Here’s what you need know about publicizing your film

If you want to get the most people possible to see your film, you need a good approach to publicizing your film.

To get people to see your film, you need to essentially campaign for your movie. You also have to carefully craft your public relations (PR) campaign. By doing so, you’ll give your film the most opportunities and help make sure people see your film.

Here’s what you need to know to make a great PR campaign:

Make timing an asset, not an obstacle when publicizing

When it comes down to it, timing is everything when it comes to publicizing. The best time to time to outline your public relations campaign is when you’re in pre-production. The outline doesn’t need to be a concrete plan. In fact, it is better if it isn’t. Things will change during the post-production and distribution phases. Regardless, it is very important to work on the foundation of that campaign as early as possible.

Also, make sure to map out the budget for publicity expenses in the beginning. If you are out of money, it could ruin your chances of playing at a major festival.

Make a press kit

Press kits are one of the most important publicizing tools you have at your disposal. Materials for festival press releases and festival program books most likely will come from your press kit.

A typical press kit includes:

  • Production stills
  • Cast and crew bios
  • Production notes
  • A director’s statement
  • Poster art
  • Copies of (or links to) any other press materials (newspaper clippings or film reviews, film trailers or behind-the-scenes videos)
  • Awards or any other accolades for the film (or script or other media it was based on)
  • Your PR contact information

You also need to create a press release

Journalists use press releases to write about your film. Often, they even copy it verbatim and publish it both online and in print publications. Your press release really could be the thing audiences use to determine if your film is worth seeing.

The secret to making a killer press release is to provide just enough information to excite people about your film. You also need to know your audience. That way you can write a press release that appeals to them.

It can be tough getting journalists, festival media directors and bloggers to even read your press release. Make sure its first sentence validates yourself and your film.

"The Blair Witch Project" used realistic miss persons reports to promote the film
“The Blair Witch Project” used realistic miss persons reports to promote the film.

Branding your film

To build your brand, you need to know your audience. All of our films are unique and often mix genres, but it does help to look at common films in similar genres and how they were promoted. You’ll better understand how to market the common, popular elements of your film for your intended audience.

Use online press when publicizing

Some festivals take into serious consideration your online media presence and following before they make a decision about whether they should show your film. Having an e-mail list of people waiting to see your film is extremely powerful. It’s a direct line between you and your fans that ensures the festival that seats will be filled.

You need to be careful about your online campaigning. Releasing trailers and press materials too far in advance can cause an audience to lose interest in your film. There’s a fine line between gathering social media support and advertising the release of your film.

Use traditional media as well

Have photojournalist visit your set and write a piece for the local newspaper. It will do so much for your film’s support. But, traditional media outlets such as newspapers, magazines, radio and TV stations will offer you only one press opportunity.

However, with a well-conceived PR campaign, you can get press as you begin shooting and again when your film is set to screen if you are careful in how you release your images and the stories that accompany those images. The press and accompanying images when you’re still shooting should focus on the filmmaker and what’s happening behind-the-scenes. They’ll focus on the making of your film and result in more coverage.


There isn’t one single way you can advertise your film. It will depend based on when and where your film is screening. Trailers are one of the most important elements of advertising for your film. It gets people motivated to see your film. Also, many film festivals require a one-sheet sized poster (41×27-inch) for all feature films they screen. Postcards are another great way to advertise your film at festivals too.

Rally your audience

While you may be focused on getting an audience to see your film, make sure to get them fired up. Word of mouth recommendations are the strongest advertisement you really can get.

So, make sure to keep all this in mind when starting, creating and publicizing your film. You will for sure get more people to see your film in the end.

To have a more in-depth look for publicizing, read “Tips and Tricks for Getting Your Film the Audience It Deserves.”

Sean Berry
Sean Berry
Sean Berry is Videomaker's managing editor.

Related Content