Marketing a documentary

9 replies [Last post]
Nintembo
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Joined: Jun 22 2004

Hi,

I am on the verge of choosing a distributor to put out my first documentary. One of the major factors I am considering ias their respective in house marketing teams - and what budget / expertiese they can offer.

I myself have worked out a reasonable marketing campaign to make the product of awareness to its target audience. Oviously I would have to sit down with the chosen distributor and go through my marketing ideas with them, and was just wondering what time period do you think would be best to plan things out. Currently I have scheduled a month to do so. (Plan things out, ensure they are possible for pre release publicity etc)

Ideas range from magazine reviews (editors have been contacted and have agreed to review advance copies), Creating an internet presence, and putting up ads on related websites.

i was wondering if anybody has actually had a documentary DVD released, what marketing methods proved effective which may not neccasaraly be thought of?

Thanks

Maxwell
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Joined: Jan 13 2007

What is the documentary about. Surely it has to be something special for people to buy.
Have you done your market research, that your DVD will sell?

Rookie
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Joined: Sep 27 1999

Hi there Nintembo. Selling a documentary is not the easiest task in the world - I know I have a friend here in Norway who have released two documentaries cinematically. The first one was voted film-of-the-year but the second one tanked despite it being the far better film in my opinion.

Anyway, depending on the subject of your documentary I believe tapping into the social-fabric of the web might do you some good.

Clips on Youtube, a blog with information about the DVD.

If you plan on sending out review-copies to fitting websites it might be worthwhile to find popular blogs about similar products. Having a few respected blogers recommend your film could be the basis of a great viral-marketing campaign.

Chrome
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Joined: May 26 1999

Just done a documentary on the Beatles for MTV(US) and worldwide DVD release by Liberation. Distribution etc. was all sorted out before it was made; in fact it was where most of the budget came from. It has been on pre-order from Amazon and most other on-line retailers since early January.

I'm rather bemused that you would make the documentary first without distribution in place... Whilst I realise a first-time documentary maker (if that's what you are - no offence meant if you're not) may find it hard getting the budget, as essentially people don't want to invest unless it's in a proven filmmaker, surely it would have been better to shoot a pilot and get funding and a distribution deal for your project from the start?

Have you got some interested distributors?

Maxwell
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Joined: Jan 13 2007

Chrome, I just had a look at Amazon regards the Beatle DVD. I'm a bit surprised at the "Rare and Unseen" footage advertisement.
I cant believe that there is still footage out there, what has not been discovered of the Beatles.
The only part what i can think on is the Let It Be recording studio work at Shepperton Studio. I know America has a recording on release on DV but not this country.
Anyway i hope it sells well.

Chrome
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Joined: May 26 1999

Thanks Maxwell, there's tons of unseen stuff out there...

Maxwell
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Joined: Jan 13 2007

Thank you for all that information. Yes i remember Ringo with his Bolex camera shooting away, also he lost a lot of film in the house fire he had. Mal did not own a camera but he used other peoples camera to take footage and made a few pounds without the tax man knowing.
I still would like to know what ever happen to his 2 diaries he had. After his shooting in America they just disappeared as i use to see him write on the set of "Hard Days Night' and on the tour bus. Did you get a change to interview Richard Lester?.
After your wonderful report I will buy your DVD. I bet it was hard work and i hope it is a success for you.

Chrome
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Joined: May 26 1999

No we didn't get Richard Lester, but we did manage a few corkers like the three Tony Bs...Tony Bramwell, Tony Barrow and even Tony Booth, Norman 'Hurricane' Smith, Alan Williams (first manager), Gerry Marsden, Sylvie Vartan, Mickey Jones, Phil Collins, Steve Harley, Colin Hanton (Quarrymen drummer), and the promoter Sam Leach, Ken Dodd and even Len Goodman.

Chrome
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Joined: May 26 1999

Actually, you can see a very small clip of what was broadcast on VH1 US here... http://www.stripmusic.co.uk/sub%20pages/beatles.html

MAGLINK
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Joined: Mar 8 2007
Chrome wrote:
Actually, you can see a very small clip of what was broadcast on VH1 US here... http://www.stripmusic.co.uk/sub%20pages/beatles.html

That V/O is more akin to The Ruttles spoof doco:D