January 7, 2014

Think Your Audience Will Find Your Film on Their Own? Jon Reiss Says They Won't!

Unless you are the 0.0005 percent of filmmakers who got picked out of the line-up of would-be Hollywood auteurs, you should stop thinking of ‘entrepreneur’ as a dirty word, and start thinking about how to find your audience yourself. That’s what producer/director Jon Reiss suggests, and he’s carved a living in independent film since, well, before the Internet. In the No Film School video interview below, Jon Reiss talks about anything from a filmmaker's goals dictating a release strategy, to making music videos with Danzig and Trent Reznor, to the interactive theatrical experiences of his latest indie sequel Bomb It 2.

As Jon points out, today a filmmaker has to compete with thousands of hours of content. What’s a filmmaker to do to get the attention of people who would watch and love your film, if only they knew about it? He's told us before, and he'll tell us again, don't just sit on your thumbs waiting for a distribution exec to make your dreams come true!

Sound note: if you're wondering why it sounds like our interview was conducted from inside a submarine, well, the lavalier feed imploded and left me with only the on-board camera sound (gross)! After room kill and EQing the hell out of it in Soundtrack Pro, this is what I got. Audio savants, feel free to add your suggestions in the comments.

I had the privilege of having Jon Reiss as a mentor during the 2012 IFP Independent Documentary Lab, and his tough love is something that most independent filmmakers could use a dose of. After all, Jon wants us to succeed, and he believes in the new independent film landscape! Sure, you might be one of the lucky few who make a movie that the film world "discovers" and then shoots into the limelight. But if you aren’t so lucky, or even if you are, that system leaves us relying on the whims of a select few tastemakers. Why not seize our own destiny, figure out where our audience is, and how to reach them ourselves?

If you want to check out Bomb It 2, you can now get it on Amazon and  iTunes, or check out the Bomb It 2 site to find out when you can see a future live DJ remix screening (and get ideas for your own theatrical release). You can also follow Jon Reiss on Twitter @Jon_Reiss

What do you think about your goals as a filmmaker and how to achieve them? Do you align more with carpe diem, a wallflower, or something in between when it comes to your films?

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13 Comments

wow, stunning hair you got!

January 7, 2014 at 11:36AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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koko

Sound could be better - but content is king, great job! Have redone the audio, where may I send it?

January 7, 2014 at 12:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Frank

Hey Frank - you mean you redid the audio for the interview? How cool!! Send it over to me, good man, oamoore at nofilmschool.

January 7, 2014 at 1:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Oakley Anderson-Moore
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Director/Shooter/Editor

done

January 7, 2014 at 3:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Frank

Thanks a ton Frank! It sounds much better - I'll swap it out tonight while nobody's looking. :)

January 9, 2014 at 4:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Oakley Anderson-Moore
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Director/Shooter/Editor

I love the title of this article. Jon is dope in every way.

January 7, 2014 at 8:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Guess how many "You know" he said?
;-)

January 8, 2014 at 4:28AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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pask74

Oakley Anderson-Moore is HOT!!!

January 8, 2014 at 9:11AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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So how do you get your film noticed? (Maybe I missed it?) Is it in his book?

January 9, 2014 at 3:44PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Dale

No one will notice without you promoting it. Before you conceive of the film, while you are writing it, during the pre-production, during production, during post and while waiting for the .001% chance you will see profits that fund your next film.

January 9, 2014 at 3:56PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Frank

The idea here is that best way to get your film noticed is to figure out WHO you want to notice it. One of Jon's main ideas is about deciding what your goals are with your film: jumpstart your career, make money, change the world, etc...what is the most important thing to you? ("Get on netflix" that I mentioned in the interview is not a real goal.) When you decide, then it becomes a lot more clear who you'll want to see it, and therefore, how to tackle getting their attention.

January 9, 2014 at 4:06PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Oakley Anderson-Moore
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I always run a Rode videomic pro on camera and it is as good (if not sometimes better) than a well placed lav.

January 10, 2014 at 8:45AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Really? I've never had that experience, although I run a videomic pro on camera with a lav.

June 22, 2014 at 3:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Lane