Marketing Documentaries to Academia: The Perfect Recipe


One of the obvious reasons why Word Wizards, Inc. loves Docs in Progress (DIP) is that they coach for projects with tons of interview footage.  We at “The Wiz” thrive on transcribing dozens of hours of talking head interviews per week. Transcription is very important to any documentary film maker, whether they use Word Wizards, some other company or (in most cases for people on a tight budget,) do it themselves.  Therefore Word Wizards is proud to sponsor DIP and we attend many of their meetings. Last weeks meeting on marketing to academia was a special treat.

Judith Dancoff

The guest speaker was film marketing Coach Judith Dancoff of New Film Marketing  She spoke about distribution of educational Docs using a strategy called “Distribute It Yourself” (or DIY).  Her strategy is applied specifically to marketing educational documentaries, but can be used to market and sell any Doc.  DIY takes a little bit of extra work but you get to keep all the money as a payoff.  Dancoff wants you to think of the documentary producer as a business person marketing and selling a valuable product to people who need it.

She says to plan two marketing campaigns a year, one early in the fall semester and another in early winter but never Xmas or Spring breaks. The easiest way to break down her strategy is into an easy to follow 3 step recipe:

Step 1: Buy lists of potential academic buyers such as librarians and school content providers from private list providers like R.J. Dill. or to reach out to the American Library Association: Contact Personal and Organizational Members using 

Step 2: Put together a simple website to market to these people via email blast followed up by personal phone calls.  Academics hate flash so keep your site simple. You can build a very simple Doc site yourself for free using  Or, Word Wizards can design the shell and you fill in the text. For those that want customization, Word Wizards can design a template using a content management system such as WordPress. Your budget will drive the bells and whistles of your website. Check out our portfolio page at

Step 3: State right at the beginning, both in the subject line of your email blasts; and at the top of your web site what is different, educational and compelling about your film.  Why is your film especially relevant to the academic types that you are trying to sell to?   Review issues of Public Use Doctrine at  Set your price by seeing what other people charge,


 Tom Dziedzic

The fascinating thing about Docs in Progress is that professional film makers like Tom Dziedzic use DIP for coaching (see his award winning Redemption Stone at ) as well as want-to-be Doc makers from every walk of life.  With the upcoming tenth anniversary of DIP coming up next year expect to see a lot more about them in our upcoming blog articles.

10 Commandments of Social Media Interaction

social images

I recently ran across an insightful little article on Mashable about the 10 Commandments of Social Media for Brands,, and with the two major holidays, I thought it seemed topical. This info also applies to people and their social media interactions, not just companies or brands.  Word Wizards, Inc follows these ideas and encourages others in the video, production, transcribing and post-production business to do the same.

1. Thou Shalt Not Lie

While this may seem basic, it’s even more important to remember when doing anything on a social media site online. While it’s easy to delete something, its even harder to completely erase it from the web entirely. Not only can it cause your personal and professional reputation to suffer but it can also lead to some nasty legal consequences

2.Thou Shalt Respect the Hashtag

While the Hashtag can serve as a very useful way to bring attention to your tweets, be weary of overusing or not having it in the appropriate context. This means just throwing one onto an unrelated post which could backfire and end up driving possible fans away due to them feeling alienated or cheated.

3. Thou Shalt Keep It Strictly Business

Even though it might seem easy to just let personal and professional social media messages mix together, this is one area where everyone should be extremely vigilant. Most people will follow your professional posts or brand because their interested in what you do but if you veer from that, it’ll show you in a not so positive light.

4. Thou Shalt Do Good

Your online postings should be less promotional and more beneficial to your audience. While it’s very tempting to use social media venues for simple self-promotion, you should be offering insights, opinions, way to save time or money, and posts that people get something meaningful out of.

5.Thou Shalt Not Hog The Conversation

Getting your message out is important but proactively engaging your audience should be a key priority. Since Social Media is in many ways a big online conversation, don’t be that one person who just can’t stop talking and makes it impossible for anyone else to get a word in.

6. Thou Shalt Be Brief

More is less!!! This is not the place for anything exceedingly long, drawn out or just rambling since people will make snap judgments and only look at your message for a few seconds before they decide to keep reading. Keep it short with concise language, links, references and visual references to convey all important information at a simple glance.

7.Thou Shalt Think Before They Post

Aim to have each of your postings be unique and steer clear of too much repetitiveness. Another thing to consider before you hit the post button is what does this post contribute that makes it stand out and different from others?

8. Thou Shalt Be True to Thyself

Since the social media community is often considered to be one big group conversation, you should strive to be both a respected and respectful member of it. Be consistent with your message but at the same time be mindful of the needs of your customers, audiences and anything that might damage your image.

9. Thou Shalt Not Be Indifferent To The Voice of Thy Customer

While few actually enjoy constructive criticism, it still can be an incredibly valuable resource and one that should not be ignored. You should be using it as an opportunity to examine and improve your output, engage with your followers and maintain an approachable image that people feel they can talk to.

10. Thou Shalt Be Patient and Considerate

Neither brands or people can just take off overnight since both of these need to build a loyal and supportive audience to help. You can manage this by creating useful content that addresses needs and concerns. It’s through building this critical two way relationship that will allow you to grow.






How Not To Promote Your Work in the Digital and Social Media Realm



In making any kind of media, there are two main stages. The first is actually making the thing which involves pre-producton, shooting it and then having it transcribed and put into post production. That’s where Word Wizards comes in, we’re happy to work with you on the transcription and conversion side. We want to make sure your work is the best it can be but the part that comes after is one that people just don’t think about as much as they should. That would be marketing and getting your work out there. This process has changed drastically thanks to facebook, youtube, twitter and the fast moving realm of social media. In the old days, you could just send it a few websites, put up a posting or two, send it to a few boards and you would not have to work on maintaining as much of an online persona. Boy howdy, has that gone the way of the dinosaurs, today you need to be constantly staying in touch with your audience and always reaching out or else just get left behind. Follow these steps to ensure that your audience stays small and your work unknown.


1. Not utilizing your social links: If you have twitter or facebook accounts, etc.. Do Not Let Them Lie Dormant. If you do this, not only is there no point in having, it also makes you like you just don’t care about communicating with your audience and are just too lazy to give a darn. You should be constantly putting new things on these sites at all times.

2. Never updating your site or blog: One of my biggest pet peeves is going to companies site and seeing that they haven’t updated it in several months or even, gasp, a year. Automatically this makes me think the company just is not paying attention or is very slow. Even if  you don’t have any big projects going on, put something up there almost daily even if it’s something as trivial as some new photo’s related to your work or blogging about news related to your industry.

3. Unwilling to take feedback: Don’t put you video’s or any of your work online if your not willing to take feedback or comments from visitors, even if its criticism. The entire point of a good website and social media in general is that you can actually get instantaneous communication and can interact with people in a way that no other mediums allow. So pay attention to that comment section since people are often giving constructive advice that may just improve the project your working on. In fact you should be asking for feedback when you publish anything online so you can get a good idea of what the industry thinks.

4. Having a negative attitude: While this one may sound silly, it’s quite vital to your site becoming popular and a place people want to visit. While  it’s fine to discuss serious issues people face, don’t dwell or focus on these issues. Yes, people may not agree with what you put on you’re site and can be vocal about it but do not let that drag you down. Not only is engaging them a waste of your time it, also makes you look bad, unprofessional and not some place people would want to visit. Try to maintain a more up beat tone or voice to your site and not get drawn into trivial arguments with trollish followers.

5. Not caring about relationships: Do not abuse or ignore your followers, if you want to get comments and feedback from those who visit your site. You need to respond to the messages or comments you get and try to do it fairly promptly. One of the highlights about social media in general is the fact you get to build these great relationships and can really give your company that human touch. If you can get a regular repertoire going with online visitors, that means repeat traffic to your site and more business as well!!! Do not just let those comments or questions pile you up, it makes people feel like they being ignored and will not want to come back to your site.





Word Wizards Now On GSA


After 2 years of applications, tests, reviews, and countless hours, Word Wizards Inc. is proud to announce our acceptance to the highly revered GSA (U.S. General Services Administration) schedule network. Getting approved for the GSA is no small task, and we are extremely grateful to the kind people at GSA that assisted us during the process. Now that we have been awarded GSA status, we are poised and ready to reach out to potential new clients and continue to grow our business. Visit our GSA page for details about our schedule, SIN #s, and anything else related to GSA projects.