Why Filmmakers Shouldn't do SEO (Themselves)

Filmmakers don’t waste your time on Search Engine Optimization, make your film and if you have the above the line item in your film budget for marketing, spend it on a good social media strategy instead.

Here’s FIVE good reasons why a new filmmaker shouldn’t do SEO

1. SEO is based around a keyword not creativity, competitive ones that have been around a long time have other well established websites all vying for that top spot already – you won’t get a look in without spending a bunch of money that could have gone on your meager film budget!

2. No one knows about your film, brand, or name! unless you’ve reached out, raised some eyebrows, and they are now running a background check on you to find – wait a minute – no history of yours in film? Hmmm way to go with getting your face rubbed in it as a newbie when they see you’re procrastinating to be a filmmaker.

3. NO ONE in the big boys industry cares. I’m speaking the blunt honest truth here! I’ve worked in the fringe of the fringe of barely-paid-nearly-there film industry, and even they never consider who is out there on google page one, all they care about is who they know and who they can trust to recommend who they in turn would know. Ugh.

4. Unless you’re a tactical expert you’re not going to get into SERPS for any good reason, oh, wait a minute? You know how? Doesn’t that make you something of sorts a fish out of water? Doing a bit of blackhat guerrilla marketing when you should be making your god damn film? Politically  – and I’m just referencing the networking chat that goes on I don’t think that will go down well with getting in with the big boys somehow.

5. Make your film first! I’m sick and tired of seeing people selling T-shirts and mugs before the fact of the matter. I know it’s to raise the budget for your lil’ movie. But on the bigger picture if you really need to raise a few thousand bucks to satisfy your movie budget, selling a few t-shirts is probably the wrong strategy in the scale of things, and now you’ve distracted yourself from the business of creating film into the business of farting around.

Which brings me to the remedial section:

What new filmmakers SHOULD DO instead of SEO

Look, everyone knows if you’re new to film, you’re not going to have a history behind you. They just don’t like being lied to with a brand new website procrastinating ‘Writer!’ ‘Filmmaker!’ ‘Director!’ or worse, ‘Producer!’ – The first thing it draws them to is google – to see what you’ve done. See, In this industry there are so many people vying for a chance, they ignore what you say you’re doing tomorrow and only look at what you did yesterday.

So your first exercise is – ‘What did you do yesterday?’

Write it out, stick it on your resume, think of 5 interesting things about yourself, make it part of your nameplate website. Remember, its not what you think you’re doing tomorrow (when you get your hands on someone else’s money) it’s what you did yesterday, last week, last month, this year that counts.

Consider it your first chance at ‘Online Reputation Management’ a form of SEO you’re not lying about being new, and you’re laying out your experience be it prison or success. You’re making your personality something interesting and honest when they google you. This is the beginning of your Social Media Strategy, so consult with a PR specialist to make sure you put yourself in the best light.

Make something, anything, make a start!

Have you noticed people with content and that actually did something yesterday are the ones people want to follow? You’ve seen it enough times so do it. At least get a flavor of what you want to be embarking on. I’d even go as far to say get into some background work and see what it’s like on the set of a high production value movie. Once you get a sense of all the coordination you have to rise to, hear my words it’s no walk in the park. Even background work is not easy, but work it well, use it wisely and learn!

Your film is an investment, finance it.

You must be mad to have read this far, so go on if you’re going to do this wild career change, don’t do it without a heart. Do it properly, it’s going to cost you, filmmaking is expensive. Many people have spent thousands on this, racked up their credit, but what is good education worth? What is a good portfolio piece worth? It’s not going to cost nothing, work out what your budget is and treat it as a loan to your future. Just be mindful of the risks and the challenge now you’ve got a scope of the work ahead  by getting in some background work. If you are seriously investing in this part, then pay for a line producer to consult with you on how much you are going to budget for you film project.

Juliana has a successful career as an executive in Online Marketing managing film budgeting clients for a Line Producer. You can follow one of her film creative profiles on Twitter @JulianaReedLA.

Dean Saliba

Dean Saliba is a freelance writer, professional blogger, media enthusiast, dirty football player and huge professional wrestling fan who covers a wide range of subjects and niches including, making money online, traffic generating, pro wrestling, blog reviews, football, how-to guides, music, internet marketing and more.


  • For an interesting story on how filmmakers can drum up interest in their property read up on the development of the Harrison Ford/Daniel Craig blockbuster Cowboys and Aliens.

    Apparently the whole thing came about when a comic book publisher trademarked the name “Cowboys and Aliens” in 1997 and then hired some freelancers to produce a graphic-novel based on that concept. This publisher then gamed the system by paying comic book stores to order, stock and resell the Cowboys and Aliens graphic novel at below cost. Comic book stores were happy to comply since this was free money for them. The book was priced at $3.99 but the stores were selling it as low as 50cents or even giving them away for free – since they were getting it for free themselves.

    This caused the Cowboys and Aliens graphic novel to shoot up the sales charts and eventually caught the eye of Hollywood execs who were on the prowl for a hot new comic book property to pick up for cheap. A comic no one wanted, no one really bought, and created just to hold the trademark on a name becomes a 163 million dollar Hollywood blockbuster. Scam or genius marketing ploy? You decide.

  • Lots of interesting points that had never occured to me about SEO for film industry.

    @Joe: A very fascinating story. Thanks for sharing it.

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