EPK Experts

The Digital Age Makes EPKsAffordable

An electronic press kit (EPK), the electronic form of traditional press kits used by writers and reporters have become more affordable, but you need to follow protocol and the rules of engagement according to an expert panel at a recent (12-10-09) Entertainment Publicists Professional Society (EPPS) media workshop sponsored by the International Cinematographers (ICG) Union Local 600 in Hollywood.

On-Demand and Online cost sharing has brought the prices down. “The costs really depends upon the distributor and what they’re resources are as they can run from a couple of thousand dollars to 100-Thousand said,” David Naylor, president, The DVD Group, LA.

“The notification of movie distribution comes partly from studios, EPK vendor and the publicists themselves. It is more profitable to have everything in one group getting a better bang for your buck,” he said.

“There’s more outlets out there and if you are hiring the right people, where an author and book tour, they are shooting the stuff that people are going want to see and outlets are going to play.”
Naylor talks about what goes into an electronic press kit.

An EPK takes the form of a CD or DVD, an e-mail, an e-mail, or a flash-drive

In the 80’s and 90’s it was expensive and satellite feeds didn’t work too good. Today instead of putting a postcard with a hard copy of the video many are upload to a server.

“My first movie ‘Cujo’ (1983 thriller movie that freightened dog owners) one piece Warner Bros costs $25,000,” said Reba Merrill, Reba Merrill Associates, Inc., an Emmy award-inning producer and Cable ACE nominee. Three movies she worked on in in the old days earned her, “$130,000,” a profit of $13,000. “It was mass appeal, I did four pieces and I got $40,000,” she said. Merrill says what has changed is the distribution and formats thanks to the digital age. Snail mail with postage cards and video tapes have been replaced Online marketing and servers.

Rod Dovlin, The Cannery

The panelists agree that for the web it should be around 1-3 minutes, otherwise 1-5 minute pieces that highlight the very specific part of the film, whether it’s talking to the director, or about a very big stunt of the day, or certain action in the film. “You know there are social networks that have groups that deal more with various aspects of it,” said Dovlin. “I just did a mixed martial arts film, and most of my marketing and outreach to getting it to these sites people never heard of.”

“If I’m working with someone who’s got a literary property and they’re trying to promote the author and the book we’re working in concert with a notification and distribution teams to promote both,” said Rod Dovlin, The Cannery. “You are working with who’s ever hiring you to do the EPK and studio publishing house, and building the budget is really where the ground work comes in.”  

Different strokes for different folks

“Obviously everyone still loves to see their properties end up on big syndicate TV shows like Extra, Access and Entertainment Tonight (ET),” said Dovlin. “But for certain people I’ve worked, like one of the world’s largest video game manufacturer, and they put out a skateboarding video, they’re not as concerned about getting their skateboarding video on ET as they getting it on ESPN or getting X Games opposite of ESPN.”

It’s getting the right EPK length and out to the right people

“I think the more you try to push and deliver goods that really look like you’re trying to really push that movie can be rejected,” said Mark Herzog, president/CEO, Product Entertainment, Inc. “Just get word of mouth spread is what you really want out of social networking.”

The evolution of TV network broadcasts to cable and Online changes playground –The Digital Age Impacts Distribution

The verdict is still out of format changes behind the scenes, too. “I’m more concerned about getting the best footage I can for an EPK,” said Brian Dzyak, EPK Cameraman and author of “What I Really Want To Do On Set In Hollywood,” a guide to every real job in the film industry. “I’m still using HD cameras and mixing managing media on the set, which isn’t the best method, but the bigger challenge is managing the media afterwards,” said Dzyak.

Dzyak says sometimes movie directors will get away with having an assistant shoot some scenes in HD, but you can spot them a mile away.  

Craig Boyd

“Media management on the set can be a  real problem, because sometimes the  cameras used are better quality than the movie cameras,” said Producer Craig Byrd, Mobscene Creative + Productions. “The idea for us is to shoot the best possible quality that we can. “If the EPKJ was shot on standard def (definition), because they (the client) wanted to save money, it can come back to bite you if you have to distribute the EPK in high def. That’s why as an agency we try to sit down and look at every possible outlet.”

All the panelists prefer email pitches:
David Naylor:
david [at] thedvdgroup.com
Reba Merrill:
Reba[at]rebamerrill.com
Rod Dovlin:
r.dovlin[at]  cannery.com
Mark Herzog:
info [at] herzocompany.com
Craig Byrd:
Craig [at] cannery.com
Brian Dzyak:
bjdzyak [at] aol.com

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