Filmmaking, like the rest of the world, has moved online. As an up-and-coming independent filmmaker you should be considering your internet position; a webpage can function as a fount of information on your current and forthcoming projects, a place for film industry people to contact you at, a place for journalists to research you and best of all, as advertising your message about yourself ad product.

Marketing, particularly new forms of marketing, are very important to the independent filmmaker
– having a website from your first project onwards will help to create and maintain the buzz around you that is so crucial to making it in the film industry.

This article will give you some tips on how to create that online presence.

1. Domain Name
The first step you need to take when creating a website is to get a domain name. The domain name is what your website will be called. For example, this website’s domain name is raindance.co.uk. You will need to find a registrar who can register your domain name and prevent anyone else from taking it (for a small fee of course). The domain name is not the website itself but a label for it, or the sign to hang on the door.
– Here are some tips on registering for a domain name
– Here is how to find a registrar

2. Web Host
Once you have your domain name registered you will need to buy some web-space to build your website on (this is what you will hang your sign off). You can buy space from a web-host, they are someone (or more likely, some company) with a stack of computers all connected to the internet all the time that will have your website saved onto them.
– Here are some guides to choosing a web-host
– Here is a list of budget web-hosts to choose from

At Raindance we use nativespace, which offers web-hosting from £3.11 a month + VAT.

3. Building a Website
Once you have your domain name and your web-space you can begin building your actual website. Unless you are a web-designer already (and why are you reading this if you are?) then you will probably want a fairly simple WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor. These work visually and so what you see on the software screen is what you will see on your website.
– iWeb is probably one of the simplest web design programmes to use if you have a mac and you can find a tutorial here.

4. Getting it noticed
Once you have a website you need to get it noticed so that people will start visiting it. Traditional methods of advertising can work here (i.e. you can pay a company to put an advert up) but far cheaper are methods such as word-of mouth, Twitter, Facebook and having it on business cards to hand out. You can also make your presence felt on filmmmaker networking websites such as Shooting People and Talent Circle and use your url as link on your profile. It is worth considering google and other search engines when designing your website and trying to make it more search engine friendly.
– This article provides some tips on how to make your website more accessible, better looking and search engine friendly.

5. Checking your Website
Once you have the basic website up and running (if not whilst you are creating it), check it, check it and check it again. Check it with Internet Explorers 6, 7, and 8. Check it with Safari and Firefox and Opera. You don’t want someone to look for you online and find only an error message just because they use a different browser. A website with broken links sloppy design looks unprofessional and you need your website to represent you well. Validate all the code to make sure that it will stand up well to future web browsers and will be easy to edit.
– Here is a browser compatibility checker
– Here is an html validator

Good luck – and send us a link!

About 

Elliot Grove is the founder of Raindance Film Festival and the British Independent Film Awards. He has produced over hundreds of short films and also five feature films, including the multi-award-winning The Living and the Dead in 2006. He teaches screenwriting and producing in the UK, Europe, Asia and America.

Raindance trailer 2017

Elliot has written three books which have become industry standards: Raindance Writers’ Lab: Write + Sell the Hot Screenplay, now in its second edition, Raindance Producers’ Lab: Lo-To-No Budget Filmmaking and Beginning Filmmaking: 100 Easy Steps from Script to Screen (Professional Media Practice).

He has produced over 700 shorts and 6 features including the new action film AMBER.

In 2009 he was awarded a PhD for services to film education.

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