Director Bill Taylor on eventizing films outside the theatre
To help promote his upcoming film Don't Get Killed in Alaska, Taylor is looking to incite arts and book buffs to bulk-buy tickets in exchange for info-fuelled freebies.
While director Q&As are common enough at indie film premieres in Canada – First Weekend Club events are a good example – but it’s not every director that takes the Q&A directly to their target audience.
But that’s exactly what writer/director Bill Taylor and his production team are doing to entice special interest groups and arts aficionados to screenings of Taylor’s upcoming film Don’t Get Killed in Alaska. Specifically, Taylor is hoping to raise enough awareness to bolster the film’s second and third windows, he says.
“We want to build a loyal and enthusiastic audience for our film that will spread great word-of-mouth and drive online sales after the film’s theatrical release,” Taylor told Playback Daily. “We feel the best way to build this kind of relationship with our audience is through personal engagement and direct experiences.”
To that end, Taylor is offering bonus “experiences” to groups who commit to a batch of tickets for Don’t Get Killed in Alaska‘s week-long run at Toronto’s Carlton cinema, which kicks off Nov. 7.
Targeting social groups such as book or drama clubs, Taylor and his team are reaching out and offering premium experiences such as an evening to discuss themes from the movie with a book club, or a drama workshop for acting students.
The film tells the story of a young woman named Liney who is out of money and without direction when she returns to the home of her working-class family, searching for cash and an idea of what she should do next.
Don’t Get Killed in Alaska is distributed digitally by Juice on online platforms such as Amazon and Xbox and was produced for under $200,000. The film stars Tommie-Amber Pirie and is produced by Nancy Boy Pictures in association with First Love Films and Scythia Films. Laura Perlmutter and Andrew Nicholas McCann Smith serve as producers, along with Taylor. Daniel Bekerman serves as executive producer. The team is currently negotiating a broadcast deal for the film in Canada.
Alaska‘s target audience is women in their 30s and 40s who may have been through the same experiences as the main character in the film, young adults struggling into adulthood and, since the film also explores themes of faith, church groups.
The filmmakers are directly contacting and speaking with organizations who may have members who fall into the film’s target audience, such as school groups and church groups, who may be interested in participating in the events the filmmakers are offering. The team is also using social media to identify book clubs and social clubs who may be interested in the film and the events they are offering.
“I want to offer them an extra experience for coming to our theatrical release. It’s all about building a loyal audience that wants to promote this film and help bridge the gap created by our inability to bear the enormous costs of trying to reach our audience through traditional marketing means,” Taylor said.
Other films Taylor has directed include the short Silver Road. Don’t Get Killed in Alaska is his feature debut.