DIY Promotions

Kevin Smith does it. Edward Burns does it. Even novice filmmakers do it. Many indie filmmakers are opting to market, finance and even distribute their own films via the Internet instead of the traditional route of going with professional (and sometimes very expensive) PR firms. The Internet has given today’s filmmakers new avenues for gaining an audience, and the two-way dialogue of social media has replaced the passive marketing of the studios. In terms of this do-it-yourself marketing approach, many indie filmmakers are using social media websites like Twitter and Facebook, and showcasing trailers and/or behind-the-scenes clips on video-sharing websites like Vimeo and YouTube. No longer do filmmakers have to wait for a studio to fund their movies, and with the low cost of digital cameras and nonlinear editing tools, a filmmaker can produce a professional-looking movie for a very small budget.

Filmmaker Kevin Smith is taking his new film, Red State, on tour and marketing it himself with his more than 1.7 million Twitter followers.

The Social Network

Using social media websites has been the focus of Delivered, an independent modern crime thriller, shot with RED cameras and edited with Adobe CS5. Cocreator and producer Linda Nelson says that without social media, their film would be nowhere. "Absolutely nowhere," she emphasizes. "For example, we’re currently in discussions with AMC Independent to do a theatrical release with their Independent Program."

According to Nelson, AMC became interested in seeing Delivered after Nelson and producing partner/director Michael Madison showed them their marketing plan, as well as the film’s social media activity.

"The Internet can also help you identify a niche market for your film that you may not even have considered," adds Nelson. "We started promoting the film during production, made short videos, took pictures with Flip video cameras, posted them online."

Delivered producer Linda Nelson’s advice to indie filmmakers is to start your social-networking campaign early in order to build a fan base throughout production.

Nelson’s advice to filmmakers who are financing their own films is to start your social-networking campaign when your film is still an idea in order to build a fan base throughout production. By the time the film is done, you’ll have a core base of fans. You then can use that to create your own unique kind of theatrical release and combine that with digital distribution.


In the midst of an economic downturn, independent filmmakers are beginning to realize that receiving funding from a major studio is highly unlikely. This has caused indie filmmakers to roll up their sleeves and do it themselves, and there has never been a better time. With video-sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo, and online movie distributors like Netflix and Hulu, filmmakers now have several more opportunities for distributing their films.