GADZOOK FILMS Producing independent film in Seattle, Los Angeles and beyond.


Cross Promotion is Tricky Business

And now for another entry in: who really gives a shit ya dirty so-and-so?! Likely no one, but I thought it warranted discussion. So, here ya go...

Let me say this first; I think the idea of cross promotion is great! There's one big caveat involved and that stems from what, exactly, you're cross promoting.

Some questions jump out at me every time someone asks me to help spread the word about their show or crowdfunding campaign. "Who are you? What are you promoting? Are you just asking me to just shill your project because we're friends or do you think I would actually like it?" And perhaps more importantly, "what does MY audience stand to gain from this?"

See, when your friends are creators in their own right they need that promotional network to trust them. They need to know that when they send their own links out these people will click on them. If you're sending them a lot of bung links to projects and videos that are crap, they'll remember that. It's like crying wolf. They just might stop clicking on anything you send.

You are curating material for them. If you just link whatever any of your friends ask you to repost your other friends will hold that to you. By blindly linking to projects and campaigns that are poorly run, poorly made or poorly thought out it reflects poorly on you.

I'm prepared to sound like a dick (surprise!) by telling you you shouldn't help out your friends when they ask. Some people may see this as something that further divides artists rather than uniting them. We should support each other, not tear each other down! Here's my problem with that attitude - if you support without critique, no one learns anything. If someone has a shitty idea for a project, wouldn't it be better to tell them than to send all our friends there to donate money to it?

I understand that by noting a personal connection some may find that comforting. "Well, if Dom is friends with them, it must be worthwhile!" Let's be honest here, that's not always the case is it? Just because I'm friends with someone doesn't necessarily mean I think their work is the best it could be. In a few cases I know people are capable of better. I'd much rather a friend contact me first and ask my opinion on things before asking me to share the link. They can take or leave my opinion, it's their project, but they shouldn't be surprised if I don't tell my contacts about it.

If we take away the fact that our friends made it would we still be promoting it? Does it meet our own strict criteria? Would you fund it if you didn't know the people behind it? I try not to back crowdfunding campaigns I just don't believe in and I never link to a campaign I haven't already contributed to.

So what's the answer? Cross promote with conviction. If the only reason you have to promote a project is because your friend is involved then commit to that. Own up to it. "You should check out this guy's video because he's awesome." If you think the storyline is worth producing regardless of the person producing it, play up that aspect instead. Perhaps promote aspects that may work for each audience like region (all filmed in a certain location) or genre, or plot, or actor...

Bottom line we are what we link to.

Posted by Dom

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