Between post-production and your first screening is the time you get your hands dirty making your merch and marketing your film. You design posters, create a website, and a million other things. One thing you should not forget on the list is creating kick-ass movie merch. Yep, as in merchandise! It’s a good way to earn money and to market your film at the same time. Come to think of it, it will be a double win for you. People pay you to market your film. When they wear a shirt, for example, they’re promoting your film wherever they go. For something like that, you’re supposed to pay them, right? But they pay you for it! Awesome. And anyways, it’s always great to have a table with merch during screenings because if your film is good, they’d surely want something to take home with them. It would be a missed opportunity for you.
But we all know that not all band merch are created equal. What merch are the best-sellers then?
Here are some custom merch items that are safe to make because they sell like hot cakes:
THE GOOD OLE T-SHIRT
Shirts are still bestsellers in concerts and movie screenings. You can always expect a sale if they really find your movie cool. Bear in mind that there must be a coolness factor in your custom tee. Not all movies can sell tees. You have to think if people would really want to wear your movie. If it ain’t cool, then it must be significant. Anything in between is a hit or miss. And always remember, people pay attention to the quality of your shirt so only choose good quality shirts to plaster your design on.
Buttons are so cheap you can even give them away without hurting your pockets. But of course you shouldn’t give them away unless you can really afford to. These can cost $0.50- $1 but you can bundle it with other items to make the bundle more attractive.
These are usually just given for free but you can come up with a sleeker, shinier postcard which you can sell on your booth. Make sure you get a good space at the back for them to doodle on or for you to sign (if they ask for an autograph). A customized stamp will also turn this into a collector’s item.
If you have a movie soundtrack, then sell soundtrack CDs on your booth as well as your website. It is no wonder then that it is a good idea to collaborate with musicians that can represent your movie well. It is a big plus if you put your CD in a kick-ass custom CD packaging to add more value to the item.
A bit tacky but some people still can’t resist cute stuff. And some people still collect refrigerator magnets. So why not? It’s not as expensive as a custom pillow (which you should never sell, by the way unless you’re Disney).
CUSTOM FLASH DRIVES
Custom flash drives are well-loved because they’re not only cute to look at, they’re 100% useful. People who see it would say “why not? I’m gonna need another flash drive anyway”. Make sure you put freebies inside like wallpaper, behind the scenes, some soundtrack, etc. so that it’s more attractive.
James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD/vinyl and merch company in LA.