Tuesday, 10 August 2010

What's the real story?

While the writer writes and the director draws, we producers are "packaging". Eventually, that will mean preparing a glossy little brochure to send out to to investors, but there's a lot of groundwork to be done before that.

We're meeting regularly to prepare our pitches and to start thinking about what needs to go into our budget. We're researching into other movies in the low-budget horror genre and noting how they performed in that imaginary "marketplace" out there. We've started thinking about our marketing and distribution plan, which is going to be an ongoing task until...well, maybe forever.

I'm taking the words of the theatrical sales manager I met to heart (more of her advice here). She said sales agents and distributors want "nerdy stats". I've also been told many times that you should deliver a movie that has an obvious and easy marketing strategy attached. For example, the UK zombie movie Colin has made it as far as a mention in this blog because of its genius marketing angle: "this feature was made with 45 pounds and a crowbar". Everyone knows about it, simply because it makes a short and interesting story to tell.

Paranormal activity was "the movie that got famous on the internet". Avatar was "the movie that the director of Titanic has been working on for years". Have you seen that Angelina Jolie movie? Are you going to the see facebook movie?

Few people enter cinemas because they like the film's narrative arc - they don't even know what that is until they've paid. People actively ask others not to tell them "what happens". They go into the cinema because of the other story.

So - what's our real story? We don't know yet, but we do know it's not the one in the screenplay.

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