Monday, April 27, 2009

Electronic Press Kits (EPK)

Not many people outside the industry know what an EPK is. I will say, our EPK is looking good for that project and I will often get blank stares in return. Sometimes, newbies to the industry will have that blank stare as well. Exposure to the promotional side of filmmaking will have you learning a great deal about the importance of an EPK.

First off, EPK means Electronic Press Kit. Simply, an EPK is an electronic version of the press kit for the film. It is primarily used by journalists as they gather information for any articles or interviews they create related to your film, but portions of EPKs are even used as Special Features on DVDs. Have you ever seen interviews with actors on the DVD of a film? Those interviews are often part of the Electronic Press Kit.

EPKs are created throughout the filmmaking process. My first exposure to EPKs was on the first film on which I interned in NY. The production coordinator wanted me to make sure to let the ADs (assistant directors) know that the EPK crew would be on set the following day. The ADs coordinate all on-set activity so they needed to be aware of the crew's arrival and know they would need to work with the EPK crew on a schedule for interviews, etc. I gave the coordinator the blank stare and he took the time to explain the EPK and its function.

Once I heard EPK spelled out, I had an immediate understanding but I still wasn't quite sure how EPKs were put together and how important they are to a film's promotion. Thinking about it, I realized that I saw a number of films due to interesting interviews with cast and I've developed a greater affinity for certain projects due to learning more about the whys and the hows of people's involvement on and choices for a project. And right there, from my own experience, I was hooked on the value of an EPK.

Many productions will hire a Unit Publicist who handles the publicity of the production through the shooting of the film. This Unit Publicist will often work with entertainment marketing companies that produce footage for EPKs and DVD extras. That company will send out its own producer and camera crew to conduct the interviews and other special segments that will be used in EPKs and on DVDs as Special Features. 

Even though we are indie filmmakers, we need to create our own EPKs for our projects. Whether or not we can afford our own Unit Publicist or entertainment marketing company, we need to film behind-the-scenes footage and conduct interviews and create Special Features. And much of this footage should be done during production of the film. It's more difficult to try to piece an EPK together after filming is over. So take advantage of the film's production and capture some footage for your EPK as you are making your film. EPKs will absolutely help you get your film out to an even greater audience. 

Speaking of EPK, I just loaded new videos of the cast discussing their roles in our romantic drama Not Since You on our YouTube channel and the film's Facebook and MySpace pages. Check them out and let me know if you are more intrigued by the film after watching them! If so, the EPK is working!


Samantha said...

satisfying information about EPK

Mark and Patty of Crystal Pyramid Productions in San Diego said...

Thank you so much for spelling this out. We have been an EPK crew for the last decade or so without having anyone actually refer to it as that. LOL! *(blank stare is right!) Anyway, I appreciate it. We go as far back with EPK as "The Lord of the Rings" cast at San Diego Comic Con, and cast of "The Punisher" after that. Nice to know wth we have been doing.

Slinky Birmingham said...

An EPK with varied content is crucial for Indie releases. I've seen situations before where publishers and websites want to promote or talk about a film and have little more than a few screenshots to work with... not even a film titles logo.
Slinky Productions

claudegu said...

Hello,I am a film student from china.

By reading your article about epk I think I have got a lot,I just want to ask if it is ok for me to translate this article into Chinese? And repost on my blog,I will give you credit of course. Thank you.


janekk said...

Hi Claudegu,

Yes, that's fine to translate the entry and credit my blog.



Anonymous said...

The EPK is the single most important branding & marketing tool today that affects every single industry. It was invented and given its exact name EPK in 1995 by prolific inventor Andre Gray

Anonymous said...

The electronic press kit is the single most important marketing, branding, promotional and public relations tool available in the world today that affects every single industry in the world and is considered by many to be indispensable for both their professional and private lives. The greatest contribution of the EPK, though, is that it was the precursor and exact template of all social media and, without the invention of the electronic press kit, there would simply be no social networks today like Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. It was invented by prolific inventor Andre Gray on January 8, 1995.