The typical step for most filmmakers upon completing a movie is to begin submitting to festivals, however before you can do this, you need to package all the details about your film in an effective way. A film press kit is your only option.
A press kit is the formal document representing your film, which may be sent to… well, the press (or any other institute looking into featuring or promoting your film). In the past you would have needed to print a physical copy, and some still do, but the majority of the industry has converted to a digital form of press kit. Keep in mind, this does not mean it should not be properly designed and appealing.
Some essential elements that must be present in your Film Press Kit include:
A Good Synopsis
This cannot be overemphasized. Don’t lose your target audience from the out-set by describing your film in terms which don’t sit well the average film enthusiast. Use simple yet striking words that send very clearly, the theme of the film and what it entails. The key at this point is to not cut off people. If you attempt to sound more exaggerated than normal, you run the risk of losing some folks’ interests.
Filmmaker’s Personal Statement
Again, this is an element that personalizes the picture and registers the filmmaker’s “personality” in the minds of his/her target audience. For a few short moments, this takes readers’ attention away from the story and casts all the attention on the filmmaker, which – if cleverly executed – can do just that.
A well put together trailer can add both intrigue and excitement around your upcoming project. Properly done even a 15 second teaser style trailer can do the job here. The video can be embedded in a web-based kit or either linked to or be part of a .pdf style kit. Beware of including a large video in a .pdf kit though, it may turn some recipients away from downloading your film press kit out of fear of attached viruses.
Establish a routine today of documenting literally every little thing connected to your film! Keep a record book during the scripting process, and another during pre-production. Never let a stills camera, an audio device, or a Flip Cam (for video footage) wander too far that you can’t capture every moment. You can never tell when history might be in the making.
Cast & Crew Bios (preferably in their own words)
I’m leaning to the side of uniqueness here. Do you keep the copy industry traditional – spartan, brisk, terse, or do you adjust a tad bit by having the cast and crew members draft their copy in their own words? If EPKs are increasingly becoming something similar to business cards, then everything matters in the effort to stand out from the crowd.
Make an inventory of interview queries (and responses) regarding you and your film and its lead actors and actresses. This will include questions on your background, your inspiration, reasons to be a part of the project, your own favorite filmakers, future endeavors, etc. This section is especially useful for the inquirer and media who want to help you promote your work as it’s helpful and relevant for them.
Links to All Popular Social Media Tools
The idea is to have inventory and options for visitors. Let journalists and critics make their own choices, and make sure your social media tools are set up the way they’re anticipating. You don’t want to lose out a chance at cost-free publicity because you’re not offering up industry standard clickable social media links off your page and within your press kit. That EPK of yours must be a real link machine, so assemble it properly. Make an inventory of industry-standard icons for instant identification. The bare minimums are a Twitter handle, a FB Fan Page, a Facebook personal page, and a LinkedIn profile, the latter for your more straight-laced financier options who might be coming at your film from a more business vantage point.
Any and all Relevant Contact Details
Laying emphasis on this shouldn’t be needed but it’s importance cannot be overstated: be sure that you include as many contact details as possible! Keep in mind, it’s not about you. Some individuals are more telephone-based, some others are more email-friendly. Make it easy for your potential contacts to decide on how best to reach you and make sure to be available at all of these places so, man those phones (or get your PA to do this)!
A press kit is normally a PDF file, but web-based kits are also becoming more freely accepted. Now that you know our secrets, let us help you make your dream kit a reality.