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The Fly Fishing Film Tour: Sharing the Love of Fly Fishing

By Monica Friedman August 6, 2012

F3T and the Fly Fishing Community

It’s only natural. When you feel a passion, you want to share it with the world. That’s the philosophy behind popular film tours, and the guiding principal of F3T, the Fly Fishing Film Tour. Tony Keig of WebEye Group, LLC, producers of F3T, lays it out: the film tour’s purpose is “to energize and inspire the fly fishing community prior to the start of the summer season,” in a way that “allows every attendee to dream about what could be in store for them when the fly fishing season kicks off.”

A Model That Works: Creating a Successful Film Tour

Started in 2007, the film tour was given new life in 2009 following its acquisition by WebEye Group. Chris Keig and Doug Powell, who had previously worked at Warren Miller Entertainment, used their experience to restructure the business, using the W.M. Ski Movie as a model. It appears they’ve found a model that works. Today, F3T has grown to host over 100 events, with 40,000 attendees, a year. In addition to these official events, WebEye Group also licenses the film to many independent promoters, typically retailers in cities the tour does not reach.

The film itself is stitched together from a number of fly fishing films. Keig expresses pride that the tour has encouraged “a significant improvement in fly fishing film quality.” This year, 30 films were submitted and 11 made the cut; F3T is able to choose the pieces with the greatest innovation and highest production values to create an “interesting, topical and…appealing” product, and can support the filmmakers with payment and publicity for their work.

Outreach: Fly Fishing and Healing

One of the most exciting aspects of fly fishing is the way it intersects with recovery from a variety of physical and psychological ailments. Standing in nature and casting into a clear river requires a sense of centeredness, along with focus and balance, that allows participants to become part of their own healing.

F3T is proud that many charitable organizations license the film to raise money: for instance, Rivers of Recovery and Project Healing Waters are two groups that work with returning veterans, using the medium of fly fishing to facilitate rehabilitation. Casting for Recovery, a Montana event that promotes healing among cancer patients through fly fishing, also held a very successful fundraiser. To date, the 2012 film has helped raise $130,000 for worthy causes.

Sponsorship: Retailers and Giveaways

Selling a film tour requires smart use of natural networks, print media, and digital avenues. Over 300 “loyal and dedicated” fly fishing retailers benefit from the tour: they sell discounted tickets, drawing new customers into their shop and spreading the joy of fly fishing. Plus, consumers are “incentivized to visit the shops after the show for local discounts.” This all ties in nicely with event sponsorship: sponsor products are “featured prominently in the film…given away as door prizes and… used in silent auctions for charity events.” Sponsor are enthusiastically recognized at every event, exposing an eager customer base to knowledge about products sold by participating retailers.

Media: Digital and Print

F3T provides collateral packages to those licensing the film, including color posters, flyers, and event tickets, provided by TicketPrinting.com, providing a professional and cohesive look for every event. They also produce a high quality magazine that serves as a program for the event, which is available in print or as a digital download.

Of course, their website, is among the most important tools in event promotion. Here they can post schedules, information for every event, and links to relevant websites. They can sell tickets online and offer custom prizing. Online ticket sales are available for each venue and a capability exists for custom pricing. They also maintain a Facebook page and create blog-style web content.

Creating Success

The success of F3T is dependent on the confluence of all these factors. Ready to host your own film tour (or just perfect a tour that’s already around)? There’s a lot to learn from the F3T model. Create a product that appeals to the audience by rewarding the creators for outstanding achievement. Create relationships with logical partners, both retail sponsors and charitable groups that intersect with your own mission. Create your own brand through the use of digital and print media, so your fan base can find you easily.

No matter what your passion, if your community wants to capture it on film, you can bring people together with a well-organized film tour.