It may seem like this whole direct distribution craze is all about DIY. But we are really in the era of DIWO (Do It With Others). From crowdfunding to word of mouth to disseminating content, you need great partners to help get the word out about your film or series. In this installment of our Vimeo On Demand case study series, we'll look at how Marina Rice Bader ran a successful direct distribution campaign for her directorial debut, Anatomy of a Love Seen.
Marina had produced a few very successful LGBT dramas, and she was ready to direct her first feature film. She made the film quickly with a modest budget and wanted to try something different when it came to distribution. Inspired by Joss Whedon's global release of In Your Eyes on Vimeo On Demand, Marina decided to launch her film online globally immediately following her festival premiere.
1. Prep before you launch
When Anatomy of a Love Seen got accepted to Los Angeles-based Outfest, one of the top LGBT film festivals in the world, Marina started preparing a couple months in advance.
She reached out to the popular YouTube channel OneMoreLesbian and gave them the opportunity to premiere the trailer to their audience. It went viral to the tune of over 800,000 views and started to raise awareness for her film.
The one mistake Marina made here was that her website wasn't set up yet and she didn't have a way to start collecting email addresses (if you're a regular reader of these case studies (and I hope you are!) you'll notice a theme here). Marina realized she missed a huge opportunity to build her mailing list in advance, and is not making the same mistake for her next film! Still, the trailer got a lot of likes and comments and gave her validation that she could make direct distribution work for her.
2. Speak to a global audience
Just like Joss Whedon, Marina made an announcement following her festival premiere that the film would be available immediately worldwide and in multiple languages for a $5 rental on her website — which was powered by Vimeo On Demand. The news spread quickly through the LGBT community, with a big boost from Spanish-language site Lesbicanarias and a Facebook post on the popular OML Facebook page (64,000 likes).
This post got spread even further when it was shared by Lizzy the Lezzy, who has close to a million likes on Facebook.
3. Earn rave reviews by reaching out to your viewers
Over the next few weeks, Marina worked tirelessly to make sure this publicity would bear fruit. She wrote to every person who had commented on YouTube and responded to every question in the Facebook comments. If she received praise for the film via these channels, she asked people to also comment on her Vimeo page, ensuring a ton of great reviews would appear on the page and further validate the film for potential buyers.
4. Use Vimeo’s network to get even more eyes on your film
In the meantime, we reached out to Lizzy the Lezzy and OneMoreLesbian and recruited them into the Vimeo On Demand Publisher Network, our incentive-based program that allows publishers to promote films from Vimeo On Demand and earn a revenue share for referred sales. Lizzy made Anatomy of a Love Seen the featured movie on her website and wrote a post about it on her popular Facebook page. OneMoreLesbian also promoted it further. These promotions were shared widely and drove another period of great sales for the film.
Marina’s tireless efforts, combined with the support these publishers and a growing group of fans, helped her launch a successful campaign and build up a groundswell of word-of-mouth promotion. She later released the film on other digital platforms, and thanks to the thousands of shares and comments she earned in her Vimeo release, she also got great placement on those, too.
New to our Vimeo On Demand knowledge base? Be sure to check out our past articles about growing word-of-mouth marketing, working with fans, and publishing promotional materials. And stay tuned for another enlightening case study next week!