Part 9: Getting a Backer for Your Film

After you have filmed your movie, you will want to register it with the copyright office.

You can do this at this address:

Register of Copyrights, Copyright Office

Library of Congress

Washington, DC 20559

It does not cost that much to register a movie with the copyright office and this should be done with the finished product. If you are trying to sell a finished screenplay, this should be done before trying to sell the screenplay. The reason for doing this is so no one can steal your screenplay or your film.

Be aware that you can only copyright a finished product. You cannot copyright an idea with the copyright office. Often times, I'd get a pitch from screenwriters and they insist on signing a confidentiality agreement.

That means that someone can take your idea and re-write it to make a different film. This sometimes happens and there are lawsuits because of it.

It may be easier to get a backer to distribute your film to the movie houses if you have the film already made. If you are fortunate enough to know anyone in the industry, you can show them your film and see if they are interested in distributing it. One of three things can happen:

  • They can agree to distribute the film.
  • They can buy the rights of the film and totally remake it so that it doesn't even resemble the original film.
  • They can turn you down.

If they turn you down, you can then choose to distribute the film yourself. Before you do this, you will want to try to get as much publicity for the film as possible. This is where viral marketing can come in.

Viral marketing is how you market over the internet. In most cases, you can market your product for free online. You can upload clips from your movie on You Tube and then talk about it coming out for release to the public soon.

One way to market your film to the younger crowd, who is usually the target market for movies, is to get a Facebook page for the film. You can then drive up the publicity campaign for the film by posting on the Facebook page as several different people who have seen the film and liked it.

This may seem deceitful to someone who has never heard of viral marketing or is new to the film industry. In the film industry, publicity is the name of the game. Producers have gone through great lengths throughout time to get free publicity for their films. This includes fake news reports, etc.

While you do not want to do anything illegal when you are trying to publicize your film, you do not want to leave any stone unturned when you are marketing your product. And pretending to be different people on Facebook is small potatoes compared to the stunts that have been pulled to market films. It was common practice, and still is, to pair the leading couple of a film and infer a romance to generate publicity for the film.

This was and is still being done in Hollywood today. Rumors about affairs between the lead stars, or feuds, get the film in the news. T

here is an old saying in Hollywood that "no publicity is bad publicity."

Some actors and actresses who are not even interested in one another have pretended to have affairs in order to generate publicity for their films.

You should put out some press releases online that your film has been released. They can be published on your website for the film. The film should have a website that talks about the film, interviews the actors and director and gives some preview clips. If you treat the film like a Hollywood blockbuster, it will be perceived as such by the public.

Some ways to use viral marketing online to generate publicity for your film before it is distributed are as follows:

Webpage that is keyword rich and discusses the nature of your film;

  • Social Bookmarking such as Digg, Delicious, etc.
  • A Tumblr blog about film production
  • Facebook page for film
  • Soundcloud page with film soundtrack
  • YouTube clips of the film
  • Instagram profiles for actors, directors, crew and the film itself
  • Vimeo behind-the-scenes of the film production
  • A website dedicated to the promotion of the film
  • Press releases to the newspapers, both local and national, as well as to trade magazines
  • Posters and leaflets throughout the area
  • Bumper stickers, car stickers, etc

You want to generate a buzz about your film and get people talking about it both online and offline. The way to do this is to seize every opportunity to talk about your film and infer that it is the next big blockbuster. You can use print such as buttons, t-shirts, caps and bumper stickers that are very cheap and hand them out to people to distribute. The more people hear about the film, the more publicity it will generate and the more of a buzz you will create.

The "Blair Witch Project" was distributed in this manner. Generating a buzz does not happen overnight and will take persistence on your part, but will take time. Publicity for your film can begin the minute that you commit to your film.

You should also make sure that anyone involved in the project also tries to get publicity for the film as well. The actors and director will probably enjoy doing this and this will benefit them as well as you. The great thing about filming your own movie and seeking your own publicity is that you can count on everyone to want to get as much publicity as possible.

You will want to get a backer who has the money to distribute the film for you to the major movie houses. One way to find a backer is to enter a competition for independent film. The more people you can get to view the film, the better.

You can try to have it shown at independent film festivals so that it generates some publicity.