Filmmakers have two competing brands to develop: That of their films, and that of themselves.
As a filmmaker you want to create an image of yourself and how your work is unique. Film festivals, distributors, financiers and creative collaborators will seek you out if you create the correct image of yourself.
1. Customize your Social media URL’s
One of the easiest ways to let people know where they are is to customise the URLs on your different platforms. Most social media websites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter will allow you to customise tour assigned email. This is usually done in the Contacts or Your Profile section of the website.
It’s also important to get the URL that best represents you or your film. Once you have secured a URL like www.YourName.com you have the option of creating an email with YourName@YourName.com which looks a whole lot more professional than YourName firstname.lastname@example.org. Now you have email and other social media profiles strongly in your name that you can proudly put on sinatures, posters and business cards.
2. Get Personal
Everyone loves a good story. You can relate to a really good story. Stories also elicit emotion. Suceed in this and you will instantly differentiate yourself from everyone else. When you are writing your CV remember that your experience is unique to you and the story of what happened to you at each stage of your proferssional or educational experience is how we can relate to you and remember you. It is your personal story that marks you and which establishes your personal brand.
So to, the story of your movie or screenplay is unique. Make sure you select the stories and experiences that match your brand values and are consistent. Do it right and you will achieve what every marketeer and brand consultant dreams of: you will get other people talking about you and your story.
3. Creating the title and your personal genre
The first thing a stranger sees about your movie is the title. The title is your first chance to sell your movie. A good movie title should be two or three words, taut and tense. Your personal profile too should have a few words that clearly state what it is you are and what you do.
When you need to add a bit of texture to your headline or title. Create a log line. A good log line for a movie will suggest a visual image. Visual images are another great way to give people an idea of your brsnd.
4. Create a gallery of your work
The old adage: You’re known by your work certainly holds true in the creative industries.
Why not start a cataloguing system for your work? Select the pieces that best represent what you’re trying to do. Start assembling your work in one place so you have a handy link to point people to. Before you open up your gallery you can design how it will look: the logo, the font and the colours will all be ways that you can start explaining to people what you are like.
Sometimes a social media site like FaceBook will allow you to upload videos and images. But don’t you want to have total control about how you organise your material? Perhaps you want to group images and movies into separate folders. And perhaps you also want to group articles and research you have in a different folder from rants and musings. Your own website is the perfect place for this. There are many different free, or nearly free websites you can use for this.
The important consideration is this: no matter how you collect your work, what is important is how you catalogue it – making sure it is really easy to find. Using the right keywords in the meta-tagging of your movies on Vimeo or YouTube will make it easier for the right people to find you.
I’m just returning from Central Europe where I was at a well known film festival. Most of the films shown were ‘drama’ and the trouble with ‘drama’ is that ‘drama’ is too general amd non-specific. All stories are drama.
Do you remember the last time you needed a place to live? Did you not go to an estate agency sit down and answer the question ‘What are you looking for?’ And what if you answered: “Find me a home?” The agent wouldn’t have a clue what you were looking for. On the other hand if you had said one bed, two bed, this price or that price they would know what you were looking for.
In movies we use the tool of genre to define the type of movie you have. Is it horror? Comedy? Romance? Usually we see a genre blend: action adventure, romantic comedy being the two most popular. And what about the poster? This visual tool should be like a ‘visual headline’ or, as they say in advertising, a campaign image, that instantly lets the onlooker know what kind of film they are in for.
For filmmakers seeking work, we broadly distinguish between above the line (the supposed talent: producer, writer, director, actor) and the below the line (crew). Further we distinguish below the line through the Heads of Department: Camera, Sound, Art department, Effects, Editing. Each department will have different ranks of jobs that you can align yourself with to make it clear to an onlooker what you are capable of.
Sometimes you will be in a position of being a jack-of-all-trades. After all, didn’t you write, direct, produce, shoot and edit your first few shorts? If you list all these categories on your profile you could cause confusion. Better I think to limit yourself to two or three. The golden key to success in the creative industries is to get known for doing one thing so well that you are the go-to-person for a particular skill.
In other words: Specialise. Don’t generalise. Make sure the specialities you list are those that sit well within your personal brand.
Some websites like LinkedIn have a ‘recommend’ tool where you can select from a range of skills and recommend someone. It’s kind of satisfying to have hundreds of recommendations, as I do, but nothing beats the good old-fashioned attributable quote. Send a piece of your favourite content to your favourite person and/or celebrity and ask them to comment on it.
Creating a compelling social media profile is the key to success in promoting yourself. It’s your first point of contact to potential employers, investors, cast, crew, journalists, festival programmer and acquisition executives. You need to ask yourself the tough questions, and explore your brand.
So get going and make your profile. Members of Raindance can get my instant reaction to their social media profiles.
One last thing – one of the best and easiest ways to get known is to comment on other peoples articles. Like this one! Have a thought, a rant or rave? Type it into the comments box below and start expanding your circle of influence!