The Queer Lounge panel “Short Films: Yes There is a Market” offered some great advice to filmmakers. Check out these tips and tricks of the trade from those who have been there, done that.
TIP: At any screening of your short, have a clipboard to get names and emails of your supporters. “Your lists are your gold,” says Tiffany Shlain, director of The Tribe. “Your success is only as good as the community you create around you,” says Roberta Marie Munroe,author, How NOT To Make a Short Film: Secrets From a Sundance Programmer.
TIP: Filmmakers shouldn’t post their shorts online to be seen free when revenue streams are possible. If you post a teaser video online, attach an ad for revenue sharing.
TIP: Even if your short feels over-exposed, add elements to a DVD release that will offer fans something extra such as director comments or educational materials. “People will buy it because they really want to support your film,” says Tiffany Shlain.
TIP: Some people may be nervous about labeling a project as a “gay film,” but for marketing purposes, no films have more of a built in audience than those that can be classified as either LGBT or horror.
TIP: If your short is programmed in a festival, don’t allow the festival to run your short online longer than the duration of the festival as it hurts future distribution.
TIP: Before making your film, “Think about what is the size of your [potential] audience,” says Slava Rubin of IndieGoGo.com. “How many people will pay to see the movie?”
TIP: Do your research before you make your short. Every other lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender filmmaker is making the same movie,” says Munroe.
TIP: There is a large audience hungry for lesbian images in film — and not enough product available, says Maria Lynn of Wolfe Video.
TIP: If your film is screening at festivals, you may not need to engage the services of a sales agent as distributors will find you.