Artist interview: Jen Finelli and Samantha Mauney
Jen Finelli and Samantha Mauney are filmmakers. Their film I’m Having an Affair With My Wife! is in pre-production but it’s already making waves. This story isn’t you’re typical Rom Com…
We're passionate because we have a mission for ourselves. I’m a heavy-set girl of mixed heritage. My producer, Sam, is a nerdy Black woman with a PhD. We’re both married. To put it bluntly, we don’t see leads like ourselves in romance. We see skinny blonde singles held up as the sole ideal of beauty, and we think it’s time to stop telling young girls that is the only desirable female self. I wrote this film because I want to see a plus-size Black girl make it in love. And, as an Asian-American, I want Asians playing nonstereotyped leads. Where are the good films about falling in love with your spouse, anyway? We’re here because no one else is.
Now that sounds interesting! Can you tell us more about the film?
Lashonda‘s a driven, successful businesswoman with a passion for Korean food (and Korean men). Sung-min‘s a laid-back artist who loves good music as much as he loves to kick back with a comic book.
When their marriage goes sour, they both seek out affairs online--and accidentally end up secretly dating each other.
Pina Colada song in real life, this quirky new film explores the things we’re really married to–like our work, our hobbies, our habits, and our preferences–and the ways it can be fun and fulfilling to cheat on them. (What does that even mean, right?) It’s a celebration of marriage that doesn’t hide from the problems with happily ever after, and it’s slated to film summer of 2018!
I’ve heard a rumour that you’re crowdfunding now on Seed and Spark, is that right?
Folks who pledge $30 or more get free tickets to a sweet indiefilm launch party. You can't get that later!
As well as the crowdfunding page, visit mysweetaffair.com for updates, marriage “cheats,” and an ongoing conversation about diversity and representation in movies.
So yeah, good stuff. Representing diversity and ladies in film, woo!
What is it about these women that makes them (and their films) unique?
We're unique because, as we described above, we're making funnies with a mission that you just don't see in a lot of Hollywood today.
We're also unique because we're a linguist and, in four months, a doctor. We've had a ton of odd life experiences that pour into what we do--experiences a lot of other people haven't had. Like hanging out with prostitutes, Senators, and a former gang leader, or working on film sets with Denzel Washington and Michael Bay. Combined, we have more weird stories about exploring tropical islands and hanging out with dead languages and dead people than any other indie filmmakers out there.
We're adventurers, and we're looking forward to having our next adventure with YOU.
Do you promote your work on social media? What platforms are you on?
- Twitter: @samanthamauney
Film socials Site: mysweetaffair.com
- Twitter: @affair_movie
- Facebook: HavingAnAffairWithMyWife
On which platform do you have the largest audience?
Twitter! We went from 0 to almost 2000 in five months. We've really focused on reciprocity, and we give all of our followers a chance to get our awesome indie filmmakers' resource guide!
How have you grown your social media audience?
We make sure to follow the rules we learned from a lot of Buffer and Twitter analytics math research, rules like:
- Always two hashtags. Never more, never less.
- Always @ mention someone if you can.
- Use analytics.twitter.com to check all your performances.
- Use dlvr.it and other feeds to trawl the web for news.
- Have someone on your team use Roundteam so they can RT your tweets (some of our followers have discovered our film account through my slightly larger social media account)
- And, our newest one, use Wordpress plug-ins like Microblogposter and Re-post Old Post to keep your evergreen content circling on Twitter.
- Actually, we have a whole podcast here about marketing resources--it's an hour long breakdown of the things we've discovered that rock! Tons and tons of things to give away to creators. http://mysweetaffair.com/indie-film-marketing/
If there was one thing Follow Magazine readers should know about social media marketing what would it be?
You can only get good at one social media at a time. We chose Twitter because it works for film, but your Google rank improves if you use MORE socials: every time a social points to your site, your rank improves. So we use Blog2Social to post to all the socials at once, even the ones we're not super-good at, and, in fact, it's one of the only ways you can post to your Instagram from your computer.
Use Blog2Social if you've got a wordpress site! More info about it here: http://becominghero.ninja/how-to-post-your-comics-to-all-the-socials-at-the-same-time/
Do you pay for advertising either online or in other media?
Not really. We've dropped a few cents on Facebook ads.
But we're really excited about starting to use Project Wonderful! You can actually see Project Wonderful running on my comics site http://becominghero.ninja if you disable ads, and you can click under the ad to run your own ad there. We like the structure Project Wonderful offers for creators, where you bid on spots and pay based on days your ad is shown. Pretty cool.
Where do you make the most sales?
We've had some money love dropped on the donations page of our website at mysweetaffair.com.
Do you have any techniques to convert followers into customers?
Yup! Our landing page and our welcome Tweet have been called "marketing genius" by strangers we didn't know. Check this out: https://twitter.com/affair_movie/status/834291843101769728 That's a welcome, tweet, right? It's sent by StatusBrew. People hate DMs, so we don't do that. But this is a friendly, authentic welcome Tweet, and people like it. Click the link in the welcome Tweet, and you end up on our awesome page where we give away cool stuff to people! We're always thinking up new things to give away there. It's what's called Inbound Marketing, and it's basically the idea that if you give away real value for free (not "free*") then people will come back to buy your actual stuff. I've got a little post about Inbound Marketing software here actually: http://petrepan.blogspot.com/2013/06/inbound-marketing-which-software.html But the point is, convert followers to customers by always giving them cool things!
Do you have a marketing philosophy?
If you're generous, you'll be rewarded.
We exist to give. We give to our viewers, we give to our followers, and when our film's done, it will give to the film community as a whole.
You’ve already mentioned some of the tools and apps you use. Do you have any tips on which tools are best?
Definitely, check out the tools I've already mentioned and the marketing podcast above! We talk about the difference between Hootsuite and Butter there a lot.
What are your top 3 tips to help other creative people learning to market their work?
First, your work has to not suck. A lot of times we think we're ready to show our stuff to the world when we're really not. I was sub'bing my scifi out like I was some bigshot professional when I was what, fifteen, writing 500,000 word novels that sucked? Find a critique group, and become active in your craft, and then through those same groups you'll find friends and then followers. Sam, our producer, rocks because she gets on every single set she can, in any capacity necessary: she doesn't care if she's an extra or the producer. And because she doesn't have a big ego thing holding her back, she gets a lot of awesome experience and learning she wouldn't otherwise have.
So be willing to put in the work. Be willing to stay up later, and delete your drafts, and start over again and again.
Second tip? Be giving, when you do get fans. Don't hold back. I got a great opportunity to do this podcast about crowdfunding (http://www.comixlaunch.com/session080/) because at the moment when Tyler asked me why I chose Indiegogo, I didn't let myself see him as a competitor and stay greedy. Unbeknownst to him, I did all this intense mathematical research about Indiegogo so I could publish it on my site and get a bunch of views, but when he asked about it, I decided to share it with him. We ended up teaming up, and I got more attention than I otherwise would have. Don't let yourself be greedy. Share! I learned that from either Michael Hyatt or one of the other business blogs I follow.
Third tip: be consistent. I'm watching Rhett and Link's 1000 videos Youtube celebration, and it's got the same magic that Penny Arcade comics, or Black Nerd Girl's huge Twitter account, or any of these other big internet celebrities have. That's the magic of showing up on time. This is something I need to work on, but Sam is really good at it. Every Monday she's got something for you guys on our site, whether that's a podcast, or a blog post from one of us. Consistency keeps people coming back. It doesn't develop an audience as quickly as some fancy marketing technique, but it's what develops an audience that stays.
Now that’s some great marketing advice! If you want more from Jen and Samantha check out their site, and follow them on the socials. And definitely, definitely, definitely take a look at their Seed and Spark campaign. Rewards start from $1 and even if you just click follow they get film equipment and it helps with a distribution deal.
You want more marketing info?! If you’re in pre-production on an indie film like Jen and Samantha or you’re getting ready to launch any other sort of creative work on the world, take a look at this free e-book from Follow Magazine.