Many films measure their success by box office numbers, while social issue documentary films must measure impact by their ability to create social change. With the box offices focusing on dollars and cents, how do you grasp the seemingly immeasurable impact of social change?
By tallying the number of web hits, screenings, attendance, social engagement and DVD sales, a picture of the film's impact begins to emerge. Hitting big numbers can seem like big impact, but it really doesn't matter unless you are building audience investment into the cause. Your viewers are a treasure trove of change that are capable of things beyond even your own hopes for your film. You just have to create the strategy to light the spark.
Con·nect: to join, link, or fasten together; unite or bind
In order to connect to the audience, a film must have a strong story experience and meld it with the immediate need to do something. Sin by Silence utilizes the personal stories of the women of Convicted Women Against Abuse as a universal connection to the notion that these women represent every woman. They could be your grandmother, your mother...or even you! To achieve such an emotional response, we had to reach beyond festival screenings and develop more advocacy oriented screenings through a grassroots tour that would connect the film directly with local communities. This is the first step to connecting with the viewer on a more intimate level that then empowers them with the need to do more.
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En·gage: to occupy the attention or efforts; entangle or involve
Engagement begins when the lights come back up at a screening event. A small and simple opportunity must be given to the viewer to take the first step towards involvement in the cause. To begin this phase, we start with the simple availability of postcards to take home and write to the women of CWAA. This step wasn't scary or disheartening. It was something everyone could do. Write a letter of support. Of Love. Of encouragement. Once an audience member receives a letter back from the women in CWAA, many will feel compelled to do more to help a real person that represents thousands of others.
To continue engagement after a screening, we encourage audience members to stay connected and share their own stories on the film's website, Facebook, Twitter and Network. Using social media, to develop a portal of vital information, requires utilizing the right tools for specific demographics that will transform our audience members from simple viewers into advocates.
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In·flu·ence: to exercise influence on; affect, sway, to move or impel (a person) to some action
The QLP team has a life-changing task ahead of us as we enter into our last phase of inciting further action. The crisis of domestic violence is unfortunately not going to go away. While the unbearable heartbreak happens behind closed doors, there is an opportunity to still shine a light. We are excited to continue changing hearts and minds so that the statistics of domestic violence will begin to decrease and communities will realize that the keys to that success lies in their own hands. Sin by Silence has come a long way, but there is so much more to do. When we act, lives will change, women’s roles will transform, and the next generation will be different.
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