Thursday, March 26, 2009

How To Promote Your Film or Business With Webisodes

Okay when the universe speaks, I listen. When I do extract my hands from the keyboard or can will myself to stop tweeting on Blackberry, I do actually talk to people face to face. And this week the term "webisode" has been popping up every where I go.

So not to assume everybody knows exactly what a webisode is, I'll explain simply as an episodic series aired on the internet. So what's so special about them? Well, as most of know in the bizz, webisodes are becoming the next best thing since "Young and the Restless", but millions of dollars cheaper.

And with so many people out of work in the industry, webisodes are providing creative outlets for actors, writers, directors, filmmakers, etc. and even businesses to promote themselves online at next to nothing in cost. How you ask?

1. If you've shot every phase of the production, then you probably have enough to edit into a series. Or another option is post the individual webisodes as you go. That way, audiences feel they are really seeing it as it happens--almost like vlog. And with sites like Ustream, you could actually "go live" from the set, conducting interviews, and possibly some behind the scenes footage.

2. Once you've got the first episode shot and edited, post it to the film's or company's website, blog, Myspace page or even Facebook. Keep in my this should be a simple edit. Save special affects, funky wipes, and dissolves for another on air project. This is the internet, all that ain't necessary and for the most part having to render those little extras will only slow you down. Cuts or simple dissolves will do.

3.If you've got a YouTube Channel, Vimeo, Google video then post it there. Be sure to always include a link where viewers can get more information about your film or product. Always refer them back to the main site is my suggestion. I would also tag the video with some sort of icon or logo to make it difficult to hackers to post it elsewhere as their own.

3. If posted on YouTube or social networking site, be sure to ask for comments or check the correct box in your settings to enable commenting. Be prepared, though, for criticism.

4. Respond to comments and questions to create a rapport with your viewers. If you get thousands of hits, just pick and choose which comments you want to respond to.

5. Keep the webisodes coming consistently. Once a week, once a month, set an editing and posting schedule so site visitors will keep coming back. Use your Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace tools to let friends and followers know the next episode is ready for viewing. Once the film is in the can or the product is ready to hit the market, use the same social networking tools to send out invitations to screenings, launch parties, etc.

That's it!

3 comments:

Steven said...

This makes so much sense for many types of businesses, perhaps even more than for media companies with film properties to publicize.

What better way for a service company of almost any kind to reach out and develop rabid fans, eager for the next installment of the story. It's probably the most useful way to structure video content for a fraction of the cost of air time.

David H. Deans said...

You said "I would also tag the video with some sort of icon or logo to make it difficult for hackers to post it elsewhere as their own."

In contrast, I believe that the proven "social media" best practices are actually the inverse. You make it free and easy -- via a creative commons license -- for anyone to copy it, mash it up, re-post it, syndicate it in any way that's humanly possible.

Yes, of course you want attribution for your creative work, but you need all the help that you can get to reach the full potential of your network of fans -- so they enable you to propagate your creative work at zero cost.

My point: don't think like a legacy studio exec that's used to restricted distribution strategy, but instead like an open-market Indie entrepreneur.

Jedrzej Jonasz said...

Great article! This is exactly what I am doing for my feature film about the film industry. I've found that films about films don't have the greatest reach in terms of mass audience, so mainstream distribution is doubtful. But online, we can actually reach filmmakers, film students and film enthusiasts directly. Check out our first webisode at:

http://www.LowBudgetComedy.com