Our country is apparently suffering a serious shortage of modern media men. There couldn't have been more than 75 people attending this first national gathering of men-folk bloggers, almost all of whom, like me, were flown down to be speakers. While seriously depressing for the M3 organizers, not to mention the dozen or so sponsors sitting all alone at their booths, it was a bonanza for Yours Truly. Just a fantastic opportunity to network and bond with some top dad bloggers and organizations, swap stories and tap into what will inevitably become a growing social force (even if it currently lags far behind the "mommy blogger" movement).
And, I might add, to personally get dozens of dvd screeners of The Kids into some very eager hands.
I tried not to harp so much on how they might help me, though obviously I'd like them to get word out to their readers or membership, at the very least. I prefered to emphasize the ways The Kids Grow Up might be of use to them, as well.
For national organizations like The Fatherhood Initiative, for instance, the fit for their mission is obvious. They're looking to foster more positive images of caring and involved fathers in the media. Check.
For the bloggers, it's any number of things: giving them some new and interesting content to share with their readers, making them feel like they're a vital part of our DIY online marketing effort (which they absolutely are), and giving them first dibs at a film that speaks to their own experiences as dads. Triple check.
Like I've said before, when you're trying to get a movie out into the commercial marketplace on a very limited budget (which includes virtually no money for print ads), you need to enlist some passionate advocates with the widest platform to chat it up. On my desk now are 30 business cards from those I gave screeners to and who seemed genuinely excited about seeing The Kids Grow Up and helping out in whatever way they can.
Promotion aside, I wish I could say I came away from the M3 Summit with profound new insights about social networking, brand building or the changing role of fathers, though all of that was discussed at length.
I did come away knowing there are some truly dedicated dads out there who are equally determined to share their experiences of fatherhood publicly. As well as feeling like I made some genuine connections and friendships that will carry well beyond my efforts to get this one film out into the world.
Mission more than accomplished.