Zak Knutson and Joey Figueroa of Chop Shop Entertainment get brought in by big studio films and indie projects to produce electronic press kits and other promotional materials, which for them, since at least 2006, includes webisodes. Recent projects include the indie feature "The Art of Travel", starring Christopher Masterson, and Kevin Smith's "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" and "Clerks II". (Below is one of the shorts they produced for "Zack and Miri," an Elizabeth Banks-Seth Rogan parody of the "I'm F****ing Matt Damon" video from last year.)
Making webisodes is their number 1 tip for filmmakers looking to get the word out about their projects, as they explained in a panel this morning at the South By Southwest Interactive conference. And their sub-tips include:
- Film everything, at least as much as you can. Chop Shop spent a year with the "Zack and Miri" production team, filming every stage of the film's creation.
- The faster you put up your footage, the more the audience feels involved. Chop Shop managed to upload a webisode filmed at Cannes the same day they shot it, and the viewcounts went huge.
- Commit to regularly producing content, because your audience will look forward to it. You can't necessarily anticipate what will take off, but if you keep producing content, something will attract attention.
- Use viewcounts as a way to determine what's working and what's not working for the audience. And the basic rules of the Internet apply: "If you've got pretty girls, your stats are going to go up," Figueroa said.
And all of this goes towards creating a better, more personal look at the behind-the-scenes. "We just want to change the way the EPK is done," Figueroa says. "Because in my opinion the way it's done is boring."
-Liz Shannon Miller