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A Beginners Guide To Self-Promotion
Benjamin Cook
A Beginners Guide to Self-Promotion
Outside of festivals, it can be hard work to get your work shown in traditional cinemas.

To have you work accompany a feature film release for its cinematic run (ie it shows before a particular feature every time its shown) would reach the largest audience. However this is the toughest thing to achieve mainly because there just isn't the culture of showing short films before feature films these days. You will probably need to finish your work on 35mm (the standard cinema format) to have any chance of this kind of exhibition. Investigate upcoming releases as far ahead as possible, focus on the smaller arthouse film distributors, and find films that you think your work may complement. Send them a preview tape and outline why you think your work would fit with their work, do not expect to be paid and you will probably have to supply all of the film prints at your own cost.

A more realistic option would be to approach an independent cinema, especially your local cinema which may have a particular interest in supporting local artists, research their upcoming exhibition schedule and if there is something particularly relevant to your work send the programmer a preview tape suggesting the connection along with a list of where its screened and your artists CV. The important thing is to make things as easy as possible for programmer, they probably usually do not programme short works with features so this would be extra work for them, but if it's easy and an interesting suggestion they may just go for it.

It's important to remember that most cinemas work at least three months ahead on their schedules, and distributors even longer. There are also a growing number of independent screening venues and initiatives which are more receptive to artists' film and video, who programme it as a substantial part of their regular programme. Most of these venues will either programme along thematic lines or may organise one off screenings of an individual artists' work. The best thing to do is research the venue's programme to see what they have done in the past and if your work might fit within this. Send a preview tape, and try and provide as much context as possible to give venues an idea of how they might programme your work. It may even be worth suggesting an interesting idea for a thematic programme that includes you work, or get together with other artists to organise a programme of your work collectively. Then you can offer it to venues as a ready made package to fill a programming slot which may easier for them to place in their schedule.

Still from Gallivant by Andrew Kötting, 1996
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