Context Is King

FilmFestivalLife attended the kick off Tribeca Talk – Amplify The Message: Social Media, moderated by Marc Schiller (CEO and founder of Electric Artists). Besides Marc the panel consisted of three eminent industry personalities with quite different backgrounds; Howard Tullman (president and CEO of Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy); Lina Strivastava (social media strategist for clients such as VODO and Three Generations) and Rider Strong (actor and filmmaker).

The panel was really inspiring, mainly because it pointed out some aspects that aren’t usually touched at similar events, and additionally the inputs of such diverse personalities and experiences gave an interesting dimension to the discussion.

These three issues caught our attention:

  1. The shift from the notion “Content is King” towards “Context is King” as Howard Tullman stated. Although some kind of compelling story – even being it about a passionate filmmaker searching funds for his next film through Kikstarter  – will remain the key factor for creating audience involvement – as highlighted by Rider Strong.
  2. Marc Schiller’s comment about a filmmaker’s focus group; addressing and concentrating on communities with a special focus might not always be the best marketing strategy. When mentioning his collaboration on Banksy’s Exit Through The Gift Shop he described the team specifically decided against a focussed/narrowed marketing strategy on the street art and graffiti community, because they wanted to scale fast.
  3. The argument that arised from the forementioned statement, being that actually if a filmmaker would use Facebook as THE marketing channel, you soon could be able to automatically catch the specific communities AND the mainstream audience anyway. Filmmakers should keep this in mind. Adding the option of using the Facebook Currency and imminent streaming services to allow instant monetisation in the context of the platform might turn out as an additional, extremely effective integrated marketing and distribution channel.

Social media was the theme of the panel, but in fact it functioned as a starting point to discuss many topics related to filmmaking, such as digital distribution, creating revenues, audience viewing experiences, marketing strategies and keeping up whith your social networking skills as a fillmaker. This illustrated the impact social media has on all various levels. The social media tools can influence all stages of filmmaking, which means filmmakers can not ignore the presence of it anymore. Many films were used as examples to show this development, although one conclusive thought is that it will always vary per individual film how social media can be used most effectively in that specific case. Sometimes the use of social networks might even not be that useful for certain types of films (e.g., arthouse), but either way the presence of it can’t be ignored anymore. Social media is out there, and the film community has to embrace it somehow, in some way…

If you want to read interesting thoughts about this theme, the contributors of the panel can definetly give you valuable insights. Here are the links to their projects:

Marc Schiller: @MarcDSchiller, Wooster Collective

Lina Srivastava: @lksriv, Lina’s blog

Rider Strong: @onthestorm, Rider’s blog

Howard Tullman: @tullman, Howard’s blog

You can also watch the entire video of the talk!

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