Postcard advertisements are a very important tool used to market short films. These postcard advertisements are handed out at film festivals to promote the film, and garner attention. These are the cards given to every film programmer/producer/press member that shows even the least bit of attention. These cards help to establish connections with influential people and invite more of the public to view the film. As short films are typically made with a low budget, and not released in theaters worldwide, these kind of guerrilla marketing techniques are extremely important in order to sell and promote the film.
When creating a postcard advertisement, it is important to remember that this is often the first time someone is hearing about the film. Therefore, the poster should be designed in a manner that is instantly eye-catching and enticing. It also has to convey all the crucial information such that it is actually effective and not just decorative. The poster gives people hints about what to expect in the film, so making the theme/story appear as interesting as possible is an important element for convincing people to make time to watch the film.
“You can create postcards for your film and business cards for yourself. Or you can combine them and have a film postcard that includes your contact info or a business card that promotes your film. I’ve seen them all and they all work just fine.”
I think it would be effective to combine the business card and the film postcard because that makes it more convenient. People would be more likely to reach out and offer opportunities if your information is readily accessible. Handing out two separate pieces of paper could result in people losing/forgetting one, but having your name and information alongside the film will help people remember and associate you better.
DH: Nice. So about postcards—here’s my big bugaboo…filmmakers, please make it easy for me to follow up on your film if it looks cool. I just got handed half a dozen short film postcards in the past week that had no website or contact e-mail on them and I thought, what’s the point? I mean I guess I can Google the film’s name, but really it feels like an extra step. Honestly, at this point in history, even hand typing in a URL is like manual labor. I just made up cards for DIVERGENCE at Comic-con and I put QR codes on them. They’re ugly, but these days I feel like anything without a QR code is Victorian. I assume you’re pro-postcard, Steve. What do you think?
SE: I like where you’re head’s at. I’m a junkie for postcards and you need to fully exploit the real estate they represent. You’ve got to have all forms of contact info available; really, why wouldn’t you? And while we’re at it, low tech still works in a pinch — why would you ever fail to have your screening place and time printed on the card? If not printed on the card, then printed on a sticker that you place on the card. If not on a sticker, then lay down some sweet, personalized handwriting with a nice “hope to see you there!” note.
DH: Yes, exactly. I’m an Avery label kind of guy myself. I would always print postcards with key art, title, tagline on the front and more art, synopsis, contact info, whatever on the back but leave plenty of room for the all important screening times label and festival laurels. Then you can get a big print run done pretty cheap and just grab a stack and a couple of quickly printed sheets of labels and sticker them on the way to the festival. I’ve seen too many changed screening times to ever feel comfortable getting a whole order printed two weeks before the festival. That’s just tempting fate.
This reinforces my point that having contact information on the postcard is very useful. Putting the contact information and film festival screening times on the back is a good idea because it doesn’t distract or take away from the aesthetic quality of the front poster, but is still conveniently accessible. I also see that having a QR code is a valuable addition, and it would be a good idea to have that on the backside also.