Thursday, 30 August 2012

Adventures in shameless self-promotion...

My plan was simple. Set a high but not unrealistic target for new subscribers to the Jenny Ringo website. Write a direct and slightly dictatorial blog post about how people can help me hit that target. Sit back and let the internet work its magic!

Then I went on holiday to teach my son about the important things in life, like the names of all the gangs in Warriors.

When I came back I found there were a handful of new subscribers but not the 500 I was aiming for. The list was up to 250. From 245.

I know this is starting to look a little like maths with all these numbers but bear with me.

It's now up to 316, which isn't a crazy amount but it's pretty good all the same. It took a lot of effort to get that far. I've risked being a bit annoying and I'm guilty of spamming forums and Facebook and practically sabotaging my twitter account, but I have been sure to reply to any responses and have always offered to check out other peoples' stuff in return. I've also made good on that offer whenever people have taken me up on it. 

At the risk of repeating myself, I honestly feel this is how the internet should work. We're all creators now, whether it's our blogs or films or ebooks or whatever. It's not enough to put something online and say 'look at me! look what I made!'. I knew this already, even before I went away and expected the internet to do all the work for me, I just hadn't properly put it into practice yet.

It doesn't always work. The majority of people I contact about the film ignore me, just like I used to ignore most people promoting their stuff online. But sometimes it does work, and that's mostly where the extra subscribers have come from.

I've learnt a great many things from this.

I've learnt you can't check out peoples' stuff, leave them nice/helpful feedback and then expect them to seek out your stuff in return. It happens sometimes, but mostly those people just say thanks and you never hear from them again. 

I've learnt that I really need to catch up with the rest of the world and get a magic phone instead of the primitive rubber bouncy phone I got because I kept getting posh phones and dropping them on the floor and down toilets. My rubber bouncy phone is specially made for construction workers and people doing extreme sports (who obviously need to make important calls when they're like jumping off mountains or whatever). And presumably clumsy people like me. But at the moment I can't do any of this stuff on the move so have to cram all my networking into the few minutes spare between work and teaching my son about important things like the complex history of the Geth/Quarian dispute.

I've learnt that there are a lot of people out there making stuff. Some of the stuff is really good and should be more popular than it is, some of the stuff is not so good but all of it is very creative.

I've learnt that it's a great way to find more films to show at MovieBar (if you're in Brighton next Monday head over to the Caroline of Brunswick at 7.30pm for a night of truly awesome short films, some of which I found by bugging people online)

I've learnt that mostly people are really nice and genuinely appreciate random strangers taking the time to check out their work, much like I do. I'm actually rather depressed about the fact that despite the film being on vimeo and YouTube and a few dozen forums I haven't encountered a single troll to date. I should probably be careful what I wish for.

I've learnt that sometimes people are so nice they go above and beyond the call of duty and write stuff about my film online - 

I've also learnt that Shooting People don't let people join their site for free anymore. They probably haven't for years, it's just I've been a fully paid up member since it started so just assumed it worked the way it used to. This is a significant blow as the focus of pushing up my numbers was to get an army of people to vote for Jenny Ringo and the Monkey's Paw in Shooting People's Film of the Month competition next month. Obviously I can't expect people to pay a membership fee just to vote for me so I now have to rely on the small proportion of subscribers who are actually Shooting People members to help.

But that's okay, because I like a challenge. Plus if I had realised that sooner I may not have bothered with all this networking nonsense, would have 70 or so less subscribers to the Jenny Ringo mailing list and wouldn't have chatted to a bunch of awesome people all over the world about their projects. Online distribution for short films may not be as glamourous or prestigious as the traditional film festival and awards route but it's certainly a lot more interesting!

So I'm still entering the competition next month (sign up to the mailing list at to get details of how you can help) and I'm still going for 500 subscribers. It may take a while but as promised I will post that 10 minute outtake video once we hit 500.

As always, if you help me out with this I'll happily return the favour.


Anonymous said...

Maybe you'd get more subscribers if your film even seemed to have a suggestion of something good.

Chris Regan said...

Yay! That's more like it. Thanks for taking the time to watch the film!

dave_or_did said...

Always happy to help (with the Blueprint: Review stuff, not the trolling!)

Plus, when we're pimping out our feature film in the not too distant future you can return the favour!


Anonymous said...

I retract my comment. I've decided it is, in fact, brilliant. I am a fool.

Chris Regan said...

Looks great Dave! Have subscribed to the website. Let me know if there's anything I can do to help!