Pep Talk: Marketing an Independent Film

I recently directed and produced a short film. I have entered it into several independent film festival contests and also posted it on several social media sites to no avail. I have been soliciting agents for this piece along with other films and plays that I have, but no one is responding. How can I get the word out about my film and my other works without an agent?

—R. Pierce
Via E-mail

Unless you are related to a Hollywood producer, getting a creative project noticed is a challenging endeavor. But I’m sure you knew that when you started. If, as the old adage goes, “Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration,” you have a lot more work to do.

Consider having your film reviewed by a film professor at a local college or trade school to get a perspective on the quality of your film. He or she will be able to offer you feedback on what the film needs, how to properly market it, and additional work you may need to do. And just because you’ve been overlooked by several festivals does not mean you should stop submitting. There are a vast variety of film festivals that occur each month all over the world. Check out www.filmland.com, which also lists conventions.

Also, I advise you to continue your efforts online—not showing the whole film, but teasing with your best segments and creating dialogue around the messages your film is offering. If you believe in your project, you have to continue to push.

This article originally appeared in the January 2010 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.

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