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Navigating the Net

Filmmaker/writer/blogger Agnes Varnum, of Doc It Out, has been kind enough to link to the Underground Film Journal not once but twice in two weeks. In the latest link, she drops some practical advice to filmmakers looking to promote themselves online. It’s a long, thoughtful piece worth reading and I particularly enjoyed her conclusion:

I guess that is the risk: you invest your energy and hopefully siphon off enough contacts so that if these sites deflate, you maintain any gains you made. The reward would be making the right choices, investing just the right amount of time and finding that your efforts yielded your intended audience who is willing to buy from you.

As I mentioned in my own recent post about online promotion, it doesn’t cost anything to sign up for as much free promotion as possible. However, I was wrong. It all does cost you one of your most precious commodities: Time. And yes, as Agnes rightly points out, there’s a lot of info out there for filmmakers to navigate. I’ve been doing the Underground Film Journal for almost 8 years now and combine that with the site I worked on before this one that adds up to over a decade working on the web. So, I’m pretty up on most stuff that’s out there, but I can understand how it can be intimidating to newcomers or the just not that experienced.

However, after 10 years of doing this, I can honestly say how much easier it is to get a successful, professional website up and running in no time. The power of WordPress to run the Underground Film Journal everyday is a tremendous, mind-boggling achievement. Two years ago, I gave up the site in total frustration because I couldn’t do just half of what I’m able to do today in no time at all. And now with the ubiquity of online video, you can have a full multimedia site going in a snap. Previously, that was only the domain of porn sites. Now everybody can do it. No, not “do it” that way. I mean have a website with tons of video.

And even if you don’t have your own website, it’s easy enough to exploit all the freebie tools that are out there and it pays to use as many that are there — as long as they take a minimum of time to invest in — since most may not make it through the long haul. However, that’s fairly true about business in general, so it also applies to the ‘net.