Part Two of my Interview with Sheri Candler of Sheri Candler Marketing & Publicity
KB: You spend a lot of time using Social Media, is that important? Why?
SC: I spend a ridiculous amount of time using social media! I love making connections, introducing people and projects to audiences (and other industry people) when I know it is something both will enjoy. I do not like using social media to shill and I try to avoid doing that. It isn’t genuine, the response is generally low and it is usually something that is done out of desperation when enough time hasn’t been allocated to developing relationships.
People need to understand that social networking is for relationship building not a spray and pray form of free advertising. People who do use it to just shill are kind of like those postcard hawkers, the ones just randomly giving out a message to anyone who walks by. That hawker doesn’t know you or anything you are interested in and they don’t care. That is how you are perceived when you use social networking to only talk about your film.
If film is meant to show the human experience, tell a story about a condition, then why would you depersonalize it by not talking with your audience? Before, this really wasn’t possible or encouraged, but now it is ridiculously easy to do and people are growing to expect it. It is a fundamental shift in how people see doing business, a very personalized shift. Everyone needs to know how to connect online, not just for their business but for their lives. It is getting the point that you are really outside of society if you don’t know how to use these tools.
I have met so many interesting people over the last few years that I have been active with social networking. It wouldn’t have been physically possible for me to meet people from all over the world and hear their ideas and share mine. It is revolutionary, this change in how we communicate, and you must embrace it.
KB: What is the most important thing that most filmmakers forget/don’t do, when it comes to Marketing and Publicity?
SC: They forget to think about their audience. They might have a vague thought about who might watch their film, but usually their description is so wide that they can’t possibly reach them, or not reach them without millions in advertising money!
Also, they don’t start this process early enough. I heard a filmmaker today tell me “first I concentrate on writing the best script I can, then I concentrate on producing the best film I can, then I worry about who might watch it.” UGGGH! Why would you go through all that work to find out that there is no audience for your film? Better to be very sure about who those people are from the start, connecting with them all along so that they are waiting with excitement, ready to tell anyone they can to go see/buy your film. This can be used as leverage with distributors, if you want to go that route. You will already have people with their wallets out for your work. Don’t leave it to the last stage.
KB: What’s the best advice you can offer an Independent Filmmaker? Besides get out!
SC: Ha! I would never say that. I do think it is almost a compulsion to want to make art, make films. It isn’t something you can easily walk away from, nor should you. But I think you shouldn’t go into it thinking you’ll make money. Money shouldn’t be your motivation. You have to do it because you love it. It still means you have to work at it, both the business side and the artistic side. The business side less for the money, but for getting people to watch it, which I think all filmmakers want. I do NOT think if you make it, people will come.
Turning it into a career takes way more time than most people imagine. A sustainable career that is. I think to be sustainable, you have to find lots of different revenue streams, not think all your money will come from a film.
For a while, you will make nothing so budget for what you can stand to lose. When you are just starting out, it is just crazy to be spending large budgets. You don’t know what you are doing; there is no way you’ll make back large investments. Start small, ramp up gradually and recognize that this is a process like any other career. Almost no one walks out of school and into a well-paid CEO job, but for some reason filmmakers expect to be the CEO of their own companies right out of the gate, with little to no business experience, and to make that multimillion-dollar deal at Sundance. No wonder most fail. The film industry attracts a lot of dreamers, just be realistic in what it takes to achieve those dreams.
By all means, pick up a camera and make a film. Involve as little money and as few other people as possible when you start. As you get better, start ramping the money and the people up slowly.
KB: How can people get hold of you and are you looking for any new clients?
SC: People can reach me online because I am there all the time. I am on Twitter @shericandler and on Facebook Sheri Candler Marketing and Publicity and I have a blog www.shericandler.com where I give a lot of free advice and my own thoughts about…stuff.
I won’t say I am not looking for clients, but I usually have a lot of work. I only choose projects that I am really a fit for, I am in a lucky position that work finds me and since my available time is limited, I choose projects that I can really see a benefit in becoming involved, both for me and for the project.
Most who have contacted me will find that even when I cannot work on their projects, I am willing to give some ideas or advice or resources for them to check out and I don’t charge for that. I truly do want to help when I can and if I have a connection that I think might help someone; I go out of my way to introduce it. I expect that one day those favors will be repaid in some way and they usually are.
For those who missed Part One just scroll down…