Monday, October 13, 2008

Marketing Projection Services

You can pick up a lot of business, new clients and referrals simply by doing something for free!

“Free?” You ask. Why not? I am willing to bet that over the period of a year most people in business do something for free, believing this will somehow bring them extra paid business. Done wrong, it will bring you nothing but frustration. But, done right... will get your money’s worth, or your time’s worth.

In this particular case I am talking about promotion of not only your availability for providing projection services, but your production work as well. A few times over the past six months I have held planned, and impromptu, block parties, backyard events and even a Movie in the Park event that brought me a lot of good contacts and new business.

I have to tell you that there are potential hazards to doing this, especially in this litigious era where lawsuits, complaints and city/county ordinances abound. Some people with attitudes get miserable just watching others enjoying themselves and are quick to lob verbal, legal or real water balloons at the happy crowd. Use a bit of discretion and plan your guerrilla style movie presentations a little and you might be able to avoid the nastys.

I’ve had people who live on a circle actually get neighborhood permission to close the circle off and throw a block party where I’ve offered to project a movie. The “catch” to my offer is that prior to, and following the movie, I show one of my productions. I might show a montage, a cuts-to-the beat production with photos of kids and animals (pets), or even a wedding highlight, or some other celebration event.

I have also shown highlights of youth sports events, especially if I have something that includes or involves the people throwing the block party.

I have done the same thing with others who have made neighborhood announcements that they will be having a neighborhood social in their back yard. They also announce a movie showing to be projected on the Big Screen (I use a 6x8, T-stand screen), and maybe even children’s entertainment as well. Again, I show my stuff before and/or after.

The most guerrilla of these is to take a chance on showing a Movie in the Park. I am particularly lucky in that I have access to a few small parks in my area where pretty much anything but loud rock concerts goes, at least until 10 p.m. or so at night. This works especially well if you try it on a weekend as opposed to week nights, when surrounding residents might resent the noise and complain. I mean they have to get up and go to work next morning, and they probably want their kids to get some rest before school. Right?

Summer time is more conducive to mid-week park projections, but be prepared for a few people who might “crash” your event and try to raise a bit of sand. Usually, however, you and a few of your followers can keep the bad boys toned down.

I have been able to access power from some nearby source, even from the park’s auxiliary facility - some parks do have these and you can usually sign up to use the facility if you plan ahead. I have sent out notices, usually by e-mail, to people in my neighborhood, others whom I know, and urge them to invite friends. Keep it smaller rather than trying to attract a crowd of hundreds - the local law enforcement will surely come down on you then, and not because they want to watch your movie.

You can get permits, ask permission, get neighborhood support, etc. and sometimes you can simply jump in and back out before anybody causes a problem. Another thing is to not always show something at the same place, on the same day, at the same time. You can be responsible about this, or treat it like a RAVE - notifying past participants via phone text or e-mail.

Occasionally the shear outlaw sense of showing a Movie in the Park will be fun if you can keep things from getting out of hand. Use some common sense about it. And reap the benefits of having an open-minded, fun-loving crowd that not only enjoys the movie, but your productions as well, brings out potluck-style snacks and asks for business cards.

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