We at Samyukta Media decided to celebrate this day by starting a series of blog posts on the importance of Social Media for Film Makers. We will bring to you thoughts from the industry leaders, useful social media tools for independent and documentary film makers, case studies etc. So stay tuned. This is the first article in this series. (Never mind that we are a day late in launching our series)
Of all the creative minds, perhaps a a film maker needs social media the most. Because the desire for an audience and its appreciation is the most when it comes to films. A painter might be happy just making a great painting even if nobody saw it. A performing artiste, a singer or a dancer performs for her own joy, a writer might be happy reading her own writing, but a film maker cannot be in isolation.
For the film maker the audience is everything. She has to be social. And what better way to directly reach the audience than through social media.
When we say film maker, we mean all kinds of film makers, from independent fiction to documentary, from big budget full length feature film to short film makers, from commercial to issue based. And when we say ‘social media’ we mean a LOT more than just Twitter and Facebook.
Film making is an elaborate process with several stages. From thinking of a story to script writing, film funding, selecting the caste and crew, location, promotion and release, social Media plays a role in almost all of these stages.
Social Media has changed the relation between Art and Money
Social media has already and will continue to bring four major changes in the process of film making. First, the co-relation between art and money has changed dynamically. With social media tools film makers are being able to crowd source funds for their projects and thereby reject the money driven agendas of the corporate media houses. Like reader funded journalism we now have audience funded films so that the film maker doesn’t have to compromise on his creativity any more.
Buy A Credit is a web based platform where you can pay $10 and buy a space for your name on the end credits of a film. This was exactly what Indian film maker Onir did when he couldn’t find a producer for his set of 4 short films called ‘I Am’. The film eventually became the first Indian film to be crowd funded. (In our subsequent posts we will give a detailed case study on ‘I Am’)
Social Media has changed the Marketing strategy
With the advent of multiplexes a whole new genre of film making has emerged. We now have films made on niche subjects targeting a niche audience. This was possible because the film makers knew there is a special audience for a special film. It makes so much more sense then to also create special marketing strategy targeting this particular set of audience. Why spend on a TV commercial or an outdoor hoarding, when you can capture the attention of your target audience by placing a Facebook Ad on the right side bar of their Facebook profile?
With social profiling of millions of urban audience you can not only target them according to their city, region, age and gender but also according to what they like to talk about, what they read, the kind of music they listen to or the food they eat and so on.
Social Media has changed how stories and scripts are developed
Ridley Scott director of films like Gladiator and Blade Runner recently produced a user (audience in this case) generated documentary film ‘Life In a Day’ that tells the story of a single day on Earth. The film, directed by Oscar-winner Kevin Macdonald strives to be the largest user-generated feature film ever created.
A film maker now starts the journey of film making together with his audience. The audience is a part of the project. They constantly inspire and shape the film with their suggestions, feedback and valuable life experiences.
People want to tell their stories all the time, and it only takes a few social media tools and a simple internet connection for a film maker to capture those stories.
Radical change in the way a film is distributed
Perhaps the most significant change made by social media in the process of film making is the way a film is distributed. There is nothing worse for a film maker than being told by a distributor ‘nobody wants to see your film.’ Swedish film ‘Nasty Old People’ was first premiered on The Pirate Bay, one of the largest torrent download site, with creative common license. The film maker gave away the film to the audience for unrestricted use including copy, share, distribute. Somebody who saw it liked it a lot and shared it with a real distributor. That distributor liked it a lot and the film eventually had a mainstream release.
The moral, open up your world with social media, let go of the control and see how people embrace. Eliminate the middle man, reach your audience directly. If they like your work, they’ll do anything to promote it.
To conclude here’s a quote from Mr. Elliot Grove, founder of British Independent Film Awards:
Filmmaking is a collaborative art form. This will not ever change. What social media has changed is the way collaboration has shifted from collaboration solely during the production process to collaboration between storytellers, filmmakers and audiences. [Source]
Join us on the Social Media Baithak page (by Join we mean you just have to Like it once), a non profit initiative to share and learn about social media for the film makers.