One of the most important questions that every film needs to answer is the one that is often neglected. Who are you making this for?
I recently went to the 5th Annual Southern Documentary Fund Convening in Durham, NC. Last year I walked away with insight into my story structure and a pack of new friends who dubbed themselves the Doc Chicks. This year I am inspired in a different way. Blanket Town, my full length documentary film, is in a very different place than it was last year, and while I am still finishing up some pick- up filming and editing, I am also aware that it’s time to activate my outreach/distribution plan. Which means thinking deeply, once again, about who I want to see this film. It’s a painful cliche to ask the question “So who is your target audience?" and hear the reply “Oh everyone.” Aghhh!
Of course we all want as many people as possible to see our films or watch our business’ video. But a target audience of everyone simply doesn’t exist. As one of this weekend’s speakers put it, imagine going down to the multiplex and buying a ticket to a movie, without specifying which film you want to see. I’d never do that. Would you? There is no such thing as a general audience.
It doesn’t matter if you are a doc filmmaker, a business owner or a non-profit with an explainer video on your Facebook page or website. You still have to answer this question. Who do you want to see your film? Who is your target audience? Where do they hang out, both on and offline? The more specifically you can answer these questions, the better your chances of getting your work in front of them.