Looks like you are a new visitor to this site. Hello!

Welcome to Hope For Film! Come participate in the discussion, and I encourage you to enter your email address in the sidebar and subscribe. It's free! And easy! If you have any suggestions on how to improve this website or suggestions for topics please don't hesitate to write in to any of the blogs.

You can also follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

(If you keep getting this message, you probably have cookies turned off.)

August 1 at 8:15am

5 Things I Learned About Selling Films from Selling Fashion on eBay

By Tina Poppy

If you asked me how I came to the film world and I told you I essentially started by selling vintage clothing on eBay, you would probably think I answered the wrong question. This myopic line of thinking is exactly why you might think it’s hard to make, sell, and distribute a film. When I started selling on eBay 10 years ago, it was like the Wild Wild West – there were no instruction manuals or established models for success. I was trying to figure out how to sell something that my customers couldn’t touch or feel (or even see that well, as I still had no idea how to operate a camera).

The new world of independent film is looking more and more like this uncharted territory everyday. With existing consumption patterns becoming outdated, crowdfunding emerging as the new normal, and myriad new digital distribution models developing, there’s really no *one* right way to get your film made, sold, or seen.

Here are five things I learned from selling on eBay that might help:


Whatever your limitations – be they time, budget, or resources – consider them guideposts towards focusing on what you have the ability to control. Having too many choices can paralyze the decision-making process. Working with the resources you have available rather than focusing on the “if only” of what you think you need will help funnel your efforts in an efficient way. Work with what you’ve got. Decide, and move forward.

When I first started selling clothing, I made a game of it with myself. I would take $20 to the local thrift store, fill up my cart with cool things, then figure out which few things would allow me to turn my $20 into more than $20. That attitude resulted in buying a dress for $5 that sold at auction for $750. We shouldn’t always be cheapskates, but it’s helpful to consider that great things can be accomplished with very little.

Screen shot 2014-07-22 at 3.43.23 PM

All things are not equal. Some are totally unnecessary.



The crumbling parts of the film industry suffer from a severe case of narrow-mindedness. Clinging to the way the industry has historically worked isn’t as helpful as observing even minor successes in the current landscape. If you can neutrally observe what works and what doesn’t in terms of presenting your film, you might uncover creative solutions and be able to make changes more fluidly.

When selling online, I would maintain some regularity to how and when I would list items for sale, but within that framework I would make small changes to the way I photographed and described items weekly. I tried listing auctions on different times and different days of the week, changed my vocabulary, used more or less enthusiastic punctuation, etc. You can definitely overdo it and never realize what’s really helping, but if you observe and explore, small modifications can make a huge difference.

Screen shot 2014-07-22 at 3.43.29 PM

I wanted a cool background, but the background here distracts from the very rare and incredible piece. The background on the right is easier on the eyes – some would argue that even the blue is too much.


Screen shot 2014-07-22 at 3.43.44 PM

Don’t do anything that requires facemasks alone.

Forget “friend rates” and working for free. If you pay people a decent fee for their work, they’ll be invested in your work. You’ll gain their support both during the project and after, when you’ll need people posting on social media and helping promote your film.

The first freelance photo editor I hired was also one of my best friends. But as a freelancer she went where the money was, so after deciding on a friend rate, I found she’d place my work squarely at the bottom of her to do list. After angrily deciding we couldn’t work together, we took a break, spoke a few months later, decided on a reasonable fee, and we’ve been co-existing as friends and colleagues ever since.


Part of what bothers me about overdependence on CGI is that I’m a real, live person. And while anthropomorphized robots as a concept *sounds* humanistic, the requisite visual perfection of CGI somewhat dismantles our ability to feel for Optimus Prime in the same way we might for R2D2. Feeling for, relating to, and caring about characters engages your audience. Engagement breeds attachment not just for the characters themselves but for the film itself and consequently for you as its creator. So just as you would develop a character for a film, you can develop the character *of* the film. Personality and engagement matters across every level and at every step.

When I was first figuring out how to photograph and present clothing online, I used a cheap half-mannequin barely resembling a body – it was more of a hanging triangle. Clothing would droop on it like some sad sack. Clipping a dress to make it look more shapely helped slightly, but ultimately a human body became necessary. At first, I’d crop my head and feet out of the photos as unnecessary, but I quickly realized people responded more to my face than to anything. My face isn’t special, but it’s more memorable than a hanging triangle, and when you see it every day you will likely respond to it if for no other reason than it’s familiar to you. Give your project an identity, a face, a character – someone human to respond to.

Screen shot 2014-07-22 at 3.43.50 PM

There’s a reason we like ‘putting face to a name’ – The mannequin was lifeless; cropping my head and feet out added some personality; adding a face showed my emotions – and that helped.


Everyone who has a stake in anything online talks about content. As filmmakers, you have a stake in the online world because that’s where your audience begins (and ends!). You can create content before and beyond your film, and you can share it online in an accessible and engaging format. Constant, creative digital marketing will help build the community that will bolster your projects.

After realizing I had become a digital representation of my brand of vintage clothing, I began developing a personal online presence through every available platform. Social media often seemed like a colossal waste of time – if you’re anything like me, you admonish yourself for spending too much time on social media as though it’s time that could be better spent “working,” i.e. contributing to the bottom line and focusing on “getting things done.” But I found then, as I do now more than ever, that even seemingly trivial interactions with people online can forge connections, relationships, and a larger sense of community that’s indispensable to everything I want to create.

Screen shot 2014-07-22 at 3.43.57 PM

Drafthouse’s CHEAP THRILLS utilized a “Share to Dare” campaign to engage audience through social media and their own website.

Screen shot 2014-07-22 at 3.44.04 PM

A24’s OBVIOUS CHILD engaged audiences with its own Twitter account – and stayed in character while tapping into the current socio-political milieu.

Screen shot 2014-07-22 at 3.44.15 PM

Tribeca Film’s BENEATH THE HARVEST SKY partnered with Terra Chips for an innovative marketing collaboration that began before the film was even shot.

 Tina Poppy runs a social collective supporting women working in film and television alongside actress Brie Larson. A former Director of Development at a film non-profit, Tina currently consults on gender-related issues within the film community.  She earned her Master’s degree in Humanities from the University of Chicago and founded VioletvilleVintage.com as a successful commerce vintage clothing boutique in 2004.

  • Digg
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • Print


leave a comment
  1. www / Aug 1 at 8:15am

    Good site you’ve got here.. It’s hard to find high-quality writing like yours these days. I truly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

  2. www / Aug 1 at 8:15am

    Pretty! This was a really wonderful article. Thanks for providing this info.

  3. www / Aug 1 at 8:15am

    You are so cool! I don’t suppose I have read a single thing like that before. So great to discover someone with some genuine thoughts on this subject matter. Really.. many thanks for starting this up. This web site is one thing that is required on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!

  4. www / Aug 1 at 8:15am

    Everything is very open with a really clear clarification of the issues. It was truly informative. Your site is extremely helpful. Thanks for sharing!

  5. www / Aug 1 at 8:15am

    Good post. I absolutely appreciate this site. Stick with it!

  6. پاورپوينت / Aug 1 at 8:15am

    I dugg some of you post as I cogitated they were invaluable very helpful

  7. www / Aug 1 at 8:15am

    I quite like reading through a post that will make people think. Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!

  8. www / Aug 1 at 8:15am

    This website certainly has all the information and facts I needed concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

  9. www / Aug 1 at 8:15am

    Wonderful post! We will be linking to this great post on our website. Keep up the great writing.

  10. www / Aug 1 at 8:15am

    After going over a number of the blog articles on your site, I honestly appreciate your technique of blogging. I book-marked it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back soon. Take a look at my web site too and let me know what you think.

  11. www / Aug 1 at 8:15am

    Aw, this was a very nice post. Spending some time and actual effort to produce a very good article… but what can I say… I put things off a lot and never manage to get nearly anything done.

  12. www / Aug 1 at 8:15am

    It’s hard to find knowledgeable people in this particular subject, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  13. www / Aug 1 at 8:15am

    I was pretty pleased to find this great site. I wanted to thank you for ones time due to this wonderful read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it and i also have you bookmarked to check out new things in your website.

  14. www / Aug 1 at 8:15am

    Next time I read a blog, Hopefully it won’t fail me just as much as this particular one. After all, I know it was my choice to read, however I really thought you’d have something helpful to say. All I hear is a bunch of complaining about something you can fix if you weren’t too busy seeking attention.

  15. guild wars botting / Aug 1 at 8:15am

    I have realized some important things through your site post. One other stuff I would like to convey is that there are many games that you can buy which are designed specially for toddler age children. They involve pattern acceptance, colors, wildlife, and patterns. These usually focus on familiarization as an alternative to memorization. This keeps little kids occupied without having the experience like they are studying. Thanks

  16. Kaspersky antivirus support / Aug 1 at 8:15am

    Very very nice post, i really like it.. thanks for the sharing with us.

  17. Kaspersky Customer care / Aug 1 at 8:15am

    Hello, its a nice post, thanks for sharing man,

  18. Ludie Olecki / Aug 1 at 8:15am

    Utterly indited content material , regards for selective information .

  19. Louetta Leto / Aug 1 at 8:15am

    It is truly a nice and useful piece of information. I am glad that you simply shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  20. e-bloger.eu.org / Aug 1 at 8:15am

    Enjoyed reading through this, very good stuff, appreciate it. “We swallow greedily any lie that flatters us, but we sip little by little at a truth we find bitter.” by Denis Diderot.

  21. dishchance78.wordpress.com/ / Aug 1 at 8:15am

    Just wanna remark on few general things, The website layout is perfect, the content is real good. “Art for art’s sake makes no more sense than gin for gin’s sake.” by W. Somerset Maugham.

  22. Serato Dj Torrent / Aug 1 at 8:15am

    It was nice to be able to visit such a beautiful blog.Thanks to the author.This is fantastic site.I enjoyed reading your articles. This is truly a great read for me.

  23. Wondershare Dr. Fone Crack / Aug 1 at 8:15am

    Nice blog of your and also great deal with us and also your blog good a response and also nice information.

  24. AOL Customer Care / Aug 1 at 8:15am

    Nice post man. Keep up the good work.

  25. Malik Shehzad / Aug 1 at 8:15am

    A good and informative written post. Writer had done a great job.
    I personally use these exclusively high-quality stuff.
    Windows 8.1 Product Key

  26. acryli -wi-fi professional / Aug 1 at 8:15am

    wonderful blog i like the way create this

Leave a Comment

This site could not have been built without the help and insight of Michael Morgenstern. My thanks go out to him.

Help save indie film and give this guy a job in web design or film!