The present and future of post production business and technology

Thinking about how to find your Audiences.

Thinking about how to find your documentary’s audiences, Part I

This article parallels some content I’ve been teaching in my How to grow and monetize an audience for your independent production” seminar. (Not currently scheduled anywhere but got great attendance and review in New York (March) and San Francisco (June). I’ve also written on the subject Why is the First Audience so Important.

You must find that first audience, what this writer calls the “Insanely Interested”, for two reasons:

1. You cannot market to everyone, and films that are tightly focused perform better (the site with that reference seems to have lost its archives sadly). Key quote:

And it’s not that there is some big new trend of more women going to the movies. Rather, said Vinny Bruzzese, executive vice president of the motion-picture group for research firm OTX, the over-performance among women for certain films shows that “studios are catching on that you have to make the movie for a specific audience tend to overperform.”

2. Reaching a single target audience is easier because you can work out where they “hang out” online and in the physical world, making it much easier to target.

From the article, just ahead a graphic representation of the hierarchy of audiences.

Filmmakers are in many ways a romantic lot, embracing new advances while also clinging to the old notion of success: The opening at Sundance to rave reviews, the wide theatrical release, then national television and the Academy Award. For some, it’s still true, but for every Louie Psihoyos there are thousands of expensively-made documentaries that simply never got anywhere. And the reason for that has much to do with approaching audience.

Micro audiences can be of two types. One costs a lot of money to get, and the other costs much less. Filmmakers who can dispense with the dreams of grandeur can often find success and profit in the right kid of micro-audience.



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