Monday, February 9, 2009

How You Gonna Fund that Film?

Insider Info for the Wannabee Filmmaker, February 9, 2009
By Sandy Penny "WritingMuse" (Taos, NM) -

You can't get more insider info and practical advice on how to fund your film project than this book, "The Art of Film Funding" by Carole Dean. Nobody knows how to get money and donations better. Carole asks you the questions that make sure you really want to do the project and that you understand the commitment needed. Before you start shooting your masterpiece, if you only read one book, read this one. It could save you a lot of time and heartache, and it could be the answer to your prayers. Straight talk, encouragement, and practical procedures from someone who knows what she's talking about. A good read and a good reference book.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Party Your Way to Success or
Let Them Eat Cake

by Sandy Penny,

Who doesn't love a good party? Social networking has always been the way to get to know people and convert them into clients, before Facebook, My Space and Linked In were born. It's a tried and true recipe for success.

When you start a new "bricks and mortar" business (not just a web business), make a list of competitors, if you have any, and find out who their clients are. If you can't find out who their clients are, run an ad in a local paper or a trade journal directed at competitor's customers inviting them to get to know the new guy in town.

If you don't have any competition, make a list of potential customers, and send them personal invitations to a party. It does not have to be a fancy party, a few appetizers and libations, perhaps on a theme that says something about your business, and voila, you have the opportunity to meet and get to know your intended clientele.

Make a list of simple social questions that will give you information about how to better serve them as clients. Asking them for input on what you can offer them makes them feel like part of the team. It's the beginning of creating a loyal community that supports you. Even if they turn out not to be buyers, they're usually happy to mention a few people who might be interested.

In a small town, going to a popular local happy hour is a good way to get to know people socially, and then you can convert them into clients as they get to know you. It's important not to just be trying to use them, getting to know them better may also give you ideas for other products or services.

For instance, I know a couple who started a restaurant here in Taos. He was a professional restauranteur with many successes under his belt. When they first decided they actually wanted to create a restaurant here, they were undecided on what would work. So, they frequented local restaurants, collected up menus and asked people they met what kind of restaurant was missing in Taos. They frequented local happy hours and talked about it a lot with the people they met. They knew they had to meet the needs and desires of the locals if they wanted to survive when the tourists are gone.

What they finally came up with is a high-quality, medium priced burger restaurant. They added low-priced menu items for their drive-thru menu. They included a half-price beer and wine happy hour, always popular in Taos, and so far, they're having great success. Taos is a very green, fair-trade community, so they made sure their food was aligned with that concept. They even use totally biodegradable, non-toxic, green cleaning products. They decor is light, happy and inviting and they included a large group table where locals could meet and socialize. To get the best kitchen and wait staff in a tourist town where those jobs are always up for grabs, they offered slightly better wages, great training and incentives for staying around. So, they took all their input and designed the restaurant for the town people, no cookie cutter chain. They did included ideas from highly successfully up-scale burger chains. When they opened, they had a big party to introduce people to the location, the food and the concept.

Giving something away is the best way to attract potential customers to your party. In the case of the restaurant, they gave away free food, and continue to give away small ice cream desserts to kids. Letting them try the food is the best way to sell it if you have a good product. In fact, letting people try your products is a tried and true way to sell them. Notice online and on TV, the ads for all kinds of products that give you free trials, a 30-day supply and all kinds of offers to get you on board as a customer.

What good marketers know is that once you get used to going to a store or a website, you're more likely to go back again. We are creatures of habit, and trying something new is not always our first choice, so we need an incentive to get us there. Once we trust the store, the product, the service provider or the website, we have a tendency to be somewhat loyal unless we get seduced away by free stuff.

If you have a product, have a product party. Everybody's doing it, and Mary Kay Cosmetics and Avon made billions of dollars with makeup parties. Tupperware sold high-priced plastic storage containers when that was a whole new concept by recruiting local women who wanted to make some extra money. Partiers got to see, feel and learn how to best use the products. And who doesn't spend more money when they're in a party mood?

Party, party, party. How can you party your way to success?

If you need help figuring out how a party can build your business, contact me at for an estimate on my writing and marketing services.