Film Press Kits: What? Why? How?
Posted by Cassie on 2012-04-03 22:09:52
Press Kits. What are they? Why do you need them? How do you make them?
All valid questions that I didn’t know the answer to two years ago, but since then, I’ve directed and produced three films and all of them needed Press Kits, and I must say I’ve mastered them flawlessly! Or at least they got the job done.
What are Press Kits?
A film Press Kit is like a pitch on paper. You have a finished film, you need to get it in the hands of distributors, film festival programmers, sales agents, etc… so you give them this ‘resume’ (of sorts) to explain what the film is and show off anything and everything about it. Like an actor needs a headshot & resume, or like a cinematographer needs a demo reel, a film (as its own entity) needs a Press Kit.
Why do you need them?
A film needs a Press Kit in order to convey all the information about the film that the sales agent/ distributor/ festival programmer would need to know in order to fully calculate the marketability of the film and see if it would fit well in this film festival, with this network, distributor, theater chain, whatever it is that is considering showing your film, you need to "wow" them!
When should you make a Press Kit?
It depends on who you are “pitching” the film to. You could make a Press Kit for your film as soon as when you are looking for film financing, or as late as when you are pitching the finished product to film distributors. Most Press Kits are utilized while trying to sell the film, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start making one during Pre-Production when you’re looking for financing or for people to attach to the production of the film. You tailor your Press Kit to who will be looking at it, and what you want from them.
What should a Press Kit include?
Your Press Kit should have every possible detail about the film included in it, but in an efficiently edited and organized way. When you have a lot to brag about the pages may add up, just try to make it as clear and concise as possible.
Let’s talk about a Press Kit you would make AFTER the film is completed, final cut locked, and you’ve already screened the film at festivals and have recieved reviews and articles written about it. This is what your Press Kit should include (the order changes for most Press Kits, but this is the order I like):
- 1. Front Page: the title of film, possibly poster artwork, production company logo and absolutely the contact information and website URL.
- 2. Logline, Synopsis, Runtime, and Shooting Format
- 3. Cast and Credit List
- 4. About the Film (Production notes)
- 5. Filmmaker/Director Biography (their previous work, awards, etc.)
- 6. Director’s Statement (talking about why she/he made this film, etc.)
- 7. Information about any other notable cast or crew members involved (think about what is marketable, the DP from Titanic is marketable! Brag about it.)
- 8. Previous and future scheduled screenings (Date, Description, Location)
- 9. Awards and Laurels
- 10. Quotes about the film (the sizzle reel version of #11)
- 11. Full Articles, Reviews, Interviews. - You can copy and paste the entire articles into your Press Kit with the information about where it was published, or if you are doing an Electronic Press Kit (*see below) then you can simply put the title of the article and the publication with the links to the URLs.
*Please note that there are two types of Press Kits: a physical “paper” Press Kit and something called an “EPK” (or “Electronic Press Kit”). You will sometimes use a paper Press Kit when mailing in a submission to a film festival. You may also use a paper Press Kit when physically meeting with a distributor or sales agent; however, most Press Kits are done digitally now, and are emailed rather than mailed.
In my experience, I find it easiest to have a PDF/Word document saved on my computer of a “printable” (paper) Press Kit, and then another PDF/Word document saved on my computer as an EPK, which I then email to prospective distributors, etc...
I prefer EPKs because the #11 section I listed above (Articles, Reviews, Interviews) are VERY easy to convey with simple, clickable, URL links to the review or article online. You can even include links to trailers or videos about the film that are online. Audience reaction videos are great too if you’ve been collecting that sort of thing.
Lastly, you will want to include photos or visuals in your paper Press Kit or Electronic Press Kit. Poster images, photos of the filmmaker and actors, behind-the-scenes photos, and screen shots are all common visuals included in film Press Kits. If it’s an EPK, you can simply put the JPGs in one folder, and use descriptive titles for each JPG photo. For paper Press Kits, you can either include the photos in the Word document (have the text wrap around the photos), or you could have one or two pages specifically dedicated to photos with their descriptions (like a photo album).
Overall, when you’re making your film Press Kit, ask yourself: (1) who will be looking at this, (2) what do I want from them, and (3) what are the best qualities to share about my film and the people who made it?
Here are a couple sites with some great examples of film Press Kits:
GOOD LUCK and KEEP FILMIN'!