AMA with Christina Raia

(Anna Bateman) #21

Can you give me an example of what that looks like? I always try to be salesman-y about it… “this project is going to cover [themes etc etc] and is about [plot plot representation plot]!” But I guess I just don’t know how to START those conversations so it’s not like… “hey I’m Anna, money pleeeeeease!”

(Christina Raia) #22

Thanks, Anya! I recommend watching this episode of the Seed&Spark class: A big part of finding your audience is breaking down your film into topics, missions, themes, levels of representation… and finding people online who care about those things and already talking about them. Then you jump into those conversations and build authentic relationships.

With locations, I honestly do a lot of asking. I rarely ever pay for locations. It takes going through a lot of no’s but asking around to other filmmakers and friends who have access to locations (like if they work in an office or a gym or a restaurant) will make the process go faster. I find people get excited about moviemaking, and if you speak to them with your passion for the story, you’ll find they want to help you out and be part of creating something special.

(Jane) #23

Hi Christina! Why did you start Congested Cat? What benefits does having a production company give you?

(Bri Castellini) #24

Any tips on the types of locations you might be met with more resistance from? Chain restaurants, etc.

(Christina Raia) #25

I have a BA in Film Studies & Production from CUNY. I did not go on beyond that. I didn’t feel it was worth it. What film studies gave me was an analytical eye for the artist side of film, but I learned way more about actual filmmaking and the industry by volunteering for sets more advanced than my own. School did help me find many of my current collaborators, so that’s something I value it for, for sure.

(Sunny Larkson) #26

oh y gosh I love Kelsey!!! I think I found it because of that indie wire article! Hi! My question is… Do your productions always pay your cast/crew, or do you sometimes have to do volunteer-only? How do you approach people about that/ convince people to help anyways and still maintain quality overall?

(sam lockie-waring) #27

have you worked on a lot of sets you didn’t also create? what do you tend to do on other people’s sets, if so?

(Christina Raia) #28

I try to make my updates about them on an individual level. You want your cast & crew to understand that audience building (and thus raising funds) benefits everyone, but it can be hard to count on every single member to get it. So what I do is create meet the cast videos, and share updates about the crew. This gives them something very personalized to share that will most appeal to their specific networks, and markets the campaign without being too salesy.

(Jaime Lancaster) #29

Do you depend on cast/crew do send out emails though? Or is that mostly you, and you just hope cast/crew will post on social media about it?

(Christina Raia) #30

I use social media as a way to maintain brand regularity. Showing the work that’s ongoing behind the scenes – always trying to make it exciting and visual, even if it’s a lot of sitting at a computer. I use the different platforms for what they’re best for – videos and BTS photos on instagram, articles and reviews on twitter, for instance. But my newsletter is a big factor in producing actual results. If I have a call to action - a campaign or a film release - the newsletter is where I’m trying to get click throughs, and where I find the most success because I can be personalized.

(Christina Raia) #31

Your WHY is why the film matters. What makes it special? Why does the story need to be told? I never have names in my content and almost always get free stuff. And I don’t do docs or overtly social issue driven stuff. But inclusion and representation are big parts of my work. Sometimes my WHY is just, life is hard right now and I want to make people laugh. And that’s a selling point – that will resonate with people if you share that with them. It’s all about passion and purpose, and touching people with your story.

(Bri Castellini) #32

Do you send out your newsletter regularly, even when you aren’t working on a project, or is “not working on a project currently” a state you don’t find yourself in? :slight_smile:

(Meg Carroway) #33

Yeah what kinds of info do you put in a newsletter? What are the important things you try to hit on?

(Christina Raia) #34

The previous episode goes over how to identify and reach your audience: I requires a lot of planting of seeds. Finding people who are already talking about the things explored in your content will help you create a ripple effect out to more of those people who will care about what you’re making. Something I like to do is go to film festivals and talk to the audience to find people who aren’t other filmmakers but genuinely interested in indie content. Those are the types who pay for content and pay attention to the indie world.

(Meg Carroway) #35

Do a lot of non filmmakers tend to attend festivals? I’ve never been to one but kinda figured it would mostly just be other people who were official selections/winners

(Christina Raia) #36

I started CongestedCat because I was working on a short and a feature at the same time back in 2011 and I wanted to have a way to promote all my work in a unified way under a single handle (with separate hashtags). It has helped in creating a central umbrella for all that I do, while also finding collaborators who know the brand and want to be marketed under it. It also helps to have a business entity for tax purposes - to separate my personal finances.

(Anya Steiner) #37

Ooh also just thought of another one: how do you estimate your budget, for crowdfunding, and just in general? Have you found that you’ve over or under budgeted for certain areas in the past?

(Jaime Lancaster) #38

Do you just produce your own films at your company, or does your company produce films/projects/commercials/whatever for other people/companies as well?

(Christina Raia) #39

Hi Ollie, I recommend checking out this class: And this blog post: That post in particular has some fun personalized ideas. What people most appreciate are exclusive access that show the making of the project. The more EPK content you can share with your audience, the better.

(Ollie R) #40

What should be included in an EPK, and how do you actually get all that content when all hands on your project are already doing like four other things? Do you have a dedicated photographer/videographer, or what?