Why A One-Sheet Is Almost As Important As The Movie You Made

A lot of filmmakers think that when they're done their filmic masterpiece the festivals will beg to play it, the distributors will instantly send offers, and peace will fall over the planet. But this is not the case.

I got lucky with my first film, "Hunting Humans". I put together a really crappy one-sheet myself, but because my film was high concept it got picked up. You probably won't be so lucky.

I got even luckier on my second film. I hired a guy named Erik Ashley to design a poster for "Fear of Clowns". He put together a couple of great ones, and I can tell you this with absolute sincerity:
His poster got Lionsgate to pick up my film.

Yes, you read that right.

You have to understand that most distributors are fairly unimaginative. They're businessmen for the most part. They may see a film and they won't "get" it. But when they see a great one-sheet, a one-sheet that does all their work for their them, a one-sheet that makes THEM want to see it...that's when you get them interested.

Sure, you then need to back it up with a trailer that is good and a movie that is at least adequate, but the one-sheet is that all-important first step. Because if, after looking at your one-sheet, THEY want to see it then they don't have to figure out how to market it. You've shown them.

My one-sheet--pretty bad MTI's one-sheet/video cover

Since that first poster, I've had Erik do every other poster for me, and he's phenomenal. He's creative, easy to work with, and willing to negotiate fees with indy filmmakers even though he's worked for some big-name firms(Virgin Music, Golden Palace, CBS Sportsline) for some big-name money.

Which leads me to the question, "You DID take stills while you were shooting your movie, didn't you?" And I mean good stills, not behind the scenes stuff for Facebook or Myspace. I mean, pictures you might see on the back of the dvd box.

I can't stress how important stills are. Not only for your press kit, but they're used to make your one-sheet. If you're not an excellent photographer, hire one. It's important. You need someone who knows how to shoot pictures without using the flash. Interesting compositions of the best stuff from your movie--FX shots, shots lit with artistic flair, whatever would make someone look at the photo and say, "I wanna see that movie."

Don't make the mistake I made, and one that filmmakers are making right now: Just because you have Photoshop doesn't mean you know how to produce a professional poster. You may think you do, but once you've seen a pro's stuff you will quickly understand how little you know.

Stay a filmmaker. Let the professional designers like Erik handle what they do best...sell your work by creating incredible advertising through one-sheets.

You can check Erik out and see more samples at www.erikashley.com and tell him I sent ya!

Erik's one-sheet LGF's one-sheet. Look familiar?

More one-sheets created by Erik for my films

To read about the making of some of my films, check out:

To check me out on imdb go to:

Copyright 2009 Kangas Kahn Films, LLC