Arts & Entertainment

Promoting Your Film

Martin Scorsese

Lesson time 06:30 min

Martin recommends promotional strategies and teaches you how to identify and target your film's potential audience.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Let the Audience Know the Picture Is Out There • Find Your Audience • A Strong Poster Can Help Sell Your Film • Be Open to Marketing Ideas


Ultimately, A film, when it's completed, there was a period of time where I remember the first films opening up, doing some interviews, press interviews. Very little television. Well, the point is this. That if you're in narrative cinema, and you're making films, you're an American filmmaker, whether you make them in New York, or Chicago, in Austin, Texas and everything. Kind around the world, they feel they're Hollywood films, even if they're of a different style. But particularly back in the early '70s, all the way through the '70s, they were coming out of Hollywood, in a way. Even though some of them were shot in New York and edited here, they really were. So once they were picked up for distribution, the distribution companies were the Hollywood companies. At least the films that I made. You know? And so these had to go through the Hollywood studio system, in terms of letting the audience know the film is out there. You write a book, you've got to let people know it's there. You know? You do a film, you've got to let them know it's there. Whether you do it, and it's Michael Snow's Wavelength, or whether it's Godfather I, you know, Godfather II. I mean, there's an audience. A certain kind of audience, too. I don't say each film, every film is for the widest range you can. Once you do that, you're creating an effect in the film that is watering down the picture. So if you find that you made a film that you feel strongly about, you feel you get as truthful as possible in it, there might be an audience out there for it. Now, you've got to go out and present it to an audience. How is that done? In many different ways. Usually it's the actors. People want to see certain actors in there. In the case of certain individual films made in the '60s and early '70s, there was critical reaction. There were certain critics around that were very, very powerful at the time. You had to let the audience know that the picture is out there, so you find that particularly at that time, you could have input in the trailers, coming attractions. You certainly could have input in the posters, in the publicity campaign. You've got to be part of all of it. I remember when Bonnie and Clyde was made, Warren Beatty produced it. And it was killed by The New York Times. The review. And what Beatty did was, as a producer of the film, he took a print of the picture by hand, in a hand, in these cans, and went from town to town. And went on every television show and promoted the film. As a side point, The New York Times reviewed the film positively. But that was also a watershed moment, because American cinema was changing so much, and Bonnie and Clyde was at the forefront of that. Arthur Penn and Beatty. But this was the way. You believe in the film, you go out, and you talk about it as best you can. There were different k...

About the Instructor

Martin Scorsese drew his first storyboard when he was eight. Today he’s a legendary director whose films from Mean Streets to The Wolf of Wall Street have shaped movie history. In his first-ever online film class, the Oscar winner teaches his approach, from storytelling to editing to working with actors. He deconstructs films and breaks down his craft, changing how you make and watch movies.

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Martin Scorsese

In 30 lessons, learn the art of film from the director of Goodfellas, The Departed, and Taxi Driver.

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