How To Write A Film Press Release That Gets Noticed

A film press release is a marketing tool. And it’s a one to two page document that tells media outlets about something that’s newsworthy. In terms of a movie this could be a crowdfunding campaign, casting calls; screenings or festival wins. This helps people discover your movie, which in turn drives them to your web site and buy link. Think Like a Journalist

Journalists are constantly on the prowl for story ideas. With a press release you need to think like they do and understand they’re looking for. While a press release is a marketing tool, it can’t read like marketing copy or you’ll wind up in the slush pile.

It needs to read like a news story with a neutral point of view and avoiding marketing fluff. By having your film press release read like a hard news article, editor needs to do less work editing it – if you do it right, the editor can just run it the way it’s written.

film press release

In journalism classes six questions get drilled into your head: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How? Your press release needs to answer these questions in the context of your movie.

Another thing to keep in mind is reporters write in what’s called inverted pyramid format. This means the story begins with the most newsworthy items, moving into less important details as the story progresses. If possible you give brief answers in the first paragraph (known as the lead), expanding on them as you go.

If you read a few press releases you’ll get the idea – the press release starts with a paragraph that’s chock full of information, and expands on it as the story progresses. This is done so an editor can cut from the end of the story, possibly down to a one-paragraph blurb, without losing the meatiest bits.

The Format

Press releases are formulaic – yours will probably follow a format like this:

  • Eye-catching headline (similar to a movie logline, but don’t make it the same)
  • Great lead paragraph answering who, what, when, where, why and how
  • Quote from someone attached to the movie (Producer, director, lead actor, writer)
  • More paragraphs expanding on the points raised in the lead
  • End with a paragraph blurb about the production company, producer, or company publishing the release
  • Include a few pictures, stills, headshots, et al.
  • At the end of the release, there’s usually a centered hash mark or the number 30, indicating the end of the story
  • Always include contact information so a reporter can get in touch for more information (this can be a header or footer)

It’s Got to be Newsworthy

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