Tuesday, February 26, 2002

Fourteen Essentials of a Good Press Kit

Submitted by Melissa Puch de Fripp

With the outgrowth of independent films in the marketplace, from micro-budget to larger budget features, it's more essential than ever to "outclass" the competition when it comes to marketing the film product. With that in mind, the first impression a filmmaker creates when sending materials to distributors, festival directors, reviewers, and media sources is more important than ever.

With the reality of independent features often going over budget, many new filmmakers find themselves in a position where they cannot afford a professional publicist. If you find you must create your own publicity kit, then you may simply follow this simple formula to create the right amount of "sizzle" and professionalism.

Keep in mind that busy news editors and film editors are inundated with requests for publicity, interviews, reviews, and photo opportunities, and they may literally only have sixty seconds to determine whether or not you go into the "A" pile or the circular file (i.e., the trash). Make your first impression count, and be sure to have trusted friends review your written material for typos, dropped words, and grammar.

The fourteen essentials are:

1) Glossy two pocket folders with cuts on one inside pocket for a business card. These are available at any office supply store.

2) Story Synopsis. Keep it short and simple and never longer than one page. The shorter the synopsis is, the better off you are, because a long synopsis can be edited down to something that doesn't even resemble your film once ninety-percent of your description is eliminated by an editor. Another trick is to provide two synopses. One a quarter page long, and one a half page long.

3) Cast List. Only integral cast, not minor roles and extras. The cast list should only be one page, and again the shorter the better.

4) Director's Biography. One page only.

5) Producer's Biography. One page only.

6) One Sheet of Mini-bios. Keep it to three paragraphs, one paragraph for your director of photography, one for your composer, and the third for another member you consider integral. Be sure to include awards and honors your key people have been given, if applicable. Note: If you have co-producers or associate producers, give them a one sheet of mini-bios, exactly like the one for director of photography, composer, etc.

7) Still Photographs. Black and white 8" x 10" glossies are the norm, but many filmmakers are also including color slides, which are good for magazines that include color in their pages or for cover stories. Be sure to either have a printed caption on the front of the photograph, or a typed label with the caption stuck on the back along with contact details. For slides, be sure to number the slides and place them in a professional one page slide holder (available at camera specialty stores) and attach one page with captions that correspond to the slide numbers.

8) Tip Sheet. This sheet should be nothing but the simplest facts, including genre, running time, what medium the film was shot in (35mm, 16mm, super 16, digital), locations used, and who your legal representation or producer's representative is, if applicable.

9) Action Photo of You. If you're the director, include a director's photo of you on the set, or stage one if you didn't have any decent shots of yourself taken during the film shoot. If you need to stage one, see if a camera rental facility will let you come in with your director of photography and take a shot next to the camera. If you're the producer, then it's recommended that you have a shot taken with the director. Thus you won't be left out of the publicity loop. Editors typically choose director's photographs over producer's photographs. Cover your bases.

10) Trailer. If you have a trailer, don't hesitate to duplicate it on ½" VHS tape. If you're dubbing your own trailers and they wind up looking too "second generation," either don't use it or spend the money to go to professional dubbing house to get cleaner looking copies. You're better off having no trailer or film clip enclosed than having a grainy looking one.

11) Articles. If you've already received any print media, be sure to get clean copies and enclose them in the press kit. If articles were printed with color photos, then be sure to get color copies to keep the visual impact alive.

12) An invitation to your latest screening.

13) Your business card.

14) A personalized memo or hand-written note to the editor who will be receiving your press kit, thanking them for taking the time to review your materials.

Optional. If there is something unique about your production which you want known, then by all means, write a one to three page "story" about your production and title it, "About the Production." On the upside, this helps an editor. On the downside, it may take some of the mystique and questions away from the reader. If you choose to write about your production, then do not include any horror stories of broken equipment, squabbles that you miraculously fixed, or how your relatives didn't come through with the cash, but you still made it without them. Save your war stories, and pull them out of your hat once your reputation is established and you're a big hit. For now, you want to seem like nothing less than a fabulous filmmaker with an aura of positive energy surrounding you.


jon said...

Looking for wireless home security system info and perimiter cams I found our site. I agree totally!

Anonymous said...

Here's some info on cast msnbc.msn.com pod site
for you:
cast msnbc.msn.com pod site
stuff and more
Check it out!

Anonymous said...

Great job on the blog. I also like mitsubishi part tv

Anonymous said...

Virtual Office Info At: hills office space virtual woodland

Clickbank Mall said...

Come Visit Santa at his blog and tell him what you want for Christmas,

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading your Blog about money making business from home. I also have a Blog/Website about money making business from home come check it out!! Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

Hey i got here searching for affiliate management program software
Your sites not too bad!

You got good rankings for them keywords affiliate management program software

Check out my site
affiliate management program software

Anonymous said...

Wonderful thank you which was consulted very much

But in blog of my site, when that has been written about information business should drop in freely.

business business from from home home honest honest internet internet opportunity opportunity successforfreedom.com work work

Anonymous said...

Last month I made $12,124 with Google Adsense...Click
here for free on how you can do the same!

Anonymous said...

I've Made My First Affiliate Commission!

See How I Did It Here - It's Quick And Easy!

self defense product

Editor Choice said...

Nice Blog. Will comeback!
Here a site on Car Rental:
Car Rental, Cheap Car Rental, Discount Car Rental, Limousine Rental, Luxury Car Rental. Available for many destinations: Chicago Car rental, New-York Car rental, London Car rental, Paris Car rental, Rome Car rental, Boston Car rental and much more

Anonymous said...

I like your blog, and will add it to "my favorites". I am new to blogging, but not new to car clubs. I have furnished custom made car badges to dozens of car clubs all over the country. I have a web site that I feel you will find both interesting and informative. Please pay me a visit when you have time.
**car clubs**club car accessory

TadaDiscounts said...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a Collectibles It pretty much covers Collectibles related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

TadaDiscounts said...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a Gps It pretty much covers Gps related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

Anonymous said...

It's true, we're all a little bit lazy from time to time. And winter is coming. So you're right, as usual, it's time for 2 stage snow blower to make our life just a little bit easier!

Anonymous said...

GOT HYDRO? Best selection of Hydroponic equipment in ORANGE COUNTY

TadaDiscounts said...

Great site!

Please check out my blog- Automotive

Or your my be interested in my other site- Automotive where you can find Automotive

Anonymous said...

sent Straight to your Inbox for your Convenience, you wont have to Search the Internet day after day...

atoztexan said...

Hello, I really enjoy your blog … I’m going to bookmark it.
Your visitors may also enjoy another site about business loans.
It can be found by clicking here.
better business bureaubetter business bureau

photokorea said...


I woul like to tell photo contest information on your cool blog site.

Dynamic korea

Apply 2005 Photo contestApply 2005 Photo contest

More information
click here

Anonymous said...

Would you like thousands of visitors to your bog daily? If so check out , web site advertising Its really on the level.

B.Borchert said...

**Make Money****business opportunity**

Anonymous said...

If you like sports cars, antique cars, classic cars, race cars oe Nascar, you will enjoy my web site.

I make, jewelry quality, custom car badges from your club's logo or design.

Please visit my web site at www.arnirbrown.com

Arnie Brown

**car club****car club*

Plasma TV Center said...

I just came across your blog and wanted to drop you a note telling you how impressed I was with the information you have posted here.
I also have a web site & blog about Plasma TV
so I know what I'm talking about when I say your site is top-notch! Keep up the great work!