A unique way that Atlanta based producers TW Griffin and Donovin Freeman of College Park Films used to promote their upcoming film STUCK ON BROKE was to hold a contest for music submissions to their soundtrack. Our editor was in a meeting with us and suggested the contest, next thing I know hundreds of people are sending in songs from New York to Seattle, laughs producer TW Griffin. So of course, there are now hundreds of new fans waiting to see how the film and soundtrack turn out. STUCK ON BROKE is an urban themed film dealing with making hard choices and the main character is played by up and coming rapper OJ da Juiceman. Griffin came to film via the music business and sees many similarities between the way independent music artists must build a fan base and independent filmmakers now must do that as well. I learned about grassroots marketing and putting together posters, flyers, and one sheets through my music experience. Promoting a film is no different than promoting a CD, no matter what anyone tells you. You take a product, make it look good to the eye, get people to notice it and take it to the streets. It is all the same, said Griffin. The thought of using social media instead of traditional mass media was a new concept though. We had no idea how important social media was when we started this. Our initial plan was to do extensive TV commercials on stations that reached our target audience such as MTV Jams, Fuze, or MTV2. We will still do this but the viral effect that video and social media can give you is a very powerful tool. We tap into everyone s (cast and crew) Facebook and MySpace pages and whatever else we can think of to pass the word. We are also trying our hand at SEO (search engine optimization) and video optimizing, said Griffin. STUCK ON BROKE s contest solicitation was widespread online The marketing angle for the film was planned well in advance of production. The idea was to take a rising rap star and build the film around his character. The film would then appeal to his established legion of music fans. The star that we sought out is really the key to the door for us. He was up and coming when we chose him and we gambled that his star would rise and it has. Recently he was signed to Warner Brothers Records after previously recording for Asylum. In addition to the film, a soundtrack featuring the star s original music was planned as a source of additional revenue. I knew at a minimum we could offer it on our website or via iTunes. We have been blessed that in addition to OJ da Juiceman s music, we attracted platinum artists and, Tech N9ne, Jodi Breeze and Slim Thug as well as several hot underground groups who will all participate on the soundtrack. All of this has gotten the attention of distributors, said Griffin. If they don t receive the distribution deal they want, Griffin says the company will self distribute. The most important thing for any filmmaker to remember is: work backwards. Think about how one will sell this product, who will buy it, and for what reasons. I made sure that for a while we quit thinking only about the movie. We had to know that it could be sold to a certain type of individual, otherwise why do it? said Griffin. --Micro Film Maker Magazine
About the Director
Donovin started in the business with his debut novel Home. After writing several screenplays and not being to secure as much as a meeting he decided to take matters into his own hands. Donovin first directed a trailer for a TV series he wrote called Red Oak. He then decided to put together the resources he and his producing partner T.W. Griffin had and shoot Stuck On Broke. It was trying but we got it done. Hopefully this will catapult our careers into the right direction.