If short films should be replaced by web series as the indie filmmaker’s go-to calling card, what replaces a film festival’s aggregated audience for promoting said calling card? Tubefilter, one of the top web sites focused entirely on web series, recently posted an articled titled How to Build Buzz For a Web Series. I could probably write a much longer post on the same topic, simply by pointing out all of the things we didn’t do on The West Side (such as making videos embeddable and posting them to sites like Vimeo, YouTube, and blip.tv). But for now, here are some tips from Tubefilter for building an online audience, including this passage on hitting the message boards:
Series creators need to be proactive when it comes to generating buzz and building an audience. OzGirl creator Nick Carlton targeted the lonelygirl15 fanbase months before his series’ release. He went to sites like MySpace and Bebo, found out who the fans of the show were, and appealed directly to them to try his new show. Social networking sites and message boards are a great way to not only find a potential audience but also a great way to interact directly with them. In fact, targeting message boards has become a standard practice. At the recent Digital Hollywood conference, during one panel, various creators were asked how they got the word out about their show. They each mentioned that one of the things they did was target message boards centered on themes compatible with their respective series. If one is making a niche show, find out where the niche lives and go to them; sitting back and waiting for them to come is not an option.
Of course, the idea of promoting your content on message boards isn’t limited to web series; no matter what your project is — even if it’s a short film! — there are probably message boards or web sites that are a good fit. I recently bookmarked this Google Directory page which lists hundreds of movie web sites by genre. Or course, “independent” is missing from the genre list, but with The West Side we certainly could have dropped a note to all of the sites listed on the Western genre page. For example, if your film is a thriller, check out the Horror list. If it’s science fiction, there’s a nice Sci-Fi list too. And so on and so forth…
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