MONEY & LIFE

Engagement: Releasing M&L Into the World

In my last post, I introduced myself and talked about the purpose and impact of Money & Life. But I know many of our supporters are eager to learn about the release and distribution plan in more detail. In this update, I will share the plan for the first two phases.

Katie has chosen a strategy that prioritizes grassroots distribution and engagement. To be successful, we need to create broad awareness and the tools people need for deep, local engagement. To that end, we will be launching the film in two initial phases. Read on for the overview, and I have placed items where we can use your help in bold.

Phase 1: Premiers, Festivals and Media

Starting on or close to March 20th (Spring Equinox), Katie will take the film on a premier tour. We want to plan premier events in the following cities, not necessarily in this order:

  • Boston
  • New York City
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Chicago
  • Los Angeles
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle

This week, I am inviting supporters in each of those cities to join Local Premier Committees to help me chart out the best venue and time frame for local impact and to help each other coordinate local publicity.  If you live in one of these cities and want to help with that very important piece, please send us a note.

For these events, we hope to reach the largest possible local numbers to build our core audience and discover new advocates for the film.

We are hiring a publicist to help ensure that we connect with key local and national media outlets. If you know someone in the press who should be aware of the film and want to make an introduction, again, don’t be shy in contacting us.

To find appropriate festivals, we are working with a marketing group called the Film Collaborative. As some of you may know, film festivals can create wonderful exposure, but also come with restrictions regarding when and where else a film can screen or be made available via DVD or online. Film collaborative is going to connect us with a targeted list, so we can approach the right ones. They have already put us in touch with a really wonderful festival that would be perfect for phase 1, but we can’t announce anything yet. Stay tuned!

Phase 2: Community Screenings

Phase 1 is intended to help the film go far and wide.  But at the heart of our strategy, we will enable people to host community screenings where participants can have a deep, local conversations about their experience with money and the changes they want to enact.  In general, the difference between a premier and a community screening is that we hope community screenings will follow viewing of the films with community dialogue and an opportunity to coordinate for action. The premiers will mostly be too large to have an intimate conversation.

By the middle of April, we should have completed the premier tour. At that time, we will “flip a switch” on our website and make the film available, first as a DVD. Anyone can purchase a personal copy at this point.

If you want to use the film for your community or organization, we are providing a suite of services to make that possible. Here’s the quick outline:

  • Money & Life will be available for community screenings of all sizes via a tiered licensing fee schedule. We are striving to make these licenses affordable and priced to match your needs, whether a host plans to charge for admission or not.
  • We will provide a kit to help you plan the logistics and promotion of your event. We will also provide a community dialogue guide, to provide support as you facilitate post-screening conversations.
  • We will also offer the DVD in wholesale bulk packages. You can use them to recoup the cost of your screening or to fundraise for your work by selling them at the retail price.

These resources will be available at www.MoneyandLife.com. Our current site is not set up for this functionality, so we have engaged Assemble, a web development group that specializes in film and is offering a comprehensive package of on and offline marketing materials and tools. We are working on creating an online resource guide that will allow viewers to explore solutions, both by geography and by topic. So, say you’re in Pennsylvania and interested in alternative currencies or in Florida looking for support to change your investment portfolio to match your values, we hope to give you a good start in your search for ideas and support. This resource guide will probably grow over time. If you have experience setting up wikis or other web-based knowledge management systems, I would love to hear from you.

Finally, we want to grow the team a little to make sure we are ready to respond to the demand for the film. Very soon, I will start the search for two interns: a social media coordinator and a screenings coordinator. If you are or know someone who might fit the bill, I’m happy to take resumes now.

Phase 3 and beyond

For today’s filmmaker, the options and channels for distribution are massive. We know that Katie’s film will have a long life cycle, so we will continue to provide new ways to access the film. We’re exploring streaming and download channels (such as Netflix and iTunes), cable on demand, even broadcast. Katie plans to make a Creative Commons-licensed version of the film available free via BitTorrent. I am currently advising her to hold off on these channels for a little while to maximize the community screening strategy. We have also been informed that the filmmaker sees less financial return on some of these methods. We are also researching educational and international distribution opportunities.  If you have experience with contemporary distribution methods and want to weigh in, please talk to us.

Already, we’ve had so much support exploring and defining distribution strategies. We can’t do it alone, so don’t hesitate to connect with us.

In future posts, I’ll be talking about how we measure the film’s impact and other updates as we move along. If there’s a question or topic you’d like me to address, I’m here to be helpful. Just let us know.

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