If you’re an independent filmmaker- even if you’ve released at least one film by now- we’re sure you know that you need to have these two things if you want to make it big and sustain in the scene: 1. The burning desire to just tell your story, 2. A fan base that’s always rooting for you. Now, the former, we know you’ll manage very well at, but what about your fan base?
Let’s start with WHY you need a strong and active fan base?
The big guys won’t pick you until the crowd does
A strong fan base will not only get the word out about your film but also give you the validation. More than that, it’ll make the big players (read: studios and production houses) sit up and take notice of you.
It gives you bargaining power
Fans help you be fearless with your work and constantly make you push the envelope. It’s a cycle: fans push you to be avant garde, and when you become avant garde, they love you even more). So now, you have a powerful repertoire of films and a crazy army of fans. What could stop you from getting into that meeting with a big studio and placing your terms on the table, considering that YOU are not only bringing them your movie, but also YOUR fans.
You get a database
It is absolutely necessary to have a list of people, who you know are sure to pay to watch your films. You don’t need to depend on anyone else for this or start from scratch for every new project. Once you have a database, it becomes so much easier to: a. run a strong and effective online marketing strategy, b. host screenings and private events, c. cut down on marketing spends.
Remember to not confuse being popular with selling out. You can still make films your way, while having a huge number of people following you. This brings us to the next big question:
How do you become popular?
It all begins with getting people like you. So let’s answer this instead. Here’s how you can get people to like you: Let’s look at this through Pawan Kumar, director of the revolutionary film Lucia- a film that raised Rs. 51 lakhs from 600 people in a span of 31 days.
Post content that’s interesting, insightful and relevant to what you do and the scene. Make sure you engage with people and have meaningful conversations with them. Expressing an idea that you’ve been toying with for a while could also work wonders in getting people to start talking and give their feedback.
The best way to build a meaningful relationship with fans- one that goes beyond ‘likes’ on Facebook is to let them into your world and involve them in your creative process. The ideas are endless and can be something super simplistic. Take, for instance, Pawan Kumar the director of Lucia, who encouraged his fans to participate in the making in any way- from helping out on the sets to location scouting to lending equipment for his upcoming feature film.
Collection of database
We mentioned before how crucial it is to have a database. Data collection can be done through creative digital activities like secret screenings for the first 25 people who give you their email ids, have sweepstakes and contests where people have to submit their email ids. Here’s an example:
Sure, it takes a lot of time to build a fan base that actually cares. But it’s extremely worth it and you know it’s a gift that keeps on giving!