New beginnings for SDI

We’re trying to get a handle on audiences (let’s not use “the market”). Let me rephrase that:

How can we interest individuals in what we do, the documentaries we make and the questions we – or YOU – raise with them? How do we get people involved online and in person, and perhaps affect change? And how does this translate into a more sustainable business for filmmaking as a whole? That is what we want to be working on for the next 18 months thanks to funding from Creative Scotland.

Our colleagues in North America have been doing it as a matter of necessity. They have nurtured relationships with donors, individual giving and sponsorship for a long time. It’s tempting to focus only on how much money this might “bring” to a film. What is much more interesting is how “getting to know YOU” (one by one) can be an enlightening part of the whole process, deepening our understanding of the film and its need to exist in the world. Or, in other words, how and where do you want to meet your filmmaker?

This process used to be called “marketing and distribution”. We're still looking to find a better word for it. It’s now built into filmmaking. How could it ever have been otherwise? But how do we start this relationship? Perhaps traditional distribution is like a dating agency, and perhaps it absolves us both from too much responsibility. That’s why we call it the 'Virtuous Circle' project: the more we do together, we contribute to a greater good, an eco-system.

But still, how do we convert getting to know audiences, into cash? I know it sounds far too cynical. Yes, filmmakers still have to eat, but we rarely have been to business school. We may be pulling pints to make a living though.

Truly, where are the models which show us how to calculate percentages, revenues and conversion rates – without selling out? How do we both get satisfied by our respective offerings? How do we start to trust each other?

We are excited about the opportunity to test and model new strategies and share the results with you. I hope we can continue this conversation...

But first things first: As of today, we're recruiting our new conversation leader & producer for a new position at SDI!

Producer of Marketing and Distribution

This is a unique opportunity for someone to be at forefront of new models of documentary film investment and audience engagement. A successful PMD can make the difference between a film you never heard of and a glowing success which pays back its investors and sets the filmmakers up to make more. You will test and develop tools and strategies to be used at any stage of production and distribution and run crowdfunding campaigns. You will work across a number of feature documentaries at different stages.

Your task will include definition of an authentic voice for SDI’s online communications and to aggregate audiences across projects. You should be a digital native, a natural communicator and motivator, and able to manage multiple priorities.

A job description is available here. Deadline for applications is 27 June 2011. Interviews will be on 6 or 7 July in Edinburgh. If selected for interview you will be asked to do a 5 min presentation based on an idea for an audience engagement campaign.