Club Publicity - ideas wanted

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PeterVideo
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Club Publicity - ideas wanted

Post by PeterVideo »

Some of you may have seen the articles that Dave Watterson and I have been writing about making better Club Websites (design and content etc). The articles are both on this website (the long versions are linked from the front page) and in FVM. I hope anyone who has read them found them useful and of course any feedback is appreciated.

Doing this has lead us naturally on to the wider issue of publicity for clubs. Dave and I have been pondering this issue for another article. So I thought I would appeal to any one to chip in any ideas which your club has used successfully to get new members. If you post your thoughts on this forum then we can all read them, and if you don't mind we may include them in future articles on this subject in order to spread the word.

Thanking you in advance.

Peter Kidman
Finchley Film Makers
ned c
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Re: Club Publicity - ideas wanted

Post by ned c »

Club publicity? As with any promotional activity first identify your market. A glance at any photograph of a video club meeting shows that the majority (if not all) members are in the senior or near senior age category so this would appear to be the market for the traditional club. If this is the case then the places where seniors read/gather, are some of the targets; the magazines/bulletin boards they read; senior evening classes and art centers; retirement communities and the U3A. How to target? Film shows and ads; invitations to special evenings/events/local festivals; run a script writing contest for seniors with the winning script to be made by the club. Have a welcoming group in position; the worst experience is to turn up at a meeting and be ignored. All this requires organization and effort.

We read of the lament of the ageing of clubs and search for young members. The fact is that young film makers do not want to spend time with people their Grandparents age who have a completely different view of what constitutes a good movie. So; if clubs are defined by age so be it; serve this constituency.

If the social aspect of club membership is not central then film making based on a creative model rather than a club works well, I belong to what is essentially a theatre group with a film unit. We run a film script writing contest; auditions for both actors and crew; productions for members and recording play rehearsals and productions. This structure crosses all ages and a wide range of interests. A recent audition produced fourteen actors for four parts and five people interested in being members of the crew. The audition was promoted in the local newspaper, on Facebook, Craig’s List and local radio. Look out for Nest..golden egg in BIAFF; this year’s script winner.

Ned c
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billyfromConsett
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Re: Club Publicity - ideas wanted

Post by billyfromConsett »

Brilliant work Ned - and I'll look out for Nest ... Golden Egg, and I'm projecting at Biaff judging.

What I find is most dispiriting about publicising locally is that from our clubs, only a small minority of our members seem to have any interest in keeping the clubs going longer than this year. Sadly it's a thankless task much of the time, but must be done if our hobby is to keep going.

If our parent organisation is making any profits, it must be invested into publicity for the support of the future of our membership.

Hard decisions to give serious thought I'm suggesting. But are we cool with dying?
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Dave Watterson
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Re: Club Publicity - ideas wanted

Post by Dave Watterson »

Many of us feel the same frustrations, Billy. But I recall that a couple of years ago you did a lot to publicise your club. Could you remind us of all those things and maybe indicate their success or lack of it?

As clubs we seem reluctant to consider paying for publicity. We cannot compete with the rates paid for ads in glossy magazines or on tv ... but many clubs could afford to rent the window of an empty shop for a few weeks and create a display. We might set a budget for promotion on Google Ads. I know at least one club offering a film competition with prize of £50 plus a year's free membership to video makers in their area who work at present without the help of professionals or a video making club. What about sweat shirts with promo for club on? (Orpington sometimes seem to be sending an army in matching uniforms to inter-club events!)

Dave
Chrisbitz
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Re: Club Publicity - ideas wanted

Post by Chrisbitz »

The vast majority of our new members (the rest are friends of friends) at Orpington Video and Film makers in the last 5 years have come from our website. They've found it by searching for Video Club Orpington or something similar, and then telephoned us.

I don't know if we've been lucky, because it's not an *outstandingly* good website, but I guess it does enough to persuade them to pick up the phone and enquire further... Since we created it, I'd guess we've had 10-20 new members enquire and come to at least one meeting...

There's lots more I'd like to do with it, but we're lacking in manpower, but it certainly earns its money as it is..
I like to make films, this is- my Youtube account. What's yours?

"all of the above is nothing more than nonsensical ramblings, and definately should NOT be misconstrued as anyone's official policy"
Peter Copestake
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Re: Club Publicity - ideas wanted

Post by Peter Copestake »

Chrisbitz says
I'd guess we've had 10-20 new members enquire and come to at least one meeting...
I wonder why one meeting only, as we have had this, in much smaller numbers, and have not been able to find out why they didn't come again, sometimes in spite of saying they would, 'booking' their place at Christmas party.
Why can't folk these days be straight forward and at least say "is this all you do, don't you ...?"
We quite often do shows for eg Probus, Rotary, ie similar age range, without adding a single member, though we are asked back and to other branches of the same organisation.
However we keep up our numbers, just, and are glad of that.
Peter. Pendle Movie Makers.
Peter Copestake
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billyfromConsett
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Re: Club Publicity - ideas wanted

Post by billyfromConsett »

A couple of ideas that we're trying is to put movie disks with club advertising on them into the local libraries. Also we are about to contact local camera clubs to contact people with digital SLR's who have started doing video. I hear that some camera clubs are growing in numbers so maybe so sharing of members could happen.
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TimStannard
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Re: Club Publicity - ideas wanted

Post by TimStannard »

Dave Watterson wrote: I know at least one club offering a film competition with prize of £50 plus a year's free membership to video makers in their area who work at present without the help of professionals or a video making club.
That would be us, Dave. We launched it in November with a closing date (for entries - the films didn't have to be ready until March) of end January, which we exended to February. Poster campaigns (camera shops, libraries, council noticeboards) before and after Christmas as well as managing to beg a little editorial in local rags as well as the local Borough magazine (one of our members had just produced all the photographs for the Borough's calendar - free, of course). I was also on one of the area web forums, plugging it as much as I could without being banned for spamming.

How many entries did we get? Two! And both of those were from people known to members (so the publicity had no effect)

But does that mean it's wasted effort? Probably. Is that a reason to give up? Definitely not!

I'm confident we'll run it again next year in one form or another. Maybe we'll do it online, get people to link to their YouTube films. This year, never having done this before we were concerned about bein innundated by entries from the YouTube generation - well, that didn't happen, did it?
Tim
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Dave Watterson
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Re: Club Publicity - ideas wanted

Post by Dave Watterson »

I absolutely agree - don't give up. Publicity often drip-feeds, sometimes over years. When people are ready to look for a video club, they may recall seeing some time ago mention of a competition ... and that puts them on the trail.

Next year check out local writing groups, arts promotion people working for the council or the region ... from their point of view you offer a ready-made inducement and all they have to do is point their students at it.

Dave
Chrisbitz
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Re: Club Publicity - ideas wanted

Post by Chrisbitz »

TimStannard wrote:
That would be us, Dave. We launched it in November with a closing date (for entries - the films didn't have to be ready until March) of end January, which we exended to February. Poster campaigns (camera shops, libraries, council noticeboards) before and after Christmas as well as managing to beg a little editorial in local rags as well as the local Borough magazine (one of our members had just produced all the photographs for the Borough's calendar - free, of course). I was also on one of the area web forums, plugging it as much as I could without being banned for spamming.

How many entries did we get? Two! And both of those were from people known to members (so the publicity had no effect)
That must have been really dissapointing. What would you do differently next time?

Which club are you from? do you have a website?
I like to make films, this is- my Youtube account. What's yours?

"all of the above is nothing more than nonsensical ramblings, and definately should NOT be misconstrued as anyone's official policy"
ned c
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Re: Club Publicity - ideas wanted

Post by ned c »

With respect I think you narrowed the potential membership field by appealing to people who already make videos. This suggests that they have a camera and an editing system. A much broader audience will be reached if the club runs a script writing contest with the winning scripts being made by the club. http://www.tsbtc.org for a suggestion of how to do it. We have had great success with this approach. My view is that clubs don't need anymore cameras/editors they needs creatives who are not interested in technology but see it as a tool for communication.

ned c
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TimStannard
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Re: Club Publicity - ideas wanted

Post by TimStannard »

Chrisbitz wrote: That must have been really dissapointing. What would you do differently next time?

Which club are you from? do you have a website?
Staines Ciné & Video Society (changing to Staines Video Makers come September). Our website http://www.stainesvideo.co.uk was shortlisted in the IAC website competition but suffers like many many club websites from having photos of members = photos of old men :D

As I suggested above one of the avenues I'd be keen to explore next time is more of an online presence: I'd attack local forums (last time I only did my own town's forum, but obviously Staines covers a much wider area). Additionally I'd push to get it better publicised on local websites (although to be honest - these "What's On in..." sites don't seem at all interested in publicising what's on - they just want income from their banner ads). I'd also publicise it via video making forums such as this. I'm sure many members have friends and relatives in other locations whom they haven't persuaded to join a club, but who might be tempted enter a comp, just to see how they did.

As we hadn't run this sort of thing before (in recent years) we didn't know what to expect and perhaps held back a bit with publicity, lest we received hundreds of entries.
Tim
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TimStannard
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Re: Club Publicity - ideas wanted

Post by TimStannard »

ned c wrote:With respect I think you narrowed the potential membership field by appealing to people who already make videos...etc
Yes it was aimed at people with cameras, Ned. I think we see one of the main benefits of the a club is showing your work to others and giving and receiving feedback. We are trying to reach people who perhaps put stuff up on YouTube or create a DVD and don't give a thought to editing it.

But your point about clubs not needing more cameras/editors is a good one. I think we've maybe got a bit stuck in realising our membership (like most clubs I talk to) is split between the film makers (ie those with cameras) and those who just go along for the social side and to want the pretty pictures - totally ignoring other equally importanty aspects of filmmaking.

It's interesting you've had success with this approach. I find it hard to understand why a scriptwriter would stick around as a regular member as there's surely only the potential to make one or two of their scripts into films during each year. Do they stick around?

However I do suspect this would limit our potential target even further. Surely for every person who has a script they've written or even just the germ of an idea, there must be at least half a dozen people who have put something on YouTube.

Nevertheless, this is a fantastic idea which I'd imagine will also appeal to other clubs. Thanks for forcing me to think a little more outside the box.
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it
ned c
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Re: Club Publicity - ideas wanted

Post by ned c »

It's interesting that the script writers we have met do stay around. the winner of the 2009 contest is now a regular grip and a great still photographer; he loves working on productions and is writing on more scripts. So people don't fall into rigid classifications. At our last auditions we took on some actors who auditioned but were not selected as crew members to build up a reserve of multi skilled people. The Space Between is not a club in the usual way but a base for artistic performance productions and has embraced theatre, puppetry, poetry readings, multi-media as well as film/video. We don't have regular club evenings but rather a constant swirl of productions in various stages plus classes run by the expert members. There are social events, see the website for next Saturday's wig and wine party!! The great advantage is that there is no limit on age or experience so we don't have the problem of an aging membership. I believe that this is a model for the future as it crosses a lot of boundaries in the creative world and there is a demand for both artists and technicians. The Film & Video Unit shoots theatre rehearsals, auditions, theatre productions and have been involved in a number of multi media productions as well as making movies. I am saddened when I read of the difficulty of getting ideas for productions our problem is the exact opposite! Of course it is not perfect; there are human beings involved but we have fun and make movies. Two of our movies have done well at BIAFF where we value the comments.

ned c
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TimStannard
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Re: Club Publicity - ideas wanted

Post by TimStannard »

Thanks ned. Food for thought - and action!
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it
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