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AD: Fans, Friends & Followers

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Audio: Panel on How Filmmakers Are Building Fan Bases

My audience-building panel at the Independent Film Festival of Boston was surprisingly packed for something scheduled at noon on a beautiful Sunday. Panelists included new media guru Brian Chirls, documentary producer and cinematographer Sean Flynn, and Chris Holland from B-Side, who is also the author of 'Film Festival Secrets.' The attendees were mostly filmmakers, with some musicians and comedians tossed in for biodiversity.

You can click the player below to hear the audio. (A downloadable MP3 can be found here.) According to Brian, who recorded the panel, we talked about a wide range of things, including:

    - Benefits and pitfalls of social networking (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.)
    - Strategies for reaching audiences before, during and after production
    - Crowdsourcing to build audiences as well as help production
    - How much of your content to post online for free
    - Ad revenue models
    - Distribution formats (DVD, download, streaming, theatrical, etc.)
    - Applying all the above to other media such as music and art


I also recall that we talked a bit about the pendulum shift that is happening with regard to building a fan base for your work. In the old days, when you had a movie distributor or a record label behind you, you spent maybe 10 percent of your time on promotion and marketing tasks (like doing interviews with the media), and 90 percent of your time actually creating. I think the pendulum is swinging, toward a world where success is going to require more of a 40/60 split between audience-building and creating. That's not necessarily bad news, since audience-building can feed your art, and in fact be an art form unto itself. Just think about how much people like Andy Warhol, Frank Lloyd Wright, and John Waters all seem(ed) to enjoy promoting their work...

What do you think?

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