Would You Want to Make a Movie?

04-distribution-newsletterRegardless of the kind of artist you are (writer, actor, painter etc.) due to advances in technology it’s easier than ever to be able to make and distribute a motion picture.

But why would a creative who is not a filmmaker want to create a film? It could be for reasons of artistic exploration or even to promote the artist’s work.

For example a writer might write a screenplay and then make it into a film to display her/his writing, whereas an actor could create a movie to showcase her/his acting, while a painter would possibly produce a motion picture to present her or his paintings in a story context.

The promotional possibilities are endless for a variety of different kinds of artists. And it doesn’t mean that you’re selling out and not being artistic by doing something to promote yourself. The fact is most creations are a form of advertising in one way or another.

There’s a term used in PR which is “newsworthy” meaning of course that something is worthy of being in the news. Making a movie, especially if it’s connected to a topic that is very popular at the time, can be newsworthy.

And once your film is completed you can distribute it and maybe even make a profit. Digital distribution includes DIY video on demand transactional platforms – such as Amazon Video – as well as possibly subscription based platforms like Netflix and Hulu etc.

We go into more detail about digital distribution in our current Art Gush online course “Digital Distribution Methods” which is #4 in our “How to Sell a Movie” series.

Digital Distribution Options

03_digital_movie_options_newsletterHow to Sell a Movie: Course 3 of 7 – Digital Movie Distribution Options

As of this writing, there are a lot of filmmakers who want to be on Netflix. Unfortunately – also at this moment – Netflix is one of the most challenging of the digital movie distribution options to get on. First off you need to have a film that can compete with the others on this venue.

And secondly, even if you get on Netflix, unless you are on heavy rotation within the service, chances are very few people will see your movie anyway.

The good news is that there is a popular digital movie distribution option that is easier to get on.

We are talking of course about Amazon Video. In our third installment of “How to Sell a Movie” on the Art Gush Online Education website, we discuss Amazon Video and how to upload your film onto that service.

Of course, just being on that digital distribution platform is not nearly enough. You have to have a kick ass web marketing campaign in place to ensure that folks purchase views.

Thankfully, creating an effective digital promotion campaign is possible. Though, especially if you don’t have much of a budget, you need to know what you’re doing.

Art Gush methodologies were developed just for that purpose: cost effective digital promotion techniques – and we’re not necessarily speaking about social media.

John Yianni Stamas Discusses Digital Film Distribution Elements

distribution-elementsAs we established last week, selling a movie today is much different than it was even five years ago.

In order to sell a movie you need distribution elements or deliverables as detailed in the current Art Gush course.

We live in a digital age therefore movies of today are distributed digitally. This also opens up the playing field for filmmakers who have a good film as well as effective marketing.

To further detail the digital revolution following is some of the wording from the “bundle” (all inclusive access to courses) promotion page of “Art Gush: Online Education to Advance Your Creative Career.”

“The Time Has Never Been Better to Create Your Own Artistic Movie – Your Vision, Career and Self Expression Realized!

Here’s the exciting news: the digital stars have aligned so it is easier than it has ever been to create, distribute and promote a full length digital movie as an actor or any artist. Literally all you need is a camcorder (actually you could use your phone), a digital editing app (very inexpensive these days) as well as inspiration and tenacity. Put this together with the three stars and you have the total creative package to highlight your work!
The Three Digital Stars Have Aligned

What are the three digital stars of the alignment?

They are:

1. Content Creation

2. Online Distribution

3. Digital Promotion

Selling a Movie Marketing Before and After

01_how_to_sell_a_movie_newsletterThis article is going to cover how to begin marketing a film either before or after it has been made.

One of our websites is Art Gush which features online education to advance your creative career. On this site we recently spent an entire year creating a new installment every week, each of which taught three easy steps a day on the topic of how to make a digital feature film.

The goal of the course series is to make a motion picture in a virtually solo introvert-friendly manner. Ever since we completed this production process there has been an interest in “How to Sell a Movie.” This makes sense because once you make a film you need to sell it.

Therefore, the next several installments of this newsletter will be about an evolving seven part Art Gush course series known quite appropriately as – you guessed it – “How to Sell a Movie.”

Just as the process of creating a motion picture has changed greatly over the last decade due to technology, so also has the methodology of selling a film.

It used to be that you would make a movie and then get a distributor to distribute it. But we have now entered the age of DIY digital distribution and sales/marketing.

This means whether you have made a movie or are thinking about making one, you have a lot of great resources to help with doing the marketing yourself.

For the individual who hasn’t made her or his film yet, you actually have a terrific opportunity to start promoting your movie from day one. You can shape your creative project so it appeals to a very specific audience. This is important because once your picture has been completed you will have a film that has an audience.

On the other hand, if you have already completed a movie you may not have thought much about your motion picture’s audience. If so, it is critical to define who is going to watch your film.

Once you know who your audience is you can begin marketing to them. If you haven’t made your film yet this may include starting a blog so the behind-the-scenes of your project can be documented.

If you’ve already finished your movie, you could do a blog on the process of marketing your film.

More to come on the topic of “How to Sell a Movie!”

Benefits of having a Blog

benefits-blog-newsletterHave you been thinking about starting a blog but aren’t sure if it is actually going to be helpful for your career or business? What are the benefits of having a blog?

If building your organization’s or your own presence on the internet is a part of your marketing strategy, then a blog can be a great idea.

A blog can also help you with organizing yourself. The reason is that having one is much like having a time every week or so to check in with your business.

And the neat thing is that blogs and email newsletters dovetail nicely. Here’s how it works…

Let’s say you’ve decided that once a week you are going to send out an eblast as well as do a new entry in your blog. It’s a productive approach to write your blog entry first and your newsletter second.

Why? Because if you write a blog entry that is about twice as long as your your latest intended newsletter email, you can use the same content for both!

In your newsletter you use the first half of your content that leads up to a point where the reader is interested to learn more. It is at this point in your newsletter that you put a link that connects the user to your blog.

Having people click from your newsletter to your blog is good for your it in terms of showing the search engines that there is interest. This will likely help with your overall web ranking status.

More can be found on this topic in our current Art Gush edition entitled “Part 9 of 9: How to Create a Web Publication.”

Should You Rebrand?

08-should-you-rebrandLast week we talked about building a team and began to explore branding. In this edition of the Lights Camera Read newsletter we are going to look at the question “Should you rebrand?”

Rebranding is a subject currently being examined by our Art Gush Online Education site that teaches a daily step by step approach to promote yourself as a creative person and to thrive artistically.

First off, let’s answer the question “What is branding?” Some say it is a combination of marketing, strategy, design, identity and logo. But whatever it is, it’s a way you can take some control of how you are perceived.

Rebranding then is metamorphosing the way folks see your brand based on changes you or your organization may have undergone – a kind of update if you will.

How do you know you need to rebrand? One reason is because customers and fans are not engaging with you as much as they used to. Maybe your brand is dated and in need of modernization?

Once you’ve made the decision to rebrand you might want to take a look at your mission. Are you still fulfilling your mission? Do you need to engage your audience more in regards to your mission? What are the changes you need to make to you brand to achieve more engagement?

As mentioned in past installments, we at Lights Camera Read are considering doing a rebranding starting in January as a graduate school project. Our organization started in 2009 as a way for youth to learn to make videos and do writing inspired by favorite books. Hence Lights Camera Read. It was a program that was done in several branches of the New York Public Library.

But now we are focusing on online education and our audience has expanded and changed. Our diverse audience is now interested in becoming empowered with learning that provides them with benefits including promotional strategies and ways to evolve artistically.

As our audience has changed so has our mission. So if we do a rebranding starting in January we may change our name or possibly develop an additional entity.

As always we love to hear from our readers. Please contact us with any questions or feedback.

Find Your Image

07-find-your-imageWhen we say “find your image” we mean literally “finding your images” as in discovering stock graphics and photos for your website. It’s often best to create your own photographs and graphics if you can, but this is not always possible. Therefore stock graphics and photos become a viable alternative.

Of course another type of “image” is your brand – how people perceive you. That’s why it’s a good idea to figure out what your mission is so that you can in turn establish your brand. Your stock image choices should reflect your brand.

There are some very good stock image and graphics houses available. Many of them you have to pay for, but some of them are free. A simple series of online searches will uncover both stock images that are at no cost as well as those that require remuneration. So it is suggested that you do searches and make a list of choices.

Speaking of branding, because of the thesis that we have decided on for graduate school, we are likely going to be doing a “rebranding” of “Lights Camera Read” starting in a few months. We may even change the name during the rebranding process.

Wikipedia defines rebranding as being “…a marketing strategy in which a new name, term, symbol, design, or combination thereof is created for an established brand with the intention of developing a new, differentiated identity in the minds of consumers, investors, competitors, and other stakeholders.”

But lest we get too far off the track of photo and graphic image acquisition, let’s discuss your next step after making an internet list of the image vendors you are considering.

Next you insert your images into your website alongside your text. Remember, these images should reflect your mission and brand. Don’t be afraid to go back to your images source for new ones if your current pictures don’t aptly reflect you and your business and organization.

Finally, be sure to market to your audience that your site has been updated.

For more information on “Finding Your Image” please visit the online education site Art Gush.

John Yianni Stamas Tells You How to Put Together Your Own Team of Ghouls

06-your-own-support-teamIt’s a spooky time of year so in our current Art Gush online education installment we are currently working on video/PDF course 6 of 9 in the “How to Create a Web Publication” series that will haunt you (in a good way). This episode is perfect for any goblins who want to have their very own support team of ghouls.

Hi. I’m John Yianni Stamas and I have a question for you. Is the idea of putting together your own support team a spine tingling concept full of fear? The good news for solopreneurs is that these days you can overcome being scared by now having access to special online services. These services make it very much like having one’s own group of other worldly helpers.

Putting together a group of freelancers means you don’t need to deal with with the frightening aspects of having actual employees. Sites like Fiverr make it possible to do things with your witch or warlock kettle of media such as creating a website at a very low cost.

Many solopreneurs try to do everything all by themselves – a “Ghost of All Trades” so to speak. But this is difficult, even impractical. For those who like working primarily alone but realize they can’t do it all themselves, hiring online freelancers can be a good fit for getting out from beneath the cobwebs.

When you hire freelancers online your communication with them is primarily by email which allows you to think through your business and art choices without the pressure of having to perform well in front of others. You can even wear your Dracula cape at the computer if you want.

So for more information on forming your every own support team check out webisode #6 of 9 in the “How to Create a Web Publication” series and make staying alone in your tomb a thing of the past!

John Yianni Stamas Talks About How to Finalize Your Content

05-finalize-your-contentLAST WEEK’S ENTRY

If you’ve been following along with our Art Gush online education courses and/or our Lights Camera Read blog plus newsletter, then you know that last week we looked at “Create Your Content.” This week’s video entry for “Art Gush” is the finalizing of that content.

WEBSITE CATEGORIES

The areas we developed website content for this past week included the “About” page (mission/vision), the nonprofit “Donate” page (or products/services for for-profit companies), the “Blog” section and finally the “Newsletter” category (which consists of excerpts from your blog).

BEST TIP FOR FINALIZING YOUR CONTENT

The best tip I can give you about finalizing the content of your website is that you need to ask yourself the question “What is it that I want my website to do for me that is simultaneously a useful solution for my readers?” In other words what is the call-to-action that you ultimately desire the web browser to take?

WHERE THE ROADS LEAD

If you are able to answer the call-to-action question it subsequently makes finalizing the content easier because then all roads lead to the same place: the thing that you wish your reader to do.

GETTING MY MASTERS

As many of you know I am currently working on getting my masters degree in “Arts Administration” so the work that I do for Lights Camera Read is relevant to the work I am doing in school and vice versa. I have a meeting soon with the new “Arts Administration” department head to propose an idea I have for my final project thesis and consultancy.

A POSSIBLE NEW ORGANIZATION

And although I am only about halfway through the degree, as well as am only going to school part time, I figure there’s no time like the present to get a jump on the final phase of the program. The idea I have for my thesis is the formation of a new organization that is quite different from what I have done before.

MAKING A CONTRIBUTION

The thesis organization is based on an issue that I think is very important to solve in contemporary times. It’s a big issue with lots of social ramifications so I don’t think my proposed organization will necessarily solve the problem – but I do believe it can make a contribution to the effort.

WAITING FOR GREEN LIGHT

What is the issue that my possible organization will solve? I am not at liberty to reveal that just yet. I need to get the green light from my department head so that I can work on the business plan in conjunction with getting my masters.

POINTING IN ONE DIRECTION

But I will say this – if I do get the go-ahead from the department head, there will be big changes to the courses, blog entries and newsletters that we do. All resources will be pointed in one direction.

How to Create Your Content

create-your-contentNEWSLETTER MISSION

The mission of our newsletter is to bring you updates on Lights Camera Read creative projects (Platinum Pias Awards Show, Art Gush Online Courses, Magic Neighbors Theater Company and so forth) as well as help you build your visibility on the web.

HOW TO CREATE YOUR CONTENT

Last week we covered how to plan your website and this week we are going to lightly touch on how to create your content.

CONTENT IS KING

You may have heard the saying “Content is King” and it’s true. The text you put up on your website can make or break it, so it’s a good idea to put some thought into what your content is going to convey.

HOW TO CREATE YOUR WEB PUBLICATION

In this week’s Art Gush course entry (Number 4 of 9 of the “How to Create Your Web Publication” series) we are discussing the menu items “About,” “Donate (or Products/Services),” “Blog” and “Newsletter.” In this communication we will explore these areas also, with more information available in the Art Gush course.

YOUR “ABOUT” PAGE

Studies have shown that the “About” page is one of the first read, so it is important to work hard on this one. It is a good idea to have your organization’s mission and vision on this page. As we’ve discussed in the past, your vision is what you are trying to achieve and your mission is how you are going to get there.

YOUR “DONATE” OR “PRODUCTS/SERVICES” PAGE

If you are a nonprofit you should have a “Donate” page and if you are a for-profit you should have a products/services page. The intent behind both pages is the same: you are trying to get the reader to take action. In the case of the “Donate” page you want your viewers to donate, and in the case of the “Products/Services” page you desire your readers to purchase your products and services.

YOUR “BLOG”

Your blog is an important part of your website. Why? Because your blog is a consistent way of creating new content, usually on at least a weekly basis. New content means more listings on search engines as well as can be used as the basis of the content for your newsletter.

YOUR “NEWSLETTER”

It is a good idea to stay in touch, and your newsletter is a way to do this. And the great news is that if you are doing a blog on a weekly basis you can re-purpose this content for use in your newsletter. It is recommended that you include approximately half of an individual blog entry in your newsletter and link from it to that blog entry. This means that people reading your newsletter will potentially click through to your blog.