These days, you have to be able to promote your films online. It’s impossible not to. You don’t need a massive budget to have websites, blogs, twitter accounts, Facebook updates, Youtube videos, posters, artwork and more for your films. It’s a free and effective way to get yourself out there. When it comes to promotional materials, you can do a lot with very little. The only thing you really need is a vision, a copy of Photoshop (or a graphic designer friend) and a lot of patience while you learn.
Years ago, I decided to teach myself Photoshop. I wanted to create websites, posters and other related promotional materials for 17 West’s projects. What started as a simple website soon turned into 4 including a blog that would promote them all.
That’s when my addiction started. Each new item needed to have a logo or an image attached.
But I’m not a graphic designer. So I had to rely on tutorials, books and blogs about design to see what was possible.
Obviously, all the research and practice paid off as I’m confident that my design work doesn’t suck. I’m not saying I’m a pro because I’m not. I don’t know color theory or overall composition techniques. I don’t really consider things like balance and other rookie mistakes designers make.
But I know enough now to create images that help direct people to the content I want them to see.
It all starts with a challenge.
Find something you like and try to duplicate it. You’ll never know unless you try!
The image below is from a hockey game I was watching recently. I liked the look of the image and decided to see if I could make one myself. The result is my new Movies image above. I think I got it pretty close.
However, it’s not enough to simply copy another designer’s work. What’s the point if you don’t bring anything original to it?
So while the Movies image is pretty close, I took the new techniques I learned and applied it to this image:
And this one…
And this one…
These new banners are another leap forward for me in terms of techniques and overall detail. My work is getting more and more realistic but I still believe I can be better.
Who knows what image will inspire me next. I’m always on the lookout for something new to try. Especially when 17 West isn’t in production on a new film. (That’s going to change pretty quickly though)
If you don’t have a home on the internet to show off your work and can’t afford to pay someone to do it for you I recommend the following.
1. Start a blog
You don’t need a heavy background in web development to get a site online these days. I recommend WordPress and a good free theme to get you started.
Make it your own. Look at other movie blogs for examples. Set yourself a part from the rest. Be unique.
3. Learn Photoshop
You don’t need a course. All you need is an internet connection to access tutorials and a little dedication. It’s frustrating at first when your images don’t turn out the way you hoped but power through it. Eventually you’ll surprise yourself.
4. Find inspiration and run with it.
Continue to learn new techniques and apply it to new film projects you are working on.
5. Repeat Step 4 keep evolving!
I’ve been addicted to Photoshop for about 5 years now. Recently, I started reading Advanced Photoshop Magazine and realized just how much more there is to learn. To some that would seem daunting but I think it’s exciting.
6. Don’t Forget Your Movies!
I’ve spent the last few days messing with Photoshop but it’s time to switch gears back to Screenwriting. These skills are worthless if you don’t have anything to promote!