Wednesday, November 02, 2011

2011 Hollywood Black Film Festival: A Festival of Firsts

The Hollywood Black Film Festival 2011. Fifty-three officially selected films, 13 "infotainment" panels/workshops, hundreds of festival attendees,  several festival and in the middle of it all was me soaking up the experience. But this wasn't my first year at HBFF, but it was the first time I attended as a panelist and the festival's social media manager.

When I look back at my FIRST HBFF experience back in 2002...damn I've come a LONG way! I wasn't even an LA resident when I first worked the festival as a volunteer. I was a curious, somewhat anxious tv producer from North Carolina on a secret mission to learn if Hollywood was as weird, fake, and hard to break into as rumored. One third of my suspicions were confirmed so I returned twice to Los Angeles for more intel.

2004 saw me return to the festival as Associate Producer of documentary, "My Nappy ROOTS," which won the Best Documentary Award.  It was my FIRST film. That too was an interesting experience, because when you see your name on a big screen, that moment of pride stays with you for years to come.

Fast forward seven years...damn it's been that long? Wow! 2011 I returned again to HBFF. THIS time as a festival panelist and social media strategist/manager. That's two new festival FIRSTS that defined where I am in my career.

I spoke on the Internet and Social Media Marketing For The Filmmaker panel representing my business, Sheer Social.  What I found most interesting was that most of the attendees did NOT have their own website nor blog to help promote their film. But when asked how many were on Twitter or Facebook almost every hand was raised.

Then fellow panelist, Alan Beard of McBeard Media shared how his humor blog, Historical Tweets, gained him a book deal with no promotion. I added to his comments how this blog gained me access to events and professional blogging jobs.  The point being blogs and engaging CONTENT help create a marketable online presence that filmmakers need.

Moderator, Maury Rogow from RIP Media, and director/producer, Brent Roske, emphasized the importance of doing something unique online that makes promotional campaigns stand out. Content that generates an emotional connection and showcases your passion for your project was their advice.

Overall, all I can say is WOW! Personally, From 2002 to now HBFF has marked some important firsts in my life--volunteer, filmmaker, panelists, festival social media strategist/manager. Yeah, I've come a long way baby, and there's still farther to go!


steveburks said...

The word "content" in caps. Amen.

Keondra said...

Very interesting piece - couldn't imagine what it would be like to see those events live!

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