Filmmakers don’t waste your time on Search Engine Optimization, make your film and if you have the above the line item in your film budget for marketing, spend it on a good social media strategy instead.
Here’s FIVE good reasons why a new filmmaker shouldn’t do SEO
1. SEO is based around a keyword not creativity, competitive ones that have been around a long time have other well established websites all vying for that top spot already – you won’t get a look in without spending a bunch of money that could have gone on your meagre film budget!
2. No one knows about your film, brand, or name! unless you’ve reached out, raised some eyebrows, and they are now running a background check on you to find – wait a minute – no history of yours in film? Hmmm way to go with getting your face rubbed in it as a newbie when they see you’re procrastinating to be a filmmaker.
3. NO ONE in the big boys industry cares. I’m speaking the blunt honest truth here! I’ve worked in the fringe of the fringe of barely-paid-nearly-there film industry, and even they never consider who is out there on Google page one, all they care about is who they know and who they can trust to recommend who they in turn would know. Ugh.
4. Unless you’re a tactical expert you’re not going to get into SERPS for any good reason, oh, wait a minute? You know how? Doesn’t that make you something of sorts a fish out of water? Doing a bit of black-hat guerrilla marketing when you should be making your god damn film? Politically – and I’m just referencing the networking chat that goes on I don’t think that will go down well with getting in with the big boys somehow.
5. Make your film first! I’m sick and tired of seeing people selling T-shirts and mugs before the fact of the matter. I know it’s to raise the budget for your lil’ movie. But on the bigger picture if you really need to raise a few thousand bucks to satisfy your movie budget, selling a few t-shirts is probably the wrong strategy in the scale of things, and now you’ve distracted yourself from the business of creating film into the business of farting around.
Which brings me to the remedial section:
What new filmmakers SHOULD DO instead of SEO
Look, everyone knows if you’re new to film, you’re not going to have a history behind you. They just don’t like being lied to with a brand new website procrastinating ‘Writer!’ ‘Filmmaker!’ ‘Director!’ or worse, ‘Producer!’ – The first thing it draws them to is Google – to see what you’ve done. See, In this industry there are so many people vying for a chance, they ignore what you say you’re doing tomorrow and only look at what you did yesterday.
So your first exercise is – ‘What did you do yesterday?’
Write it out, stick it on your resume, think of 5 interesting things about yourself, make it part of your nameplate website. Remember, its not what you think you’re doing tomorrow (when you get your hands on someone else’s money) it’s what you did yesterday, last week, last month, this year that counts.
Consider it your first chance at ‘Online Reputation Management’ a form of SEO you’re not lying about being new, and you’re laying out your experience be it prison or success. You’re making your personality something interesting and honest when they Google you. This is the beginning of your Social Media Strategy, so consult with a PR specialist to make sure you put yourself in the best light.
Make something, anything, make a start!
Have you noticed people with content and that actually did something yesterday are the ones people want to follow? You’ve seen it enough times so do it. At least get a flavor of what you want to be embarking on. I’d even go as far to say get into some background work and see what it’s like on the set of a high production value movie. Once you get a sense of all the coordination you have to rise to, hear my words it’s no walk in the park. Even background work is not easy, but work it well, use it wisely and learn!
Your film is an investment, finance it.
You must be mad to have read this far, so go on if you’re going to do this wild career change, don’t do it without a heart. Do it properly, it’s going to cost you, film-making is expensive. Many people have spent thousands on this, racked up their credit, but what is good education worth? What is a good portfolio piece worth? It’s not going to cost nothing, work out what your budget is and treat it as a loan to your future. Just be mindful of the risks and the challenge now you’ve got a scope of the work ahead by getting in some background work. If you are seriously investing in this part, then pay for a line producer to consult with you on how much you are going to budget for you film project.