When my friends and I were assigned with the task of making a student film for a class we were all taking, we sat down and came to the conclusion that we wanted to do more than just make a film that would help us pass the class. We also wanted to get some recognition for our work.
The first thing we did was create a slightly higher budget than some of our classmates. Since we’re students, our financial resources are limited, but we came up with as much as we could and then divided it up. We decided to use 2/3rds for the actual filming and saved the remainder for promotional purposes. Knowing what our budget was prior to filming allowed us to make wise choices.
After the film had been graded, we turned our attention to how we were going to get others to see it. This was a bit more challenging. We did several free screenings on campus, which weren’t as successful as we hoped, and we also submitted the film to a few competitions. Some of these contests were free and some forced us to tap into our marketing budget.
One of the interesting things we learned, is that we usually fared better when we had to pay an entry fee. The paid contest seemed to attract more high quality films, but the sheer number of entries that the free contests attracted made it easy for our little film to get lost in the shuffle.
The best news is that we’ve won a few contests! Not only has this led to our student film being shown at some small film festivals, but we’re currently using the money we’ve earned to make another film which we hope will also be useful to helping us launch careers in the film industry.