I think it’s fun to google press kits online. It’s easy to find some for your favorite movies, TV shows, or product launches. Making your own isn’t really that difficult, but it will take some time.
There are no rules to crafting a good press kit. I’ve seen incredibly complicated press kits, three-dimensional designs, and short and concise press kits. In ancient times, press kits were usually a package (or folder) with papers inside, photographs, and other bulky things used to promote the product.
These days, press kits are usually entirely online or easily shared via email. Some might consist of audio/visual treats and be shared on a flash drive. But, most everyone agrees that there’s no reason to spend money on something when you can achieve the same result for nothing. So, I say, go with a simple PDF. You don’t need to send a DVD or CD anymore. A link to Vimeo works just great.
You’ll want to write a well-formed synopsis. It’s often a good idea to include a medium-length synopsis and an even shorter one. Keep in mind that you should make it sound exciting, as if you were writing a review. Most often, journalists want to simply copy-n-paste what you’ve written so they don’t have to work so hard. And in the process, when the Boston Globe (or whomever) writes that your movie is a “fast-paced gem” you can easily lift that quote from their article, quote the Boston Globe, and use it for promoting your movie. Even though you were the one who wrote it. So remember that.
Write biographies for your key cast and crew. If you aren’t working with anyone notable in show business, write their bios full of excitement and wonder about the world those people live in. If your lead actress was a former beauty queen, or if your DP was an escaped felon, or if your supporting actor was a hot dog eating champion—share that info! Weird stories make for great media coverage.
You might want to consider incorporating a mock interview with yourself and other key players in your project. Sometimes this acts as a showcase for the type of interesting interview you can do. I like to make up a game of 20 Questions and keep them light and simple, and sometimes juicy and controversial.
You’ll want to include some stills from your film. Some should be glossy shots of the actors that might be considered a scene from the film, or a portrait. Other shots should be from behind-the-scenes, showing the camera and lighting set-ups, or certain “filming” moments.
You’ll definitely want to include a link to the trailer, and maybe even some clips from the film. Some people with online or broadcast capabilities could run clips of your movie during their news segment. (For an example, check out the opening 10-15 minutes of “WAMEGO: Making Movies Anywhere” which shows news stories about my movie PEP SQUAD as featured on television.)
Consider including other reviews or other third-party blurbs. The world is incredibly lazy when it comes to independent thought. By sharing that a dozen (hopefully influential) people love your movie, it sends the signal your movie is great. “Why, if so-and-so loved it, it must be good!”
Keep in mind that at the end of the day, of course you want your project to speak for itself. But, sometimes if you don’t tell people in the media what they’re looking at, they won’t know what to think. So even if it sounds a little creepy, or pretentious, you’d better do it. Or you might risk getting lost in the shuffle of all the people who are.