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Make It Easy to Buy!

Is your goal to "develop, finance and produce a formidable slate of features?" If so, marketing needs to become a mission-critical part of every stage of your project. Why? Because business is about product PLUS money. Hobbies are about product and emotions.

But marketing isn’t about selling. Marketing is about making it easy to buy...and fun to tell your buddies about this great movie! Marketing starts before shooting starts...

The agency is particularly proud of its work on a cluster of high-quality independent films that have been greeted with major critical success and headline-grabbing distribution deals at these festivals because JW+A was involved with them as the productions' Unit Publicist before they started shooting…. Jeremy Walker + Associates

As JM+A says...they can do the best job of publicity (and marketing) if they infuse the project with strategy BEFORE shooting begins. Not even a great publicist can pull a project out of the trash heap after it's character arc has been set!

FILM FESTIVALS aren’t for everyone! Indies have latched onto festivals as their ONLY marketing strategy largely because they haven't figured out a better way of getting their kicks...ah...I mean selling their project. Festival campaigns are platforms that support titles READY to go on the market for distribution. Only about 1% of festival films get distribution. Why? Most just aren’t marketable projects. They’re not ready for festivals. But who's going to tell you that?

Ouch! Festival organizers are going to hate me for telling you that the emperor is buck naked! Festivals are feel-good events. They preach to the choir. They cost the applicants hard earned bucks and they result in very little business. Does that make them a good deal? Yes, for a few people – but most indie producers are NOT included in that club.

Indie producers are grassroots artisans. They thrive when their close community supports their work. Locals. Family and friends. Friends of friends. Friends of friends of friends. Viral marketing is today’s grassroots strategy and when indie producers honor that tradition, they can ride the wave of grassroots development.

The arts field is a bifurcated market. (Like that big word?) There's a grassroots market that succeeds. And there's a top-end market that succeeds. Not much in the middle succeeds. Why? They don't stand out. They don't have local supporters. They tell a disconnected message. They don't have the money to play with the big boys. And they get lost in the great Middle World.

Grassroots success can get supportive attention when you use the yearly years of your career to develop your skills and your vision – your unique voice. Once you have a unique voice hammered out in the community that surrounds you, PLUS a well-developed craft of filmmaking, you’re ready for the big time. Festivals. Markets. Distributors and studios.

If you’re a well-heeled rich kid who always goes first class, you can afford the entry price of gigantic mistakes, high-priced consultants and top-of-the-line equipment and crews and publicists. All those things that can mask mediocrity. If you’re a normal, average artist who wants a life sustaining, real career…you have got to find a saner pathway to that career. That’s how marketing can help.

Marketing is strategic thinking about what’s around the bend before you get there. Thinking about which actors will get you into distribution before you audition them. Thinking about product placements and locations that will get companies and communities to help you promote your picture. Thinking about production stills and behind the scene stories that will help you tell a colorful, personal story for the coming FIVE years…day after day, week after week…month after…

Marketing is about thinking of your project not as a one-time, stand-alone project, but part of the flow of your career and enterprise. It’s a mindset implemented with specific, strategic behaviors.

So here are some marketing ideas that fit into your movie making at EACH STAGE of the production schedule.


What genre do you want to concentrate on for the next five years? Choose ONE to maximize your impact and ability to build a supportive community. Think about the demographics of that one group of people who want to see YOUR KIND of movies. They will become your mission-critical support group that you will work to intrigue and to develop relationships with.

What script/story will attract viable ingredients: known stars for director and/or actors. Great locations. Financial supporters. Crews who have worked together before.


What key production elements will maximize your return on investment?

Sound is one critical element that is often overlooked. Getting a known actor. Shooting on high-def to balance cost with quality (and scalability to the big screen). Which cinematographer will deliver the best quality visual impact. How do you refine the script for easy editing, cost effectiveness, and genre appeal. Remember, you’re shooting for YOUR ONE SPECIFIC AUDIENCE…not everybody.


Don’t forget to take lots of production stills. Distributors require them! Bring key investors and supporters to the set to share in your fun and absorb the creative energy. Keep your budget intact. Be professional. Plan and implement your plan. That’s the kind of boss you want to work for…and that your people want you to be. They will give you their best performance if you’re organized and true to your vision.

Post Production

Editing is soooooo important to market value. The story is pulled together, twisted and tightened in the editing suite. Hire the best...or at least test the results on your KEY demographic. Then tighten it. Cut the most metaphorical trailer you can. Tight. Visual. Evocative sound. And that’s egos allowed here.

Promotion Stage

Plan your story to meet the public’s needs – not your hope-addicted ego or your familiarity with your project. You don’t really know what movie you’ve made – only the public knows. Test your message early in your process. Refine it – adapt it to the target market who is drawn to your story. Be flexible – you can’t force it. They know the genre…they have expectations. Meet them. Hook them with your vision…your theme. It’s just a movie! They want 90 minutes of wonder…tell them they’ll get it…but don’t tell them how!

Promotion Stage TWO

Tell your story again and again and again. Refine it for the group you’re introducing to the movie -- but those groups are going to be well-selected to fit your genre...right? Make a promotion plan that makes sense and then work your plan even when it feels old to you. Repetition helps you rack up an actual business profit. Repetition. Repetition. Repetition. Bring in new blood to give you fresh perspectives and ideas. You’ll need them! Enjoy your successes. Praise everyone who stands beside you. Share good news with them. Give them great quotes to pass along to their friends and colleagues. You’re creating culture when you least expect it!

Promotion Stage THREE

Make your next movie for YOUR LOYAL FANS. Same genre. Different story. Let your FANS help you promote it because THEY KNOW YOU! That’s what culture building is all about!

Marketing is really just a business term for building your community of loyal supporters...neighbors and fellow business people who all benefit from bringing good stories to our lives. But good stories are more than stories...movies take on a character arc all their own.

That's your stories's story and they're stickin' to it!

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