Defining Your Audience
"Audience" is defined in broad terms, which may include television broadcasts and festival screenings. It also extends beyond this into the community and outreach to the educational sector. Government funding agencies look for recoupment strategies, while philanthropists look for return on social capital rather return on investment.
In the philanthropic sector the audience is the community or subject with whom and for whom you are working. An audience may be as small as a few hundred people yet can have an impact that is larger than a broadcast transmission to thousands of viewers. A small audience is empowered to reach out to other communities who will relate to what they see and share the experiences you are exploring and presenting.
If your subject tells a universal story, it will reach a broader audience and can be pitched in those terms.
Foundations are looking for long-term social impact and educational outcomes. Your audience should be defined using a long tail approach to the project by defining how it could be distributed throughout communities and the educational sector over time. This emphasises outreach over ratings or profits and a long life rather than the big hit. Foundations are interested in documentaries that serve as ongoing catalysts for community action, public education and advocacy campaigns.
Define your audience and build a community of interest. Target that community and determine how you will reach them.
Ask yourself: Who is this for? How will I reach this audience?
A television broadcast is an added advantage, but it is not the only interest for a foundation. Distinguish between mass audience and target audience and aim for the target audience.
Pitch your project to a foundation using this sense of your target audience, with the intention of making a sustainable difference over time, across local, national and possibly international audiences.
NEXT: Planning Outreach