Movie Marketing

From Hollywood to Bay Street: Success is Defined By The Story You Tell

Hollywood1Recently I purchased a book called "The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters." The book is different from others in its genre as it doesn't just look at what highly successful people DO, it digs deeper and looks at how they THINK.

What's striking about the content in the book is its similarities to challenges found in the business world. Whether you're an aspiring screenwriter, entrepreneur or corporate CEO, your challenges are quite similar. At some point in your career, success will depend on how well you can sell your story to people prepared to buy it.

David Brown, a renowned Hollywood producer, once said that "Nothing counts as much as the story, because it is the story that will attract the director, the actors, the studio, the money. The story is the thing." It's the same in business. If you're the CEO of a public company, you better have a compelling and engaging story to attract shareholders and investors. Money begets money, and one way to get it is to have a good story. People tend to gather around a good idea, so make your story compelling and find an innovative way to help solve someone else's problem. Make yourself indispensible and they won't be able to get enough of you.

From the glitz and glam of Hollywood to the driven financial core of Bay Street, success is defined by the story you tell. You have to have something of importance to say, something that's different and cuts through the clutter. You have to tell your story in an engaging way, and develop nerves of steel and dogged determination to be sure your story is heard by the right people, at the right time. Your career will be full of rejection, but successful people are able to take that criticism and constructively use it to get their own story heard.

So take your talent, and hone it through intense dedication to your craft. Feed your passion, and develop the skills needed to effectively present and sell ideas to people who can benefit most from those ideas.

Don't give up. The world is waiting for a good story. Let yours be the one everyone starts talking about and your world will open up in ways you never dreamed possible.

What other similarities do you see between the challenges faced by people in creative industries - and those faced by people who work in the corporate world? Do you think all successful people share the same traits? If so, which ones?


Hollywood Blockbusters: Marketing The Story Behind The Story

There's no doubt about it that today's release of The Dark Knight is sure to be a summertime blockbuster. The movie contains elements essential to all good stories...the presence of a superhero (Batman) who pulls off the impossible in the face of evil, love, action, adventure and suspense.

There's also no doubt that Heath Ledger's appearance in the movie provides additional cachet and added marketing value. With Ledger's performance up for critical acclaim, the question now becomes one of combining tact and decency with a situation at hand that is sure to catapult Ledger to potential iconic status.

I'm not saying that Ledger isn't deserving. He's a fabulous actor and his role in The Dark Knight is sure to win kudos from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. But how far can studios go in marketing an actor who died under such tragic circumstances, without seeming as if they're 'using' this fact to sell a better story?

In spite of The Dark Knight's blockbuster potential, it's hard not to ask ourselves whether at least some of the hype is based on the fact that Heath Ledger is no longer with us. Tragedy is at the heart of all dramas, and it's almost impossible to resist seeing the movie just to see what all the hype is about.

Was Hollywood careful enough in trying not to use Ledger's situation as a marketing tool, or is most of the hype based on the reality of Ledger's tragic end? Does the death of an actor almost automatically propel a movie to a higher level? Could you argue that I'm trying to profit from the situation, by mentioning the movie in my blog?


Capitalizing on Emotions to Predict Hollywood Blockbusters

Et_equipFor decades, the advertising and entertainment worlds have used emotional appeal to sell their wares. Content that touches the emotions of movie-goers is almost certainly going to make an impact on the bottom-line. But is it possible to predict a Hollywood blockbuster before it's even released to the public? PictureAnywhere thinks so.

PictureAnywhere is a company that evaluates content for the entertainment world. Using proprietary, psychology-based software called Envio, the company measures the entertainment value of scripts, storyboards, movies, TV sitcoms and advertisements by measuring the effectiveness of emotional patterns generated by the content. The process is usually implemented in the pre-production stage to allow for any changes to future content.

Using emotions as the fundamental unit of measurement, scripts or storyboards are broken down into pictorial elements. The content is then charted using Envio to see whether or not it is connecting with audiences.

In the unforgivingly competitive industry that is Hollywood, a process that can help predict a movie's potential for success is definitely worth looking at. At its fundamental level, the process of gaging a movies' entertainment value makes sense. Although financial success in Hollywood depends on a variety of factors, most blockbusters follow similar themes, and affect audiences in similar ways.

Et_image_left In the book "The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Storytellers and Screenwriters", Christopher Vogler outlines the importance of good stories, and how it's the emotional journeys that "hook" the audience and make a story worth watching.

PictureAnywhere takes the process one step further by delving into measurement success predictors such as "heart to mind", "emotion packed" and "positive to negative" ratios. It seems to be an innovative combination of tools taking key findings from art, science and commerce and using them to determine potential emotional impact on an audience.

With increasing competition from a variety of platforms, Hollywood's success will continue to rest in its ability to connect with audiences. As Ravi Reddy, founder of PictureAnywhere says, "Scripts with no emotional intelligence are toast. Before committing to any script, it is best to measure its emotional content and entertainment values."

Imagine the value to Hollywood and the entertainment industry in general if, as PictureAnywhere claims, we could measure entertainment value before it happened? It seems the real winners in the race to box office stardom will be those who possess that rare and extremely marketable trait - emotional intelligence.

20th Century Fox and 7-Eleven Team Up to Promote Movie Launch

The recent transformation of a dozen 7-Eleven stores in the U.S. and Canada to Kwik-E-Marts is an example of movie marketing at its finest. The campaign was designed to hype the launch of the upcoming Simpsons Movie on July 27.

The idea resulted from discussions between Fox and 7-Eleven's advertising agency to promote the movie as a true summertime cultural event. The ploy seems to be working. The dozen stores and most of the 6000 plus 7-Eleven stores in North America will be selling items originally featured in the television show: Buzz Cola, Krusty O's cereal and Squishees.

So far, the strategy has kept cash registers ringing and has received significant media coverage. Not bad for a budget touted as being in the "single millions."

The genius behind this campaign is threefold: 1) it's a great way to integrate customer experience into a movie campaign 2) increased brand recognition for 7-Eleven stores and 3) increased brand awareness for the upcoming movie and reinforcement of the Simpsons property.

Perhaps the most inspiring part of the campaign is the fact that 7-Eleven had the courage to pull this off, and get a few laughs along the way.

You'll have to excuse me now. It's hot out and I'm off to buy a Squishee...

7elevens_become_kwikemarts_5 (Image courtesy of Associated Press)