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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Top 5 things I've discovered about promoting a low budget children's film

The teaser trailer for my forthcoming family feature film, Who Killed Nelson Nutmeg, went live recently. Have a look below. I've made the film alongside my podcast colleague Danny Stack as well as many great acting and crew professionals who happen to live locally. Here's the full IMDB info.



Currently we are deep in post-production. But it is important that the film continues to be seen out there in the big wide world and remains visible. When you have your head down, buried in the edit, it is easy to go silent, to disappear into a black hole. This can be a mistake. In many ways the industry determines a film's value by how many people would want to see it and how easy it will be to convince 'normal punters' to check it out. Being silent about your film could actually lessen its chances of being seen.

Some things we want to achieve when we release things like the teaser are:

  • let film goers know about the film and begin to build an audience
  • keep the film visible and in the mind of the industry so they are considering it and thinking about it
  • experiment a little - try some things out in terms of different ways of explaining the film to see what works and what doesn't


It is going quite well and when we are out and about it seems many people in the children's film and TV world have heard of it somehow. This is great, as this project has grown from a standing start. It is a debut feature, not based on a book and existing property and we are doing in all in a low budget way.

Here's five lessons I've learnt while trying out many different promo ideas. These may work for you too. Of course, the best way to build interest is to make a film that is good and that people want to see. But even then, that actually isn't enough these days.

One: Keep things coming

Keeping a drip feed of info and material has to be the number one recommendation. Some say it should be a regular, fixed time every week. I'm not so sure about that. But definitely having new things appearing on a weekly / fortnightly basis is both a good idea and achievable. That way, if people come back after a month or two they will see lots of new things. This makes the film seem alive and vibrant. It feels like a living entity, not a dull product.

Two: Realise its a long haul

Almost the opposite of above. Not everyone is online all the time. It can be tempting to keep slamming new things up all the time. Make sure that all the avenues of communication (twitter, Facebook etc) are accessible for new visitors. It is easy to forget that for some people you new post will be the first thing they read about your film. Does it make sense for these noobs?

Three: Variety of material

Some people like images, some people like clips, some like behind the scenes info. Keep mixing up the material you are uploading.

Four: Go direct

In the social age it can be easy to think that simply uploading stuff is enough. And sometimes, it can be, but often it isn't. Take your message out there yourself. Send it to Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, SubReddits and so on. And don't forget about forums and other publications. As we have Bonnie Wright in our film (Ginny Weasley from the Harry Potter films) we've been in touch with some of the online groups that love those films. They've featured us, helping us reach a new but loyal audience.

Five: REALLY understand your audience and who they are

This can be harder than you think. We took a step back to refocus our online activity this year. Who is our audience? Well the film is aimed at 6-10 year olds. And most of our materials should appeal to this age group. But are we currently aiming our materials at this age group? No, we are not. This age range is a tricky group to reach as they are limited in their online exposure and advertising directly would be costly. In fact, our target audience is the industry - sales people and distributors. We need them to be aware of the film. Now, that may mean a lot of our posts are designed for an age group of 6-10. That is to show how we are reaching out to this group and the film's potential to do so. We don't expect many 6-10 year olds on Facebook (as it is for 13+ officially anyway). In short - we make kids stuff to show to grown ups!

So, what's next:

I'm thinking of mixing things up again and doing a technical behind the scenes piece about the edit workflow! Keep an eye out for it!

Friday, March 06, 2015

Podcast Episode 45: Interview with KAJAKI writer Tom Williams




Its the latest episode of the UK Scriptwriters Podcast - out now!

This episode I speak to Tom Williams, writer of the BAFTA nominated British film, Kajaki. It is a great film, very tight and very tense. Here's the pitch and trailer...

Kajaki Dam 2006. A company of young British soldiers encounter an unexpected, terrifying enemy. A dried-out river bed, and under every step the possibility of an anti-personnel mine. A mine that could cost you your leg - or your life.


I asked Tom about how to adapt a real life story for the screen as well as the pros and cons of working with people from the real event.

Apologies for sound quality - it was recorded via Skype, and I was so worried about getting Tom's levels right, I like mine slide. But I think you'll find it worth struggling through.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Free 4K Sparkle Lightleak / Optical Effect

Here is my third 4K light leak - available for free download (and also you can watch it it in 4K / UHD on YouTube)

This, along with the rest, will all be collected on a special page, so bookmark it. This one is a bit different, with a rainbow diffraction / sparkly feel to it - perhaps like an old 70s optical effect from a movie. Check it out...





You can use it as a background - or more likely, composite over footage. I have seen a few editors combine this with the other leaks to give them an extra special look.

Download here (175MB) - http://mfi.re/watch/9vnxlw575c4w2yj/4K_RainbowSparkle.mp4

If you are using these clips for a commercial project with a budget then get in touch. I make the leaks free for non-commercial use (short films etc). Creative Commons details on the main page.

If HD leaks are of interest to you (under the same conditions) then I have loads here.

If you want to do me a favour because of all this cool stuff - that would be great too. Cheers. A few suggestions...


If you are super kind and get something out of using these then please donate a small amount via the button below...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Podcast Episode 44: The UK Scriptwriters Survival Guide



In this new podcast episode myself and Danny Stack talk about our new book we've just finished writing. It will be out soon and sums up just about EVERYTHING in the podcast SO FAR in many ways. It's basic question is; how can you earn a living as a writer? This book, the UK Scriptwriters Survival Guide, isn't about how to write, its about how to be a writer!

In this episode we discuss our favourite parts of the book and our top advice - as well as how to overcome knock backs to your career - how do you survive and thrive?

More about the book soon, when its released. Podcast listeners will of course get a special price. In the meantime, here's an extract from the introduction, so you know what it is about...
This guide is less about the craft of scriptwriting and more about being a scriptwriter, a working scriptwriter. A writer who earns a crust day-to-day. A writer who pays the rent AND still finds time to work on new ideas, and that next amazing spec script.
We’ve all got books on our shelves already about the craft of being a writer and the different techniques and structures you may use. We don’t cover those.
There’s also looks of books about rare occurrences of someone selling it big. This book is about being part of the hard working majority, not a one-off fluke. If you picked up a book about investing your money, you’d be rightly disappointed if the advice inside was “win the lottery”. There will be no ‘sell a script for a million dollars on your first go’ nonsense here. This book is about long term success through graft. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Second free 4K light leak download - film burn / glow style

Here is my second 4K light leak - available for free download (and also you can watch it it in 4K / UHD on YouTube)

This, along with the rest, will all be collected on a special page, so bookmark it.




These fade up from black making them ideal to be used to transition from one clip to the next in your edit timeline. They have a 'film burn' feel to them. 7 in total in this one download. Speed them up and reverse them for more variation if you need it!

Download here (176MB) - http://mfi.re/watch/drmu7we8lqb4osq/4K_WarmGlows.mp4

If you are using these clips for a commercial project with a budget then get in touch. I make the leaks free for non-commercial use (short films etc). Creative Commons details on the main page.

If HD leaks are of interest to you (under the same conditions) then I have loads here.

If you want to do me a favour because of all this cool stuff - that would be great too. Cheers. A few suggestions...


If you are super kind and get something out of using these then please donate a small amount via the button below...

Friday, January 02, 2015

New Year, new 4k light leaks!

Last year I did a lot of HD light leaks and film burns and lens flare clips you could download for free. This year there are new ones - but now in 4K or UltraHD resolution.

Here is the first one. The rest will all be collected on a special page, so bookmark it.




These fade up from black making them ideal to be used to transition from one clip to the next in your edit timeline. 8 in total in this one download.
Download here (174MB) - http://www.mediafire.com/watch/cczh6mllb82pze7/4K_WarmLeaks.mp4

If you are using these clips for a commercial project with a budget then get in touch. I make the leaks free for non-commercial use (short films etc).

If you want to do me a favour anyway - that would be great too. Cheers. A few suggestions.


If you are super kind and get something out of using these then please donate a small amount via the button below...

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Treat Part 2!



And more Christmas fun - here's the new podcast! For this podcast we spend over an hour talking to script editor Andrew Ellard. We felt this extra length was worth the level of his insights into some of your favourite shows. Plus we couldn't shut him up.

Here is how he describes himself - "I'm a writer and script editor. I’ve worked on various shows including Red Dwarf, The IT Crowd and Miranda. I also offer (paid) rewrite notes for your script. You may know me from Twitter (@ellardent) having seen my opinion/review #tweetnotes."

We recorded this at the Royal Festival Hall, so you get free background music with this one. Lastly, I hope 2015 is a good one for your writing projects.