How to make potential fans drool over your indie flick before it's even made

Indie filmmakers often have to raise money for a movie while they're making it. So they make teasers that attract fans - and potential funders. What's the right way to do it? Learn from movie-in-progress Lightning In The Bottle.

There are a lot of ways to get people excited about your movie before it's made. You can do what the team behind indie-in-progress Iron Sky have done, which is to release beautiful special effects teasers and production stills. This is a great strategy for Iron Sky, whose concept is simple: Nazis in space.

But what if you have a complicated idea for a movie, and don't have a bunch of special effects to get people excited yet? Then go the route that "Lightning In The Bottle" has gone, and put your story front and center. This movie came to my attention because one of the filmmakers wrote me an email and pointed me to their website, where I found this riveting description of the plot:

A Teslapunk inspired short film about the "quality of life" for a strike hand after he receives a raise. Lightning In the Bottle captures the fantastical conjunction of science and nature that catapults a lowly strike hand to upper management above the clouds. The fantastic world in LITB is entirely powered by lightning. The strike hands, those responsible for capturing the lightning, work in some of the most difficult of circumstances. The short is both a science fiction parable and a corporate film showcasing the life of Frances Young and his rise to the upper heights of corporate management.

Immediately, my imagination went wild. I loved thinking about a world run by lightning, peopled by lowly "strike hands" and "upper management above the clouds." I could also immediately see where the story would tweak the standard rags-to-riches plot with steampunkery.

The production team capitalized on how rich their ideas were by creating a teaser trailer that gives you a taste of the world in the story without many visuals.

But don't let the simplicity of this teaser fool you - the team behind Lightning In The Bottle have already created a lot of concept art for the movie, and used some of it in the teaser. Here's the concept art for the lightning bottle.

How to make potential fans drool over your indie flick before it's even made

And here's the lightning truck, which is being created by VFX artist Eric Mousel:

How to make potential fans drool over your indie flick before it's even made

The team also started out with visual inspirations for the objects in their world, like this image of a truck.

How to make potential fans drool over your indie flick before it's even made

As the film's writer Drew Hall told me via email:

The plan is to finish [the movie] by the end of the year. As a writer, it's always been my belief that if you create a really great world - it will be inhabited with stories.

In this case, Hall and the LITB team knew that putting stories first would be the best way to attract an audience. And it worked - at least for this critic.

Learn more at the official Lightning In The Bottle website.