The Importance of Marketing

The WGA recently achieved a new contract with the Producers. My brother and sister members will not be marching the picket lines as we did a decade ago. That’s great news. You might wonder why writers still work in traditional media, given the ease of production and the amazing audiences for online content. A paycheck and health care are good reasons, but the bigger reason is marketing.

Hollywood isn’t so much about making great content anymore. It’s about marketing good content. Writers and other creatives climb that latter, often giving up creative control, but knowing their work will be marketed by pros to an increasingly elusive audience.

The creative side of the coin often pokes fun at the “suits” in marketing. Just calling them “suits” disparages them as soulless automatons that lack the creative vision of those wearing strategically tattered jeans (or soiled jeans as Nordstrom is now selling). But without marketing, no one will learn about your work. Even indie authors have to market. I keep forgetting that and that’s why one of my books, “Bio-Adversity,” still doesn’t have a single review.

Artists are distracted by the new shiny idea and typically forget to market the one they’ve already finished. Orson Welles habitually left projects for others to complete. Indie-filmmakers budget for production, steal money from post, and never even think about the cost of marketing, film festivals, and distribution. But if audiences don’t know about your work, they’ll never buy it no matter how great it is. Even the flame known as word-of-mouth has to be sparked and nurtured.

You have to take off the comfy jeans and put on the scratchy suit. It’s part of the job.

About Deke

Writer and filmmaker Dale Kutzera is a recipient of the Carl Sautter Screenwriting Award, the Environmental Media Award, and participated in the Warner Brother Writers Workshop. His credits include the TV shows “Strange Frequency” and “Without a Trace” and the independent film “Military Intelligence And You!” He is the author of five novels and the popular “Plot Machine” story-structure guides. He writes about writing and filmmaking at www.DaleKutzera.com.

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