Film Threat: Movie Marketing for Dummies

By: Chris Gore
May 29 2003

Okay, if you had to list them, what are the most common dos and don’ts of movie marketing?


  1. Work from the top down with all audiences (distributors, media, buyers)
  2. Utilize the power of the Internet
  3. Keep good records of correspondence and communications
  4. Get a referral from everyone who turns you down
  5. Embrace technology and make yourself accessible via cell phone and email
  6. Plan on nothing happening as planned


  1. Count on a Sundance slot to carry you to stardom
  2. Try to do everything yourself — especially packaging art and web design
  3. Make your website an inside-joke-filled chat area for your friends
  4. Be rude to anyone
  5. Trust the media to quote you correctly
  6. Approach anyone a second time after hearing “no”

What is a good example of movie marketing and why did it succeed?

I met Jimi Petulla, the writer/producer/director of the independent film Reversal. The movie is about the sport of high school wrestling, and Jimi, smart guy that he is, loaded the roles with Olympic and well-known wrestlers. Better yet, he approached many wrestling organizations and respected athletes in the sport to gather reviews and help spread the word on the project. If you know anything about wrestling, you know about the fanaticism of the athletes, parents and fans, and Jimi used this fanaticism to his advantage, targeting this niche via the web and organizational contacts with a very clear promotion about the film and its wrestling storyline. His plan worked — as he’s sold 10,000+ copies on DVD without any formal distribution. With that kind of sales history, distributors are calling him.

Originally published in Film Threat magazine.


Reversal wins Outstanding Achievement in Filmmaking at Tribecca Film Festival

On the east coast, Reversal captured the award for Outstanding Achievement in Filmmaking at the IndieVision Film Festival, held at Robert DiNiro's place in Tribeca, New York. Not surprisingly, it was the only sold-out movie at the event!

Malibu Film Festival Winner!

Writer/Producer Jimi Petulla, Tony Danza, Danny Mousetis (lead in film) and Martin Landau.

Going up against heavy hitters like Tony Danza and David Katz, Reversal captured the People's Choice Award for Best Feature Film at the Malibu Film Festival. Who says a movie about wrestling doesn't appeal to people . . .

The festival took place in world-famous Malibu, California. More than 75 filmmakers entered. Other films starred celebrities such as Jerry Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, Karen Black, Andy Dick and Ron Howard. Reversal offered heartfelt performances and a touching story!

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