere and new media outlets, limited traditional media (print, television, radio) efforts as well as planned appearances at appropriate events. All of these have been determined by the content and intended audience of the film we worked out in preproduction and development.
So the plan is to turn each impression of the film into a viewing. This is best done while the impression is fresh. Traditional marketing approaches are based on building buzz through all the approaches we’re using but focused on a big, single release later on. The message sent is, “This is awesome, but you have to wait to see it.” To date, without exception, everyone that’s come to learn about the film asks a variation of one question, “how can I watch/get this?” They don’t mean in several months, they mean right now. So unlike traditional approaches, we’re going to release right away and point people to the film while it’s fresh and exciting.