The latest in the series of sessions that have been informing aspiring filmmakers of how to cast their creative nets over the film sector was called Shout Out, bringing to light how participants could showcase their work, emphasising the ways in which they could sell themselves to distributors and audiences alike.

Hosted by the programme’s co-ordinator Roger McKinley, FACT's Research and Innovation Manager, the participants received a welcoming introduction detailing the intentions of the session and what they could expect from the speakers in attendance. As an insider, it was fascinating, to say the least, the range of speakers and their backgrounds that were present. This was helpful in the sense that the filmmakers taking part in the programme could relate in different ways to the experiences being described as each speaker took to the floor.

I spoke to one member taking part in the programme who gave me an overview of the previous sessions. He explained that not every session has been applicable to all filmmakers, but that overall, it has been an enriching experience; one which he would recommend to fellow artists within the film sector, as it is often the case that some people don’t know where to start or who to work with.

The first speaker, Brendan Walker, gave an account of his life and works as an artist and thrill engineer, designing and marketing rollercoasters. He described his medical experiments on people and their feelings whilst on rides, as well as his time using virtual reality and how it has helped distribute his artwork globally. Brendan even developed a brain-controlled thrill ride, which the crowd seemed captivated by. Overall, he emphasised the need for pertaining to a target audience, and that making contacts can extend how far one’s work can travel and grow.

Film producer Sarada McDermott was next to speak, and she identified that, effectively, the marketing process of a film starts with its script. She mentioned how there are many platforms to choose from when it comes to the types of films that can be produced, and utilised the trailers of the films she herself has worked with to explain this further. For example, one may choose to adapt a novel or a play, which is also a common form of marketing for film.

Following Sarada, Richard Ramchurn detailed his work for the Scanners project. His project is revolutionary as a form of filmmaking, described as ‘brain-controlled cinema’. Members of the public watched the film The Disadvantages of Time Travel wearing a headset which monitored their emotions, in a caravan outside the FACT building. The end result was that the film adapted to the emotions of the spectator, showing them their own unique film tailored to them in a sense. He is an example of how if you have an idea, research and build upon it, especially in a time of rapid technological developments.

From Canvas, Dan Watt-Smith spoke of the imperatives of distributing one’s work. He mentioned the four R’s: reputation, reach, revenue and rights. When uploading one’s own content online, he highlighted the pros and cons of trying to reach an audience, and of which sites to use to do this. The filmmaking community, he mentioned, is an ideal community for sharing and distributing the works of others, as in return your work will also be shared. He gave a detailed presentation on where to look in terms of aggregators and distributers, how to get commissioned, and how to effectively pitch your film using trailers.

Reuben Henry, part of the duo Kihlberg and Henry, gave the audience an insight into his work and how he has reconfigured his CV, broadening his network of fellow artists and working within different projects. A sentiment he touched upon which was picked up by the crowd was that it is ‘easier to give, rather than to ask for something’, something that he has employed within his artistry.

The final speaker, Demelza Kooij, a filmmaker and lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University, spoke of the ways in which she has worked within creating films and bringing them to an audience. She highlighted how one’s film needs a USP (unique selling point) to make it stand out, and that one should be prepared for unexpected consequences or reactions of making a film. One should use what is trending at the time of making/selling their film, she described this as ‘a new hype’ which can help to highlight what is good about the film. To end with, she added that the filmmaker is the product, one must use their success, and previous projects, to sell themselves.

The session was a rare insight into the film community, more specifically how amateur and established artists can branch out to market themselves and their works. The speakers gave brilliant accounts of their works and offered confident advice to the participants. 

Find out about upcoming opportunities to participate in FACT activities here.