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How to approach journalists about new sportsmovie..?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by GeraldKing, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. GeraldKing

    GeraldKing New Member

    Hi all,

    First post here, and I'm looking for some advise so I hope you fine ladies and gentlemen can help me out :)

    We are currently working on a quality sportsmovie about a skicrosser and a windsurfer, which is getting close to finished. Now the concept of the movie will be quite something else (I know, that is what they all say. However we speak the truth ;) ). The whole point that got us started on making this movie, is that we felt that most actionsports movies are either action-only video or a documentary. And something was missing. We've been working on this film for over two years now. And as we get closer to the finishline, we're slowly seeing that the things we came up with, actually work.

    As we - wisely - invested our money in making an independent movie, we're now looking for ways to get some free publicity for it. And this is where we struggle a bit. We have got some nice coverage in Surf Magazines, so that is just fantastic. However we feel this movie will appeal to a very wide audience, so we're looking for an audience wider than that.

    Now my question to you is: Do you have any tips for us that will help us in getting free publicity? We do understand that journalists are human beings too, but is there maybe something specific that can help us raise attention? Which channels would you approach and how would you do it?

    Any advise is appreciated. Thank you in advance for your help.
    Best regards,

  2. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    *popping some popcorn*
  3. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Why? Do you really want to watch this movie?
  4. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    Assuming you've got the surfing and skiing media covered, you have to find a hook for the other media.
    I don't know enough about the project to offer anything but the obvious.
    Press releases to all of the local and regional media outlets connected to where the subject lives or where he/she is originally from. Same with the director, writer, producers, etc., if they're all newcomers to movie-making, which sounds like it might be the case.
    Reqrite the material to highlight the local angle: local athlete featured, hometown girl directs first feature, nearby slopes play prominent role in upcoming action-sports movie, etc.
    Send out the releases, send them out again a few weeks later and then work the phones. Make sure you've got stills and clips available.
    Hit every avenue - morning shows, local radio, popular regional bloggers, etc.

    Also the speaking circuit with some tix for screenings - service clubs, schools, colleges, community colleges, etc.
  5. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Definitely let those journalists know you just want the free publicity. Journalists LOVE that.
  6. GeraldKing

    GeraldKing New Member

    Haha ok message loud and clear, Longtimelisten :)

    Thanks for the tips Buck. The tip on press release twice followed by phone call is helpful for us as this was quite difficult for us to estimate what's 'normal' and what is considered rude and obnoxious. Also rewriting the press release to local interest is something we hadn't thought of.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I believe that popcorn is ready :)
  7. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    As a longtime journalist and now a flak, don't be embarassed that you're looking for free publicity.
    The members of the media know that, whether you express it directly or not.
    What you want to emphasize is the overlap between your message and the interests of their audience.
    You've got a movie you want the audience to know about; if you've got a first-time feature director from a certain town or region, the paper, morning show, etc. might be interested.
    You have to time it based on when you want stuff to hit.
    I tell people to work about six to seven weeks out. Send your stuff out. Wait two weeks, update it and send it again. Wait a week and make some phone calls. If you don't get a bite, you've got enough time to try a different angle. Often, if you don't get a bite by then, you're SOL.
    You can't force people to take an interest.

    Also, watch what kinds of stories are hitting through various mediums. See what different outlets like to run with, make sure you can determine the reason for any lack of interest without being combative, and be aware that you're not pitching something that has recently run. For example, if they just did a local-person-becomes-firs-time-film-maker interview on the Good Morning Camden Tv show, you might not get anywhere with that; however, if you find out there's a trend of a dozen recent Rutgers-Camden graduates who have made first-time features in the past two years, then you've got a whole new idea to pitch.
  8. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Hand out free swag and steaks. /crossthread
  9. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    I also would probably not pitch it as a sports story.
  10. GeraldKing

    GeraldKing New Member

    Thanks. Interesting about not pitching it as a sportsstory. Why would you choose not to do so?
  11. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    It's got broader appeal. I'd see it as arts/entertainment or local/metro news feature.
    It's hard to say. I know as a flak and former sports editor, that non-traditional sports don't get as much traction in our area, especially during the heart of the traditional sports time. You can get more out there in the dog days of summer.

    Honestly, a lot depends on the specifics of what you've got - the movie, the subject, the production people, the locations, other interesting details. Those are your pitch points.
  12. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    Small, unmarked bills usually do the trick for me.

    Seriously, though, I feel like I'm besieged by PR agents who, because it's sports, think I want to review a book about the history of tees, talk to an expert on toe fungus, or run a daily story about a marathon a good 2,000 to 3,000 miles outside our circulation area. Yeah, it's their job, and I know e-mail is cheap, but do they even look at where things are going to see if the receiver is the slightest bit interested?

    (P.S. to the gods and goddesses of flackery who have sent books: They usually end up on the rack in the lunch room, or going to the library or local literacy programs, and they thank you very much).
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