Pricing DIY DVDs & Other Fetish Items

Adam Chapnick twittered about NeoFlix's  DIYFlix blog posting about most popular pricing techniques for their clients.  It ran counter to my instincts as I would have thought more gravitated to the high and low end, but by far the most popular price point is $15-$20.  The DIYFlix blog itself has a pile of good advice & food for thought, so check it out.

Some of the best advice in this category comes from the example of HELVETICA.  As Scott Kirsner points out in his indispensable right-of-the-moment guide to building an audience (Fans, Friends, & Followers) "Selling just one thing is old hat".  
Multiple versions and merchandising is the way to go.  So much more can be done with this.  By all means there should be multiple versions of all films, with different additional content, commentary, even cuts.  Why is that we only get the dvd with the film, and maybe a t-shirt or action figure?  If fans want to show their appreciation for a work there should be something more substantial.  One of my favorite pieces of film fetish paraphernalia is this: Brendan Dawes' Cinema Redux print of Kubrick's 2001 The film is reduced to one image from every second of the film in high resolution.  Each row has sixty frames in it.  
Why can't we have more beautiful works derived from the films we love?

Web Marketing For Filmmakers

Jon Reiss returns!

Here's a great blog post about the very very basics of marketing your film'swebsite. I'm sure you know a lot of this - but a lot was news to me (post excerpted):

1. Go to Godaddy.com and purchase a domain name. Get one that ends with .com. Get your movie title. If it is unavailable add “movie” or “themovie” or “film” to the end. (You don’t need to purchase any other services during check-out.)
2. Sign up for WordPress.com. Make your blog the title of your movie/ domain. Start posting press releases and other articles, such as reviews.
3. Sign up for Youtube.com. Make your username title of your movie/ domain. Post your trailer, or you can do a video “pitch”.
4. Sign-up for an account on Facebook.com.
5. Sign-up for Flickr. Get your username title of your movie/ domain.
6. Sign up for an account at del.icio.us. Bookmark your domain, facebook page, blog page and you tube page.
7. Sign up for a google account, to use their alerts, place connect with people who talk about you.
8. Sign up for Box Office Widget. Place this on your website and on your blog. Use it as your signature on forums.
8. Sign up for Spottt. Place this banner code on your myspace page, blog, and the thank you page from Box Office Widget.
10. Go to Yahoo! Groups and find all the groups that may have interest to your film and join. Participate in the group, rather than just spam the group.

This was written by one of the co-founders of Neoflix. Neoflix themselves have set up a number of marketing tools for filmmakers - they are going to give me a tutorial in the coming weeks and I'll be passing that information along.

And this DIY Flix sites seems pretty amazing at first glance as well.

But back to marketing. I think marketing does not come easy for most filmmakers. Even filmmakers who pitch well - when it comes to the nuts and bolts business aspects of DIY filmmaking - they blanch. Its quite different from being creative. Very different. Doesn't feel right and doesn't feel fun. 

I have an extra handicap of coming from the punk era where this kind of straight business had a certain smell. But its time to get over that - web marketing necessary if you are going to create an audience for yourself and survive as an "independent" filmmaker in these changing times. My mission for then next couple of months is to become immersed in all manners of web marketing for filmmakers - I'm going to use Bomb It as a case study and I'll keep you posted.
-Jon Reiss (jon@jonreiss.com)

A Word On The Educational Market

Jon Reiss guests blogs again:

At the recent FIND conference on the state of independent film, I had the pleasure to meet Robert Bahar who made the wonderful Emmy Winning documentary Made in L.A. We were discussing the problem of releasing a film on DVD prior to or simultaneously with an educational release

I have learned since the release of Bomb It that it is traditionally difficult to have an educational release after or concurrent with a DVD release. This is because educational institutions will eagerly buy your dvd from Amazon for 19.95 rather than pay the educational rate of $195. 
Robert told me about his ingeneous solution which was to put a notice at the beginning of the film - similar to the FBI warning - that the film was for home use only and not for educational or public performance. In the authoring they disabled the ability for people to pause for a few minutes after this message or fast forward through it. Eg any teacher would have to play this warning - indicating to students that it was being shown illegally. Pretty smart!

Robert is smart in another way in terms of his film. He has set up with his fulfillment company (the wonderful Neoflix) to provide various community screening packages for sale on his site for various size screenings. Check out his site to see how he has set this up. Make sure to check out his amazing "Event Planning Toolkit".

Let us know what you think of what he is doing.

You can also respond directly to Jon at: 

jon@jonreiss.com