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AD: Fans, Friends & Followers

Thursday, March 05, 2009

What is the Worst Possible Mistake You Could Make on Your Film's Web Site?

Sony Pictures Classics makes it on the Web site for their doc, 'Every Little Step.'

I stumbled across a trailer for the film on the New York Times site today. At the end of the trailer, they direct you to the film's Web site,

Good start.

Then you get to the Web site.

Is the film in release now? Being released?

No info at all.

Is it available on DVD, or coming out soon? Is it on iTunes?

No info.

All you are told is that it played in 2008 at the Berlin Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival.

Even if you as the filmmaker or distributor knew absolutely nothing about when the film was coming out theatrically or on home video... why wouldn't you give me a way to stay in touch, by entering my e-mail address or joining your fan page on Facebook, so that you could notify me when the film is out?

This is just about the dumbest thing you could do on your movie Web site. It's akin to buying a full-page ad in the Yellow Pages and forgetting to include your phone number. There's just no way for the visitor to take action and express an interest in eventually seeing the film. If I'm interested in seeing 'Every Little Step,' Sony Pictures Classics has got to hope that I'll see another ad for it once it's released, notice the title on my local arthouse's marquee, or happen across a review that lets me know it's finally out. Why take that chance, and why spend all that extra money and effort?

(IMDB, by the way, says the release date is April 17th.)

As a counter-example, check out the site for another doc, RiP: A Remix Manifesto, by my pal Brett Gaylor. You can sign up to "attend" Facebook events they've created for each of the film's screenings, subscribe to an RSS feed that lets you know about the film, follow them on Twitter, or enter your e-mail address in a box that says "Keep me posted."

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  • LOL Not to mention that the Sony site requires Flash 10, and if you don't have it all you see is a big empty box.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 5:47 PM  

  • Really looking forward to seeing RIP.

    By Blogger Eric, at 10:07 PM  

  • Great case study of what NOT to do, Scott. We will share with the IndieGoGo community.

    Your post also speaks to why all IndieGoGo projects are automatically equipped with all the share tools you mention (twitter, facebook post, digg, myspace, yahoo buzz. etc).... so filmmakers who don't have the money/time/know-how to build a website with those social media features can still direct their fans to an online home base where their fans can learn more and take action.

    By Blogger gogodanae, at 3:35 AM  

  • Forgot to refer to what I was talking about above:

    By Blogger gogodanae, at 5:28 AM  

  • @GoGoDanae

    Indie film makers will still need to spend not-insignificant time with the digital media space in order to create an authentic digital presence - one person @ 1/2- or 1/4-time could accomplish such a thing deliciously, but at a cost.

    In the less-costly alternative, someone well versed in these tools could in one day teach the core, hands-on producers all they need to know to publish stills, audio, video & text to the web :: all from their cell phones.

    I'm available April 5 for consultation :)

    By Blogger Faux Press, at 11:56 AM  

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