Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dear Budding Filmmakers: Google Thyself

For the last two or three years, I’ve been helping with the local chapter of Women in Film & Video events and showcases. There is one consistent theme among budding film talent that I felt necessitated an entire blog entry because I don’t think just saying it one sentence would help it stick. So, here it is: a whole article about chances you missed out on because we could not find you on Google.

In 2009, the president of Women and Film & Television International, Kimberly Skyrme, pulled together short film entries from around the world for the purpose of picking the best for a showcase event. Many of the submissions came professionally packaged with supporting materials such as stills, a synopsis, headshots, and web site addresses for more information. Some of them did not – which is okay – but when Kimberly tried to track down the missing information online, it was no where to be found. We really cannot stress enough how this puts that film on the teetering edge of disqualification. Think about it. Thousands of people around the world were going to see this showcase. But some poor filmmaker might have been left out simply because he/she was impossible to reach.

Say you don’t enter festivals and showcases. Fine. Is your information on That's great! But those of us who do not pay for access to contact information (and some of us are assistants without our producer’s log ins at the moment), cannot see it. It’s wonderful that you’ve made it onto IMDB but if you cannot be reached, you cannot be hired.

I am completely aware that much of what becomes a fruitful endeavor in film usually begins with a known contact, or a friend of a friend who has a cell phone number. It would be a good problem to have that you spent too much time answering random phone calls or emails from investors and producers. So I ask: what happens when you Google the name of your film(s)? What happens when you search for your name?

It’s a widely known fact in the industry that people who are always creating content for other people spend the least amount of time promoting themselves. Even if all you have is a sample from the 48-hour Film Festival, put-it-online with your name and phone number or email address. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. These are all free and do not require daily maintenance. I’m not saying you have to be some kind of Brett Ratner or anything. A little effort here will go a long way. I promise.