Why It’s a Good Idea to Have an EPK for Your Film
Most of the time when filmmakers are working on low or no budget projects they have to rely on themselves to produce marketing materials such as an EPK (Electronic Press Kit) rather than hire a person or firm to handle marketing. This can be a challenging task since many are unsure how to go about doing this. First of all, if you are not artistically inclined or lack technical experience, it is wise to work with a graphic designer who can help you decide what the look and feel of your EPK should be. On MORE TO LIVE FOR producer Susan Brecker and I have been fortunate to have the skills of graphic designer Susan Lopeman to guide us. When I came on board last January as the marketing consultant for the documentary Brecker and co-producer James Chippendale decided they wanted to change their format and color scheme and utilizing Lopeman’s talents we were able to redesign our materials before the film began screening on the festival circuit. This came in handy when we had to create postcards and posters for events and packaging for the screeners and DVDs.
Keep in mind that you will probably need to keep adding updated information to the kit such as laurels and links to articles written about the film. There are different ways to format the EPK, but remember to select a strong image for the first page so that it gets attention. Using the movie’s poster or a production still could work well. Decide if you want to post your laurels on the cover page or prefer to set them up on one of the next few pages so that they stand out by themselves. One thing we did that was helpful before we revamped our EPK was to go online and check out some from other films to get a sense of what we liked that we thought would fit our project.
Branding can become important if your movie becomes an official selection at festivals and it is best to have a document you can email to media outlets, festival organizers and other interested parties that can provide them with background info and facts about your production and creative team. When approaching the press, the easier you can make it for them to have the details about your project the better shot you have of them becoming interested and including you in a story, especially if you are competing with other films that have known talent attached, were produced locally or have some other hook
Regardless of what type or genre your film is the EPK should contain a synopsis, bios and production notes. The synopsis will give the reader an overview of the storyline and may be about a page. The bio section should contain background info about the director, producers, film subjects or actors and any other key members of the production team. Production notes offer more details about how the film was made and the people involved in the project. There could be anecdotes about the shoot or information about how the story became a film or actors became attached to the project. This is a great area for personalizing data to reflect the film’s “character”. If the movie is a documentary you may want to include a Mission Statement outlining the goals of the producers and what they hope to accomplish. Including a Film Fact Sheet where you can list the names of the cast and crew as well as the genre, running time, language, screening time and completion date of the film is also advantageous. Be sure to add the names of the festivals in which the film is an official selection or being screened at and any honors it receives along with your website, social media and contact information.
Finally, it’s beneficial to have a press section. Complimentary comments from film festival organizers, media and influencers should be organized along with links to reviews, interviews and audio and video pieces on radio and TV about the movie and the filmmakers. The EPK can be a powerful marketing tool and also serve as a calling card for your film so be sure to give it careful consideration.