Now that you have made a short film, the obvious next step is to get it seen, either through the film festival route or by distributing it to online OTTs. How do we do that? Is sending a link to your film enough? Well, not really. Sure, your film has a story that you think is worth telling. And if that's the case, people who show interest in your film would also like to know the story behind the film and the story of the filmmaking.
Hence, you will require a number of documents and materials to accompany your film that will not only help to promote the film but will also help the audience get a better idea of it, get to know the filmmaker and crew, and even help them contact you, maybe for appreciation or feedback. So, what all is there that you need to send along your film file/link? Find out below.
1. Press Kit
A presskit is a detailed booklet of your film, containing promotional materials and information about the film, filmmakers, other creative players involved, and everything else that could be used to promote the film and also act as an informative resource book about the film. Film Festivals around the world consider it as THE MOST IMPORTANT element of the film distribution, yet is ignored by many new filmmakers. An ideal Press Kit should contain the following:
Synopses of the Film in three different lengths - short, medium, and long.
Information and details of Cast and Crew.
Any interesting details like shoot locations, duration, credits, etc
High-Resolution stills from the film
High-Resolution stills of 'Behind the Scenes'
Director's Note, stating the intent behind making the film and its significance
FAQs covering the most common questions related to the film or production
Reviews and third-party testimonials
Contact Details - How to reach the Director or Producer, their social media pages, email addresses, etc.
2. Vimeo Screener
Those who send their film file through Vimeo, often forget to send something as basic as the file password, which in most cases leaves a bad first impression. It is often a tedious task for festival organizers or content acquisition teams of OTTs to run after filmmakers asking them for file passwords again and again, especially when they are already equipped with a lot of other important tasks. So, it is always best and wise to double and triple-check that you have clearly mentioned your file password for their easy accessibility. Important Note: Add a Watermark in the film 'Festival Screener' when sending it to the festivals.
3. Film Poster
The film's poster is a very (very) important advertising tool. Accept it or not, films do get judged by their cover. So, it is always a good deal to invest a great amount of time and effort in the details of your film poster. And while a film's poster may be an important tool to attract the audiences, it needs to be equally reflective of what the film is about, so that when looked at it, the viewers can get an idea and judge whether they resonate with the subject or not. So make sure you remain true to the idea of the film while making the poster because it is the one thing that can make or break your film viewership. This is because, even to get to the trailer, the audience needs to make a judgement whether to invest their precious 1-2 minutes to get to know the film better. And guess what helps them do so? YOUR FILM'S POSTER.
A thumbnail is a small (although high-resolution) but a significant element of any film kit. It is a still image that acts as a preview for your film. And be it a film festival or an online portal, you don't want your preview to repel the audiences right? Hence, you always need to give special attention to which image you use as a thumbnail and even make a dedicated graphic for it if needed. How is a thumbnail different from the film poster you ask? Well, while the poster could be used as a thumbnail in most cases, but for purposes of promotion on different channels, having different resolution and size ratios, a film poster (which is generally in portrait orientation) may not work all the time. So, it is always better to create your thumbnails keeping in mind different aspect ratios of different social media channels like Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, and even for different purposes on the same platform like Instagram Reels, IGTV, etc.
5. Trailer or a teaser
Ever watched a film whose trailer you loved but the actual film was a total waste of time? Thousands of times right? Well, that's what a trailer should do - make even the worst film look interesting. And if your film is really really good, a trailer should definitely hint at that. If it cannot, why would you expect someone to watch your film when you cannot make them like its trailer? Anyway, most short filmmakers do not think it necessary to cut out a trailer for a film that's already short. That's a huge mistake, my friend. As a filmmaker sending out films to festivals or even OTTs, never ever not send a trailer along with it. Even if your film is just 5 minutes long, a viewer would still want to invest 30 seconds in the trailer first before deciding to invest the other five. With so much content available everywhere, a sane viewer cannot watch everything. Hence to decide whether they should watch your content, it is the trailer of your film that they would rely on.
These are some of the most important yet often neglected elements and materials that filmmakers, of shorts or features, need to send along with their films. Without these, you may get your film selected in a festival or get them featured online, but you will have a hard time finding their viewership. So, if you ask me, these little things will help you go a long way and won't even take a lot of your time. Even if they do, it will be worth the effort!
And for times when you forget what all needs to be sent, you can always come back to this article (which we will keep updating for better) and refer to its content before sending out your film.
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