We want to go viral – online distribution as it happens
I’m obsessed with Vimeo stats, for me they are the digital equivalent of crack. When we’ve released a new film out into the online world, I’m clicking refresh repeatedly and if someone “likes” the film I go a bit loopy.
But up till now, we’ve never released our film online in an organised fashion so as the stats crept from 53 to 54 I’d hug myself and murmur gently “Vimeo staff picks is coming, Vimeo staff picks is coming”
NB. Vimeo staff picks is the dream, if you get on there, you’re basically guaranteed 30 000 hits.
But that doesn’t happen. In March 2010 there were 16 000 videos uploaded daily to Vimeo. (I discount Youtube here because frankly Vimeo is just so much better as to hardly be worth commenting on) That was 3 years ago, it boggles the mind how many are uploaded per day now. Our documentary about a small charity in Niger is unlikely to make the leap without a push.
So for our newest online release, our animated documentary Act of Terror, we decided to get serious. Because we wanted the stats, but also because the film covers some issues we think are really important, like police accountability and civil rights, so we want it to be seen by as many people as possible.
To go along with my stat fetish, I’d been reading about how other successful short films had got all their hits. The first and arguably best piece of the jigsaw puzzle was this article by the good people at Short of the week:
Without repeating everything, it makes clear that you need to have a strategy and you need to put a lot of work into it. This makes a lot of sense.
In Hollywood, the distribution costs are huge, between a third and half of the whole budget. Obviously when you’re making a short documentary like we are, 35p is going to do nothing for you.
So what have you got? As an independent filmmaker, you’ve got the desire to get your film seen, and if you want it you’ll make the time to do it. Think like Hollywood and make sure the amount of time you spend on distributing relates to the amount of time you spent on production.
Take time to build a campaign; make a great poster, craft good tweets, emails, facebook postings in advance. Think about who your film will appeal to, who do you know who has a big online reach? Who do you not know that has a big online reach? Who are the tastemakers, because they’re the ones who’ll get your film seen and get those stats up sky high.
So our release date was yesterday, we made the video live and then got to work and we’ll see if all this planning will make our video go viral. Everyday Gemma and I will be blogging about our experiences, what went right, what went wrong, and what we’ve learnt along the way.
Here's the first one:
But what about you? What are your experiences of online distribution? I could talk stats all day so come and join us, get involved in the discussion below.
Thanks for reading.
Fred and Gemma,
Fat Rat Films