I had been working with independent film-makers for a number of years, helping them grow their audiences online, crowdfund, manage their PR and distribute their films online. The problem was that I kept building up audiences in one place such as a crowdfunding platform and then dropping them. Their audiences were all over the place and their mailing lists weren’t growing. If we couldn’t grab hold of their audiences, who was going to buy these films?
The process of creating an independent film was stuck in a linear model, whereas the relationship between film makers and film fans was changing. Crowdfunding and social media had enabled a rich interaction from the start and fans were getting to know a film slowly, through its online presence. They were insiders.
I needed a platform for clients that put the audience at the centre of the entire film-making process and I made it myself. Cultural Enterprise Office innovation programme, Starter for 6, was a huge part of the process. It got me into the habit of questioning my decisions, looking at my target customer, and carrying out proper market research. This questioning and testing has become something that I now constantly do.
We launched the platform less than a year ago and now have over 300 members. We recently launched our crowdfunding functionality so that film-makers can run their own campaigns from within their Social Screen websites. The feedback from indie film-makers has been really positive.
Like most start-ups, we’re constantly changing and tweaking our product. There is some really interesting new enterprises springing up across the cultural sector that also respond to the growing desire for a more connected, more social, way of consuming culture.
I imagine we’ll see this more and more. I hope so.
Rebecca Thompson is an award-winning digital marketer specialising in digital audience development and crowdfunding. Since establishing Hot Tap Media in 2011, she has delivered audience development and crowdfunding campaign consultancy for a number of film projects, she also launched Social Screen, a web platform for independent film-makers that allows you to build your audience, crowdfund your film and distribute your film, all from your own website.