Thursday, December 3, 2009

Seminar notes #3: Building an Audience

"8 'big' ideas about the new relationship between creator and audience" (taken from Scott Kirsner December 1, 2009 seminar at BAVC)...

1. Power of participation and engagement.
The Internet is about the audience participating with the artist. This is a huge shift from the way artists normally worked in past.

2. Go where your audience is.
Instead of building your own website, go where there is already a huge audience… where people who might like (what you do) already hang out. Story of filmmaker Robert Greenwald going to…

3. The power of links (and the right title)
Google is most important link you can have… get on the first page of a google search, somehow… “Titles are something people have never thought about strategically before.”

4. Ask for the review/rating.
It’s really important to ask for ratings online… “What the Buck” creator asked his viewers to "Rate it if you hate it."

5. Embed and spread. (concept from Lance Weiler)
Whatever you do should not be anchored to your website. Readers should be able to put it on their facebook page or bed it on their website.

6. The right channel, the right frequency, and the least complexity…
For a lot of people the best channel is the least complex thing.
Posterous” is an easy way to blog…
Twitter” easy way to send news about your project…
YouTube is an easy way to build your own video channel.
Use what feels right to you and feels like a good way to communicate with people…

7. Leverage the power of an (existing) audience database. gave Robert Greenwald access to their database to find supporters for his films.

8. The disappearance of physical media.
When physical media disappears, what does the artist have to 'sell'? How does an audience support the artist when digital duplicates of his or her books, songs, writings, and paintings are dowloadable for free? This is a big deal, and there are no clear answers. Seth Godin says that books, for example, are souvenirs. You can read all of Godin's blog posts online, and yet his readers regularly buy thousands of Godin's books which contain only these posts.

ONE BIG CAVEAT about audience building...
Start early! Start thinking about how you are going to market the film the day you begin working on the film. Many people are so busy writing the book that they don’t think about building the audience until they are done… start early instead. Makers of King Corn were open to finding the audience from the beginning. Making the film taught them who their audience was. It was part of their research.

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