This is a guest post by filmmaker Ryan Gielen.
In 2009, the digital options for film releasing were exploding, theatrical attendance was dipping, alternate screening venues were popping up everywhere, and audiences were just starting to explore and develop their new viewing habits -- watching content when and where they wanted, on demand. My first feature, The Graduates, played in a few festivals and won a couple of awards, but we didn't receive a single distribution offer. This is not unique. A tiny percentage of the thousands of feature films that are made every year receive distribution. My producers and I believed in the film, however, and were determined to see it both in theaters, and on the major digital platforms.
We had to develop a plan largely from scratch. There were not a ton of examples to follow, or paths already cleared, because the digital space was changing too rapidly and this was early in the process. What we discovered was that with good planning, research and hustle, any film can succeed.
Over the intervening four years, The Graduates has been seen by over a million people across the major digital platforms, in a handful of theaters, and on cable VOD. This tiny film with no stars and no marketing budget is still in the top 15 comedies of all-time on Hulu. We were so successful we got to make and release two new features, Drinking Games (July, 2013), and Turtle Hill, Brooklyn (available exclusively on iTunes through July 1, then moving onto all major platforms).
We've now combined all of this experience and everything we learned over the last four years into a free e-book, Filmmarketing on The Web. The focus of the book is not on tips and tricks in creating Facebook ads, for instance, it's on rewiring how we as independent filmmakers think about film releasing in the digital era, with real-world examples from our experience supporting each premise.
I hope you find FTW helpful, informative, and eye-opening. If you have questions, I'll be happy to answer them. The e-book is completely free, so I hope you share it with anyone who could benefit from it. We believe in the power of the community, and are proud to participate in helping to bring your next film to its audience.
Ryan Gielen's films have won awards in festivals around the country for writing, direction, and vision, and have been featured in The New York Times, Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Wholphin, Filmmaker Magazine, The Village Voice, Gawker, The Washington Post, and over 200 local print, radio, and television outlets. His first film, The Graduates, was self-distributed and became one of the most successful DIY indie releases of the last five years, debuting at #1 on Hulu and remaining in the top ten comedies for the last four years. His current release, Turtle Hill, Brooklyn, opened in theaters on May 3rd and is currently available exclusively on iTunes. His production and distribution company BelieveLTD is a two-time WEBBY winner, specializing in creating and building audiences for short form web content.