MAJOR! (2016, Dir. Annalise Ophelian)

MAJOR! (2016, Dir. Annalise Ophelian)

Q: How do you promote a queer-themed film?

A: The same way you'd promote any other film!

Here at Smarthouse Creative, we've had the pleasure of working with a number of clients to help develop, launch and promote their queer-themed film projects, workshops and events. During that time, we've learned that the most successful approach is to treat your queer film like you would a traditional mainstream film, while also recognizing the importance of audience segmentation and key messaging to ensure maximum reach.

Five things to be sure you do:

  1. Develop an e-mail list, which will deliver your message to the inbox of your audience. This will help you and your project develop momentum and allow people to share content and information about your film with friends and family. It is a great way to personalize your content. Developing an e-mail list will help you identify your target audience and get people talking about your film. View a recent e-newsletter created by Smarthouse for our client Three Dollar Bill Cinema. Try to respond to any replies that you receive about your project. Connect with and build your audience! In the words of our most recent TAMP Podcast guest, actor Russell Hodgkinson, “Love your audience.” A quick reply can make a big difference. It’s the action that counts! Be receptive to feedback and have a conversation!

  2. Create a website for your film. This website will act as a home for your film. In general, all of the information that you publish about your film, across all platforms and in all forums, should direct people back to your film’s website. If possible, title the website after your film! Make it easy to find! Use the site as a ‘home’ to post your movie synopsis, trailers, any press coverage, and your scheduled screenings. View it as an extension of your film’s voice. Have fun with it! Here's one of our favorites that we built for a film we're currently distributing, CHATTY CATTIES!

  3. Create and manage your social media channels. Keep your content relevant and up-to-date. Get people excited about your project! Build your voice. Post images and trailers from your movie and let people know about related events and going-ons. Check out the Facebook Page developed for Smarthouse client, HONEYGLUE.     

  4. Build partnerships with organizations working in related themes. Build a network and community of  support! Make your project sustainable through building lasting relationships with related organizations. Help develop your audience and theirs. Get creative!

  5. Connect with the press. A well-timed, targeted press release with a strong subject and relevant information can go far! Similar to developing an e-mail list, this step will also help you articulate your idea and your project’s story, and figure out the most interesting angles. Take the time to research who in the press would be interested, and get to know them before you hit send. Click here to view the Smarthouse press release we crafted for our client, FINDING KIM.

Even if you've created a one-of-a-kind film with unique characters, the steps you take to market it (both on and off the festival circuit) should not stray too far from the traditional movie marketing path. Much like the three most important words in real estate (i.e. "Location. Location. Location."), your marketing mantra should be "Audience. Audience. Audience." If you keep your fans in mind and understand your audience, you'll be on track to maximizing your film's potential.