film pr questions

When you first start engaging with a film publicist (especially if you have little to no experience working with one), it may feel a little uncomfortable. Don’t be surprised if the first couple days working alongside your new public relations practitioner are filled with rapid fire, interrogation style questions. For some, these blunt, no-nonsense Q&A sessions can be nerve-racking or even offensive. You might ask yourself, Seriously? You’re asking me what kind of camera I’m using? But it’s important to understand that these questions are all meant to help you and your bottom line.

Bucking the misconception


This isn’t the first time that we’ve brought up the publicity biz in the Midwest, and we can say with certainty that it won’t be the last. The thing about this industry is that there’s always this misconception that to succeed, you have to relocate. However, in film publicity, we’ve proven it’s not required.

If you’re making a film that’s budget conscious—and what film isn’t—you don’t need to be looking to the East Coast or West Coast to hire publicity help. You should be turning your gaze to the Midwest, home to a number of talented people working in the entertainment industry. (Yes, you read that right. There’s an industry here.) And trust us, there’s a lot of perks to working with people on the Freshwater Coast. We put together a quick list of reasons why you should look to us for publicity help versus a metropolis firm.

Bringing in a publicist in pre-production is crucial to the success of your film.

Think of your publicist as your film’s defender. They are responsible for keeping the information of your film—its story, cast, crew, and potential drama—under wraps until you’re ready to pull the trigger. That being said, it floors us that some films are still leaving a publicist out of the picture. Let’s just get this out there: You should be bringing in a publicist in pre-production. Now let’s dive into why.


Spectacle Creative Media is excited to work with the new kid in the filmmaking tech category, CineScout. With a mobile application and website, CineScout was created to connect creatives with their dream shoot locations. The app allows location owners to post their locale for free with an unlimited number of videos and photographs to show off what their venue has to offer. From there, creatives can connect to location owners through the app to reserve and pay for the location. Cool, right?

Spectacle Creative client, God Bless the Broken Road, on MSN.com.
Video courtesy of wochit Entertainment.

Spectacle Creative Media is excited to officially announce our newest film client! From 10 West Studiosfounded by God’s Not Dead director Harold Cronkcomes the latest faith-based film God Bless the Broken Road. The film’s story follows the journey of still-grieving widow Amber Hill who finds herself angry at God after the loss of her husband who was killed during combat in Afghanistan.Our team is handling the film’s unit publicity and our first round of media outreach resulted in a number of big wins. After the deal and initial cast announcements, we were pleased to see the story picked up by many online and regional outlets as well as 3 top-tier media placements: Rolling Stone, MSN.com, and Deadline.The video linked above and an overview write-up was posted on MSN.com detailing the film’s deal announcement.

The video linked above and an overview write-up was posted on MSN.com detailing the film’s deal announcement.

unsplash photo, track race, by Matt lee

Did you know it is against Facebook’s contest rules to ask your audience to share a post/photo in exchange for a contest entry? It is.

That’s why it’s so troubling to us when we see indie filmmakers and brands who make this and other mistakes when running their social media giveaways and contests, perhaps around a crowdfunding campaign, a film festival, or a product launch. However, it’s really important that rules set forth by the respective platforms are followed when running social campaigns. Not doing so can put your film or brand at risk of having your posts and pages temporarily or permanently removed from the platforms.

JEM and the Holograms © Universal
JEM and the Holograms © Universal

I debated whether or not to put this on my personal blog or here and ultimately decided that this was the right spot. I normally don’t offer up my views/reviews of films for public consumption. Primarily because as a publicist who works with indie filmmakers I know how difficult a process it is to get a film made. I know how hard it is to get people to watch films. And I know how critical (and mean) an audience can be. So publicly participating in that conversation has never felt right to me. Until now.

Sundance Signage

The submissions deadline for 2016 Sundance Film Festival has passed and other top tier film festival submissions deadlines are fast approaching. If you’re now playing the Sundance waiting game or are getting ready to submit to SXSW, now is as good a time as any to start planning your publicity. I know what you’re thinking, Hey we haven’t even been accepted yet. How can we start to plan publicity for something we don’t know will happen?

That’s the trap every filmmaker gets caught in. Don’t be that filmmaker.

Here are 5 things you can start to do right now to give your film its best chance of success.

Feminist Film Festival

Make sure to attend the Grand Rapids Feminist Film Festival, a free event. As a women owned business, this event is dear to our hearts. The festival is presented by The Bandit Zine, a submission-based, social justice-focused zine that was founded in Michigan in 2009.

Our own Tamaryn will be speaking on a panel: SHOOTING THROUGH A FEMINIST LENS: How to Make Films That Matter

Grand Rapids Michigan

We’ve begun working with our first international client, the husband-wife team Rody and Kylie Claude, and we’re stoked! Just in time for Halloween, their new, ultra low budget, martial arts–action–horror film, Zombie Ninjas vs Black Opsis releasing on VOD platforms October 15th. Rody and Kylie have been gearing up for the release by teasing fans with a sweet web comic series. Being fans of action and martial arts comics ourselves, we were wowed by the film’s production values.

Dave Lowing Light and GripDave Lowing testing lighting equipment.
Photo courtesy of Lowing Light & Grip

For National Small Business week (all May long) our friend, Stephen M. Paulsen, at Lowing Light & Grip, put together this fantastic explanation of how independent, small businesses are the backbone to the filmmaking industry. Filmmaking, at its core, is a collaboration of small businesses working together to create a creative product.  

You may have already read Why every Indie Film is a Small Business, and the beautiful thing about producing filmed entertainment is the depth of connections that are made to other Small Businesses. The making of any filmed project requires many cooperating small and virtual businesses that supply resources and specific skills that are not available in a Film Producer’s employee pool. The making of any feature length film requires dozens, or hundreds, of such cooperating businesses. For a Film Producer, an Equipment Rental House is one of the most important and essential cooperative businesses for his or her project.

Alejandro Escamilla (On Unsplash)

We can’t think of anything more fun than grabbing a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and discussing creative ideas. Well, except for maybe talking to the media about exciting creative projects. So we will always find time to meet and talk with up-and-coming filmmakers who are looking for ways to increase visibility around their project. And not just filmmakers! We work with non-film clients too. And maybe you’re wondering, “How do you choose which projects to work on?” That’s a good question. Small businesses run lean and have to make a lot of tough business decisions. The biggest decisions we make here at Spectacle Creative Media are whether or not to take on a project or client.

 Joseph Scott Anthony, Dan Irving, Burst Theory Film Set
On the set of Burst Theory

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “there’s no business like show business.” And while there tends to be more glitz and glamor making a movie than there is coding a website, in reality, the principals of business between filming a movie or launching a startup business are largely the same. For Small Business week, we thought we would dive into many of the ways each film is in its own right a business. Quite literally. Each film or production company has to file as a business entity. Just have a look at some of the creative (and boring) LLC names from some of the films that have worked with the Michigan Film office.

What held you back today?
I ask myself that question every day. I’ve learned that regardless of whether or not you’re the one running the show, there will be things that get in our way. Some are obvious: your hard drive crashed. But more often, the things holding us back are less obvious because they’re things we’re doing unintentionally. Procrastinating. Losing track of time. Having doubts.

I’m not going to tell you the five things you should do before bed to remove stress from your life. Those posts exists. What I am going to share with you is something I’ve learned during my small business journey thus far: if you want your business to grow you must be willing to change. And you will not change unless you know what needs to change. That means getting real with yourself as much as it means getting real about the bottom line.

national small business week

Dreaming big, starting small—that’s good stuff. But let’s get real with each other; owning, operating, and growing a small business is no walk in the park. It’s more like running a marathon backwards, during rush hour traffic in NYC, while juggling bowling balls. We think we can all benefit from sharing each other’s experiences.

Grand Rapids Magazine Filmmakers

Filmmaking is collaborative and few do it better than the filmmakers in West Michigan. This Grand Rapids Magazine article, on stands now, is a great look into what’s happening.

Grand Rapids, MI (on Flickr)

Some ask us if it would be easier to attract film publicity clients if we lived in Los Angeles or New York. Or at this rate, Georgia. And maybe it would. But we don’t. We live in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Well, most of the time. As it is, Kellen currently calls Melbourne Australia his part-time home. (And before that Taiwan). And lately, Tamaryn has been jumping around here-and-there too. So while we may one day expand into deeper waters—we’ve made a choice to call the Freshwater Coast home. We don’t believe we have to live on the east or west cost to do what we love, work with who we want and get amazing results. So why Grand Rapids?

happy birthday spectacle creative media

Wow. 4 years.

I’ll be honest with you. When I started this journey, building Spectacle, I had no clue what I was doing. I jumped in without any plan. Not even one written on the back of a napkin. I never fancied myself a small business owner. I never thought I had the chops to be an entrepreneur. Could I really make a living, all on my own, in Public Relations? I mean, I graduated college before Facebook or Twitter or any of web 2.0 had been invented. So it’s still a shock for me to reflect on how we’ve gotten to this milestone.

In January, we started working with the Acton Institute on the film series For The Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles. It stars Evan Koons and his friends—Stephen Grabill, Amy Sherman, Anthony Bradley, Makoto Fujimura, John M. Perkins,Tim Royer and Dwight Gibson—as they explore a new perspective, the bigger picture of what it means to be “in the world, not of it.” What excited and drew us to this project most of all is that it’s for anyone familiar with the Christian faith—regardless of denomination—madly in love with church or just about to walk out its doors. And it’s pretty funny too.