Adventures in Creative Distribution: Promoting Indie Films on Twitter

Here at Thin Pig we’re busy ramping up for the theatrical release of SADIE, a feature film that’s currently playing at film festivals around the country. We’re part of SADIE’s '“creative distribution” campaign, focused on theatrical ticket sales, followed by Video On Demand orders. Creative distribution is new territory for both filmmakers and marketers so we thought we’d share a few ideas and lessons from our adventures on Twitter.

First off, what is creative distribution? Basically, if a film is finished but the filmmakers aren’t happy with their distribution offers from studios and distributors, they can opt to take matters into their own hands. They have to find creative ways to book their own cinema screenings, lobby for their own press coverage, drive online sales through iTunes, visit colleges around the country—and find the time to build an authentic audience of followers (and hopefully ticket buyers) on all major social media platforms.

Needless to say, SADIE producers Lacey Leavitt and Jennessa West, along with writer/director Megan Griffiths, have their hands full. That’s where Thin Pig comes in. We’re finding ways to build buzz about the film in the markets where it will screen theatrically, as well as starting online conversations about SADIE’s themes.

The story of SADIE packs an emotional punch, intertwining personal stories with relevant issues like violence in schools, the opioid addiction, and single parenting in this cultural climate. As a result, we have a myriad of conversation starters to create emotional connections on social media.

We could go on at length about what we’ve learned already on Facebook and Instagram, but for today we want to list five ways you can utilize Twitter to promote an independent film. First off, follow Thin Pig and SADIE on Twitter!

Now, check out these tips:

1. Videos & GIFs

As you may know, video is the bee’s knees right now in terms of which content types are most relevant in social algorithms. We’re incredibly lucky to be working with a film production that includes an editor for this campaign. The SADIE team has delivered some stellar video content:

Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes

Cast Interviews

Moody GIFs featuring music by the film’s composer, Mike McCready from Pearl Jam.

2. Public Relations

Any product release - especially movies - needs to include strong consideration of press, such as popular media and bloggers. Earning positive previews, interviews, and reviews can legitimize a film like nothing else. So when press is released, it’s important for the PR team to communicate with the social media team to make the most of it:

3. Blog

Not every business is right for blogging, but Indie films always have a good story to tell about the making of the film. A blog is the perfect way to pull the curtain back with longer-form content. What’s more, SADIE is pioneering new paths through creative distribution so we’re sharing news and insights along the way:

4. Hashtags

Hashtags can be a powerful tool, but only if they’re used in strategic ways. Too often we see accounts making up hashtags but not being consistent with them, or finding popular hashtags to engage with but quickly abandoning them. SADIE was made mostly by women, so we make good use of #womeninfilm and #femalefilmmakerfriday:

We found one day that #ActorsWithDayJobs was Trending, so we hopped on the bandwagon with a positive message:

5. RTs

The most basic way to mingle with like-minded Twitter users about an Indie flick is to Retweet when we see something relevant to our film or target audience, like our cast and crew members or industry news:

We hope you find these ideas as interesting as we do! A big wave of creative distribution is emerging, and Thin Pig wants to be on it.