Monday. Twelve days until Opening Night of The 2012 Art of Brooklyn Film Festival on August 4th. Here we go:
The phone rings first thing and it’s the rep from an insurance company we are considering for our group plan. We met at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, where we are both members. He’d sent us some information and was following up. I told him that I have a dinner meeting with our Festival Director, Jason Cusato, and I’d mention it to him, but reiterated that we couldn’t make any decisions until after the festival closes on August 12th. This is just another thing that will have to wait until then.
There are a million things to do but today I’m focusing on the marketing plan we put in place to encourage people to buy tickets online, in advance of the screenings. We’ll have a ton of walk-ins—we always do, and it’s fine—but tickets purchased ahead of time give us an idea of what to expect for each film. And they are cheaper. The idea is to make sure as many people know about them as possible.
With 45 premieres from all over the world, it isn’t possible to effectively promote each film, so we have selected a handful whose potential audiences include various ethnic, social or cultural affinity groups that we can market to directly. For example, we are premiering a film called Mas Man about Peter Minshall, who leapt from designer in the Trinidad Carnival to an artistic director of the Opening Ceremonies for three Olympic games. It’s a great movie and anyone would enjoy it, but the director, Dalton Narine, indicated to us that the Caribbean community would have a special interest in his film. In return we created a discount code he could distribute to his contacts in his community. We viewed it as a win-win: He rewards his supporters with discounted tickets and we are assured of an audience for his film.
Beyond this targeted initiative, we are reaching out to all the filmmakers today with suggestions about how they could market their screenings effectively. Ideally, we want them to send an email blast to encourage their own contacts to buy advance tickets for their respective screenings. Our Director of Communications, Anthony DeVito, and I meet to strategize how best to empower our filmmakers to effectively co-produce their screenings. Some don’t need the help, they are already reaching out to press and publicizing screenings, but most of them don’t know where to start. We decide to write a step-by-step guide, complete with links to Eventbrite, where tickets are available, and a general discount code that could apply to any screening. Another way to inspire filmmakers to get their people to buy tickets is our Audience Choice Award—the only prize decided by the audience themselves. Each patron gets a single vote per screening, but every film is on the ballot every time. So if a filmmaker encourages his contacts to see more screenings at the festival s/he improves the chances of winning the award, which comes with a cash prize. Again, a win-win.
PS: If CORP 101 readers would like to use the general discount code for 2 dollars off the online price, you can be my guests. Use the Eventbrite link, chose as many screenings as you like and enter AOBFF. (Although if you are interested in multiple screenings the most economical option is an All Access Festival Pass.) Enjoy.