It’s more likely than not that you’ve heard of Pinterest -- the fast growing social media network that lets folks create an online scrapbook of images they can share or re-share with others. Being such a visual medium, it's no surprise many filmmakers are exploring ways in which they can put this new social media tool to use. With that in mind, here are 5 ways filmmakers can use Pinterest to their advantage:
Share Your Film’s Influences
[caption id="attachment_20824" align="alignleft" width="216" caption="This page from Moebius' and Dan O'Bannon's "The Long Tomorrow" could have been in Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner" scrapbook"][/caption]
It’s not unusual for filmmakers to put together a visual scrapbook of inspiring and evocative imagery that communicates the texture, feel, and mood of the film they are aiming to create. This is often shared with the DP, production designer, actors, etc., who might then share their own ideas with the filmmaker, and in the process create a general consensus of the movie's vision. With Pinterest you can do this on-line. You might create multiple boards -- one that focuses on make-up, one on locations, another on lighting, etc., and let folks be inspired by any and all. By pruning and editing what you feel works and doesn't work you can come up with a rich and organic thought-ball that keeps everyone on the same page. As you start going into production, crew members can add photos of the actual production versions to show how the inspiration translated into reality.
But it doesn't stop there. These boards can be a rich and interesting bonus for viewers to explore and share-- and in so doing, turn on folks who might be interested in one of the individual images, perhaps re-pinned elsewhere, onto your film. Imagine someone coming across a re-pinned 1970’s image of a rollerskating man you'd used as a style guide, clicking on the image and finding your 1970’s era film. There are a lot of mental strands that lead into our movies, and by putting them out there for the world to see you can make it easier for like-minded folks to find the movie.
Make The Boards Part of The Story
I noticed Lance Weiler has a Pinterest profile, and that immediately got me thinking of the transmedia possibilities and how the story world itself could be enhanced by Pinterest. Many folks have explored the idea of creating a character Facebook profile or blog, and Pinterest offers its own unique variation on the concept.
Looking at my friends' photo albums can often reveal their character and temperament in subtle and surprising ways. You get to see how they “see” the world -- not only in terms of the pictures they take themselves, but also the kind of images they want to re-share (i.e the kind of e-cards someone tends to post).
What do your characters see? What kind of clothes would they be interested in? How do they view the world? And if you were to take 10 snapshots of what holds their attention during a given day, what would they be?
Promote Your Movie
Use Pinterest to spread the word directly. I was reading about this airline's promotional give away and thought how simple it would be to replicate the strategy for a film.
The gist -- the airline put up 5 boards with 45 numbered destination images that one could re-pin for a chance to win a free ticket. They only counted the first 6 you re-pinned, but each week they picked a number and if you had re-pinned that numbered image you would be in the running.
Needless to say, something similar could be done by putting up 45 stills from your movie with various rewards offered (i.e free screening tickets, a DVD, a poster, etc. etc.). By encouraging folks to share your images, you also encourage others to find out what the image is about and thus increase awareness of your movie.
“• Statistics show Pinterest drives more referral traffic on the Web than Google+, YouTube, Reddit and LinkedIn combined. The beauty of pinning photos/videos is they link back to websites, thus driving traffic. They are no follow links, so it doesn't help with SEO, but any link that drives traffic to a site is good for awareness and conversion.”
Encourage Audience Participation
Create boards that are powered by your followers' enthusiasm and knowledge. You can ask folks to pin sample 1940's era hair-do's for a character, or awesome cinematic locations in your city. But going beyond this, you can try creative experiments -- like a crowd-sourced storyboard. Give folks a scene from your script, and ask them to pin shots from movies that they think would express the mood and idea of a moment in the scene -- pretty soon you might have a close up from Leone, an establishing shot from Kurosawa, a fight scene from Boorman. Once you've organized the shots into some semblance of a storyboard, you can try going out and shooting the scene by replicating the shots and framings suggested by users. Not only would it be fun, but it would be a great way to get folks engaged in the filmmaking process and looking forward to the end product.
Show What You’re About
In the same way you can reveal who your characters are through the kinds of things they pin, show what you yourself are about. You can show off stills from previous projects, books that have inspired you, and issues that are important to you. By doing this not only will you express something about yourself, but you will also be creating a resource for others. Ted Hope has a pretty great profile in this respect. Not only do you get a sense of who he is, but exploring his boards is genuinely useful and interesting.
Pinterest may or may not be a fad, but being such a visual social media tool, it seems a natural fit for filmmakers. Putting out an image or re-pinning an image is joining a larger image web that connects you to folks far and wide, giving you the potential to make all kinds of interesting and unexpected discoveries. As with any social network, the more you contribute to it the more you can benefit from it. So give it a try and see if it works for you.
Have you tried it yet? Can you think of other great ways Pinterest can be used by filmmakers to promote their films or facilitate the filmmaking process? Let us know below!