PROMOTION AND DISTRIBUTION PLAN
FINDING OUR AUDIENCE
Animated, family-friendly films will always have a natural appeal to children and young teens. With the success of shows like Avatar: The Last Airbender and its spin-off The Legend of Korra, more adults are becoming engaged with animé-style content, as evidenced by the investments in this made by streaming services like Netflix and Amazon. However, at this budget level, we believe the best approach is to identify a narrow segment of our potential audience that we are most likely to convert to fans, and engage with them first as fans ourselves.
Esluna is a natural fit for fans of sci-fi and fantasy animé in the world of geek culture, as evidenced by the fact that Denver’s last three short films all screened at San Diego’s world famous ComicCon. To narrow the field even further, we’re going to specifically target a segment of those fans who actively create and appreciate fan art. By virtue of their fan art, they are already in the 1% of the audience considered superfans; fans who proactively engage with and spread the word on their favourite things. They hang out largely on Instagram and Twitter, and at community forums such as Deviant Art and Art Station. Other niche segments we may consider include people who write Korra and Airbender fan fiction (literally thousands of stories are online), gamers who play adventure sci-fi and fantasy games similar to Esluna’s aesthetic (specifically Uncharted, Shadow of the Colossus, Horizon Zero Dawn, and The Legend of Zelda series), and of course, fans of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli.
SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY
In an effort to properly engage our potential audience, our digital marketing specialist will work to participate in the on-line conversation by sharing, liking, commenting on, and curating other items of interest to the community before slowly filtering in our own content, as the most meaningful social media engagement comes in the form of two-way conversation with your audience. The other advantage to being in a community like this that generates content is that it has its own audience that leans back and watches, consuming the content. Aside from just stills of line animation and other works-in-progress, some of the content to share with them will be on the on-line platform Twitch Creative, which allows people to watch artists work, in this case our artists as they animate, colour, and paint. Still more content will be in the form of short behind-the-scenes videos on YouTube, where they are most easily discovered by search engine traffic.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
For the past six months, Denver has been making a six-episode animated web series set in the world of Esluna, called The First Monolith, and this summer, its going online. Set fifty years before the events of the feature, The First Monolith will engage audiences in mythology of the world of this project, and give us a head start in engaging our niche audiences. If our social media campaign is a success, we will be able to leverage fans of the prequel series for The World Beyond. If not, we will be able to revise our approach with the knowledge we’ve gained.
As the film nears release, we will lobby geek culture websites and aggregators where sci-fi and anime fans hang out, such as Io9, Den of Geek, BoingBoing, Indie Animator, and GeekTyrant. Denver submitted his animated sci-fi short Cloudrise to many sites of this ilk, and received a large amount of articles, blog posts, and reviews accompanying links to the film. Social media ad buys will target the same narrow niche audiences we’ve been engaging with, as repetition is commonly believed to be necessary for convert potential audience members into actual viewers.
Of course, connecting with audience means nothing if they cannot find your project to watch it. To this end, we plan to work with a distributor to place Esluna on all digital VOD platforms in North America: iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Telus, Rogers, Shaw, DirecTV, VUDU, Hoopla, Spectrum on Demand, FandangoNow, Vubiquity, Verizon, etc. There is already market interest in Denver Jackson as an artist, with his short films garnering him discussions with Amazon, as well as animation studios New Machine, Bron, and Nelvana. Failing a license from a distributor, companies such as Red Bee Media or INgrooves encode films that platforms such as iTunes will then accept for independent distribution, assuring the ability to self-publish to these worldwide platforms.