Here are hand-picked 42 free tools that can help indie filmmakers to produce distribute and promote their works. The knowledge and tools presented are recommended for both filmmakers who have finished films, and especially those who are in the early stages of a film project who want to have a clear understanding of the radically changing landscape for distributing and marketing films.
A landing page is a simple page that your fans first land on, which has a clear call to action on it. The landing page is a great marketing tool that ensures the audience gets your story and creates the highest possible conversions from visitors who arrive on these targeted pages.
A typical landing page contains a trailer, scroll through your cinema listing or subscribe to a mailing list. The idea is that your potential film fan shouldn’t have to scroll down to get the essential information. Your landing page should be cross mobile-friendly, as the internet is now consumed mainly on mobile devices. I’d recommend spending your time on creating a simple (but beautiful) landing page, and a Facebook page.
Luckily nowadays you can create everything on your own without the need to have any background in coding. Here are some great options for drag and drop site builders.
Wix is a classic template website builder and an AI platform rolled into one. You can choose from over 500 industry-specific templates and make use of its incredible drag-and-drop editor. Or if you’d prefer, use Wix ADI and let Wix design a website for you
Strikingly is a feature-rich website builder tool that enables people with no experience to quickly create modern and beautiful websites. It’s recommended by marketing guru and best-selling author Seth Godin.
Assemble is a way for creating a web presence around a film and interfacing with all the emerging tools so that, as an independent filmmaker, you can navigate what is quite a difficult path of building an audience online and then effectively selling to that audience.
Elementor is a page builder plugin that replaces the basic WordPress editor with a live frontend editor, so you can create complex layouts visually, and design your website live, without having to switch between the editor and the preview mode. The page builder enables you to reach a top-notch quality of design without needing to use code or CSS, and without relying on developers for help.
Video Creation Tools For Social Media
Social media can be an incredibly useful free tool to promote your films. You can boost your film’s appearance and loyalty, connect with potential or current fans, advertise products and promotions, share helpful or inspiring content, and more. Best of all these platforms are free. Including videos when sharing to social media increases engagement across the board–more clicks, replies, and favorites. This list includes both free and paid options.
Animoto is a Web 2.0 tool that allows users to produce videos that blend photos, video clips, text, and music. Examine your existing curriculum to decide where the use of Animoto will support your learning objectives.
Adobe Spark is an easy-to-use online tool that allows non-designers to create professional quality graphics, short promotional videos, and impressive single-page web “stories.” For those looking for a beginner-level tool that produces beautiful visuals, Adobe Spark might be the right fit.
Wondershare Filmora is a video editing software that enables users to create videos efficiently using the wide range of powerful editing tools.
HitFilm Express is a free video editing software with professional-grade VFX tools and everything you need to make awesome content, films or gaming videos. Perfect for beginners, film students, gamers, YouTubers, or any creative without a budget.
Design Tools For Social Media
Creativity is a kind of primitive impulse. Visual images touch our souls in ways text cannot. including images when sharing to social media increases engagement —more clicks, shares, replies.
Canva makes branding images as simple as a drag and drop. Whether you choose to use your logo, social media handles, or a hashtag, what was once a time-consuming task will only take a few minutes. Canva’s transparency tool also means that branding your images can look sleek and non-invasive to the viewer.
Pablo is the simplest way to create images for every social network, created by the team at Buffer, a multi-product platform for social media management.
Lucidpress is the brand templating platform anyone can master. With intuitive editor.
Every indie filmmaker knows that using images is critical, but finding and downloading beautiful images for free, without risking copyright infringement can be complicated. Luckily, there are countless free, high-quality image websites in which the image owners have waived their copyright. Anyone who is interested can download them and use them for personal or commercial use, as they wish. Some repositories provide free and free use, but this is subject to leaving credit to the creator. The following list includes free and subscriptions based platforms.
Artgrid is a subscription-based service for video creators and filmmakers that was launched in 2019 by Artlist. For a monthly fee of as low as $25, you get unlimited access to an entire library of high-quality hand-picked video clips from some of the best cinematographers.
Pexels is a free stock photo and video website and app that helps designers, bloggers, and everyone who is looking for visuals to find great photos and videos that can be downloaded and used for free. If you see a photo or video you like, simply download it for free.
StockUnlimited is a stock image service that allows subscribers to download an unlimited number of images and vectors each month.
Freepik offers a wide catalogue of free resources, which you can find by filtering by “Free”, from the “Filters” option on the site, on the top right corner of the screen. This content is completely free of charge.
Life For Pix
Free high-resolution photography. Share and download images freely. Search for pictures by color or format.
Flickr is almost certainly the best online photo management and sharing application that hold a huge number of great stock footage. Use the advanced tools to search for fair use images.
Free stock photos and images for your projects and websites.️100% free high-resolution stock images with no watermark.
Unsplash is a website dedicated to sharing stock photography under the Unsplash license. The website claims over 207,000 contributing photographers and generates more than 17 billion photo impressions per month on their growing library of over 2 million photos
Stock Up indexes 35,032 photos from 31 different free stock photo websites.
Video-on-demand (VOD) is now considered the second distribution window of your film’s release. Creating a successful marketing campaign will ensure high volumes of demand online to watch instantly. These websites offer subscription + rev share for filmmakers to publish and monetize their work. Most of them are based on a free rev-share model.
You can sell just about anything on Gumroad, as long as your customers are receiving a tangible good in exchange for their money. The most common items sold on Gumroad are e-books, films, music, software, and tutorials.
Vimeo On Demand
Make money selling your films and series directly online to a worldwide audience. Set your own price and take home 90% of the revenue after transaction costs.
Seed & Spark
Submit your completed Series, shorts, or feature with Seed & Spark. 50% of the revenue split. Customized marketing support. Deep audience data. Total financial transparency
Reelhouse is an online video community that provides filmmakers complete control to self-distribute content directly to their viewers. Filmmakers access the latest monetization, social, and showcasing features, which in turn engage viewers.
Subscription VOD Distribution
Monthly Subscription Services, these platforms are offering indie film fans to subscribe and access a large inventory of films. The bad news is that rev share is based on your performance, so you probably won’t see more than a few dollars every quarter, still another good way to boost your marketing efforts and get your film to more audience.
MUBI is a global streaming service where you can discover, watch, and share independent movies. Mubi’s team hand-picks films from around the world available on multiple devices at home and on the go. Mubi introduces a brand new film every single day.
On-Demand Streaming and LiveTV channels showcase classic and contemporary features, shorts, and documentaries from around the world.
Royalty Free Music
Looking for music for your film? The following database I have compiled will provide you with 8 places to download free music without infringing copyright
This site offers lots of music for personal or commercial use. Please note, you can download for free, or pay. If you prefer to download for free, you are required to give credit to the site.
YouTube Audio Library
YouTube has a completely free library of copyright-free music. By clicking each track you’ll see if you are required to give credit. You can also navigate through a variety of categories, search or filter by song length.
Facebook Creator Studio Music
Facebook creative studio offers over 5,000 of music tracks for personal and commercial use. You can search by keywords and filter different categories. However, Facebook has not announced whether it is allowed to use the songs for platforms other than Facebook and Instagram. So at this point, it is not recommended to upload the music to your website or YouTube for example, but only to your posts on the Facebook network.
A wide database of music and melodies to download for your personal and commercial use for free. You can navigate between the different topics and search according to what suits you. You can also listen to the song before downloading it. Please note that credit must be left with a link back to the site.
Freesound is especially exciting and includes a variety of different effects and quality melodies. The only downside is that a quick registration is required. Please note that you make sure that the section you want to download has a free use license. The information is displayed just to the right of the download.
A fair quality database of a variety of music for download. The works can be used as you wish. The only downside to the site is that there is no search option by styles, or by keyword phrases. Please note that the free part is only in the link we attached in the section title.
A limited and high-quality database of a variety of songs to download. You can navigate between categories, parades or perform a search according to the key phrases in the topic you choose. Can be downloaded and used freely and for commercial use – but credit must be left. Instructions on how to leave credit will be displayed to you immediately before downloading.
Artlis – Paid
Artlist offers a huge and high-quality database of music, video effects (under the “Artgrid” brand) that are required to be purchased for an annual license fee.
Cost – ranges from $ 149 to $ 299 per year, depending on the type of license you purchase.
Your best marketing tool is no doubt your mailing list. As you can read in my previous post, filmmaker Claudia Tosi has worked a mailing that helped her self-distribution efforts. People signing up to get updates from you means they want to hear all about your film and your progress, use it wisely.
- Mailchimp – Up to 2,000 emails free
- Send In Blue – Up to 9,000 emails free
- Benchmark Email’s – Free for Life plan allows you to send up to 10,000 emails per month
- Mad Mini – Up to 100 emails
- Vertical Response – Free plan enables you to send up to 4,000 emails per month and store up to 1,000 contacts.