I can't say that I'm a huge fan of the content on The Edge with Jake Sasseville, it's just not my style, but there's a lesson to be learned from him. First off, you just might be asking, "who the hell is Jake Sasseville?" Well, he's got a late-night show that just premiered on 40 ABC affiliates around the country, he's got a couple of big advertisers in Ford and Overstock.com, he's a 22 year-old from Maine who transplanted to New York to follow his dreams and... he did it all on his own, literally.
How'd he do it? Well, he started out by making little clips and putting them on YouTube, Myspace and Facebook, just like every other loser with a handycam. He developed a site, then approached ABC and bought paid programming time, but convinced them not to list him as paid programming (he's paying them each somewhere between $150 - $5,000 per half hour to get his show on the air). So, to the layman viewer, he's on right after Jimmy Kimmel. Once he secured the programming time, he went out and found sponsors who are looking to target his audience demographics, so far it's Ford and Overstock.com, with, apparently, others coming soon. When it comes to getting sponsors, he's creative, too. Not only do they get to run TV ads while his program's on the air, they're all over his website, plus they get product placement during the show and clips. So, he's building awareness, while making money... and he's doing it in a way that blends the internet and traditional distribution methods. So, what can we, as indie horror filmmakers, learn from this joker?
I think there's two major things that you can take away from this. One, you can do it yourself and, two, think like a brand. Let me expand on those thoughts... It's easy to self-distribute now, I've talked with lots of indie filmmakers and many of them are taking the self-distribution route now because they've been f'ed over by their last distributor and, guess what? They're making money, the margins are a lot higher when you do it yourself. All you have to do is plot out all the distribution angles you can... Getting on Amazon, Netflix, etc... isn't that tough. After that, just work the internet and work the phone, get your film out there. Next and more importantly, think like a brand, don't think project to project. If Jake Sasseville just did clips and posted them on Youtube without a big picture, he'd still be doing just that. Instead, he had a big vision in mind, started where he could and, all the while, kept that big goal in mind. So, don't just write a script or shoot your film and throw it out there without any rhyme or reason... create a brand. Make up a site and throw all your projects under one umbrella. Shoot some shorts, post them on Youtube and push people back to your site where you can showcase your other projects. Get mentioned on blogs and horror websites, team up with other filmmakers. Don't just be "Joe Blow", be "Joe Blow Productions". Once you're a brand, it'll be easier to get financing, easier to get your ideas out there and easier to get noticed. Don't take my word for it, ask Jake Sasseville what he thinks...
The Edge with Jake Sasseville - Link