Just because I've dealt with web design all my adult life, all of these things seem common sense to me, but I've recently realized that this is not the case for everybody else. I was chatting with a screenwriter / director in the kitchen area of the MBS where I work and he told me about a short he's working on. He said that it's a long shot, but since I design websites, maybe I can design a movie poster for him. Umm, no, not quite the same thing, and even though I wouldn't mind giving that a shot, I admitted I have no prior experience in that. "Have you tried 99 designs?" - I asked him. He gave me a head shake, and it hit me... why would he know about it?

So, here's another post for all yee filmmakers, producers, directors and anybody else who's trying to get their films out there.

I always say 99 designs first, before I mention any other services, because I believe they were the first ones to enter that market. The concept behind it is quite simple. You provide text and a blank image for your poster, could be somebody's face, could be an outline of something, a house, you name it. If you want specific colors or type faces, you provide this information as well. Then you wait. Within few hours / days designers from all over the world come around and start designing the poster for you. You come back around to rate their work and eliminate the ones you're not happy with. If you're not happy with all of the designs, you can still back out, but if you are sure you're going to pick one, then you pay the price and pick a few designers onto the next round. Talk to your designers, make sure they understand what you want. When ready, pick a winning design and voila - you got yourself a poster.

Some hints for the first time users - if it's your first time buying, designers might be a bit skeptical and may not be willing to do your project unless you guarantee the payment. If you guarantee the payment ahead of time, there is no backing out and you will have to pay somebody for their work. If you do not guarantee the payment, there are high odds that a lot of designers will ignore your request assuming that you're trying to take advantage of them. 99 designs will not tell you that. Their policy is to avoid any conflicts and refunds, so they prefer that you guarantee payment when you're sure you're happy, but you might be at a loss if nobody takes part in your contest because you're brand new to the site.

Finally. Communicate with your designers and be as specific as you can be. If you like one designer over the other, you can let them know that you like something else more because of A or B. They might change their design and make it look even better than your original favorite. So be clear. Avoid phrases such as "make it pop", "make it prettier", "give it a wow effect" - saying obscure things like that will only cause a designer to withdraw their entry.

Without further ado, here are some links to 99 designs and other websites that offer similar services. Enjoy.

film festivals99 Designs
Website | Poster Design
Minimum price: $199
Number of designers: 273,000

film festivalsDesign Contest
Website | Poster Design
Minimum price: $195
Number of designers: 165,000

film festivalsDesign Crowd
Website | Poster Design
Minimum price: $150
Number of designers: 104,000

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