Tip of the Day: Pass out the pads

By Greg Pak
After hitting seven festivals in three weeks, I’ve finally found a good method of building an email list of interested audience members. I used to mention at screenings of my film “Robot Stories” that I send out a newsletter about the film and would be happy to take people’s email addresses. Then, after the screening, I’d try to pass around a pad and pen to folks milling around. This was semi-successful — we built a pretty formidable list of names this way. But not everyone who’s interested in getting on a mailing list is willing to fight their way to the front of the theater after a screening to sign up.
So finally, at the Wisconsin Film Festival last weekend, I tried out a new method. During the Q&A, I didn’t just mention we have a newsletter — I physically passed a couple of small pads with pens down the aisles. About a quarter of the audience signed up, which is a pretty great ratio. My conclusion: Folks sitting in their chairs are more likely to sign up for a newsletter than folks on their way out the door, heading to the bathroom or dinner or bed.