Video Podcasts: Promoting Your Film During Production

Many filmmakers are producing video podcasts – chronicling their production experiences. This used to be done for the purpose of adding material for the DVD package. Now it’s taken another and arguably more important role of promoting their film before it’s released to the public. By building an audience before the film’s release, filmmakers are creating a fan base that gets engaged in the production process from the very beginning. This is done by making this footage immediately available though their websites and viral distribution mechanisms like YouTube and social networks like MySpace. Here are three examples of films which used this process – in 3 budget parameters: Big Budget film – Superman Returns, Moderate budget film – Clerks II, Low Budget film – Four Eyed Monsters.

SUPERMAN RETURNS [IMDB info] – $270 million (estimated budget)

“Bryan’s Journals” is director Bryan Singer’s behind-the-scenes video production journals that chronicle the making of Superman Returns. Filmed in Australia, it covers a lot of production details and you get to see the enormity of a big budget production – special effects, stunts, production and graphic design, big sets, etc.

INTERESTING BIT: In Video Journal # 7 – “The Call.”, Bryan Singer fills in for Peter Jackson on the “King Kong” production; Jackson falls asleep so Bryan has to fill in for a scene (seems like a planned gag, but interesting nevertheless ). In Video Journal # 9, Singer discusses shooting the film digitally with the Genesis camera.

CLERKS II [IMDB info] – $5 million (estimated budget)

“Train Wreck” is writer/director Kevin Smith’s “video journal chronicling a disaster in the making” – the making of Clerks II. Smith utilized YouTube and MySpace along with his blog, My Boring Ass Life. “Train Wreck” starts in pre-production and goes through to the release of the film including the Cannes Film Festival. The podcasts covered production details, cast and crew interviews and miscellaneous production shenanigans. You get a real sense of what it’s like on the set of a Kevin Smith film.

INTERESTING BIT: In the episode titled, “The Good, The Bad and The Man”. Quentin Tarrantino & Robert Rodriquez view a rough cut of Clerks II and give Smith their opinion/review. Another Episode shows Smith getting an 8 minute standing ovation at Cannes.

FOUR EYED MONSTERS [IMDB info] – $100K (estimated budget)

Four Eyed Monsters’ video podcast series was created with a story that sometimes acted as a soap opera. It’s a unique reality series that chronicles some of the filmmakers’ experiences during the filming and festival run of Four Eyed Monsters. The film in itself blurs the line of fiction and reality with its semi-autobiographical depiction of filmmakers Arin Crumley and Susan Buice’s relationship. The series is very much in the mold of “Project Greenlight” style drama. It’s very creative in its use of animation and incorporates cool music from indie bands. There’s also a story to each episode which makes you anxious to see the next one.

INTERESTING BIT: You need to watch all eight episodes to fully appreciate the series. Episode 8 ends with a cliffhanger.

ADDITIONAL INFO: These filmmakers are in the forefront of self-distribution, utilizing new avenues on the Net; they made a deal with to recoup debts incurred from the production. The film was the winner of The 2006 Sundance Channel Audience Award For The indieWIRE’s “Undiscovered Gems” Film Series (The value of the award is $100,000); Foureyedmonsters has also became the first ever feature film to be posted legally to YouTube.

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If you would like to purchase these films on DVD, click on the links below: