Film Adaptations of Novels, Plays, Short Stories:
This may not be the most recent development in film marketing, but it sure is the longest running.

Great films are usually adapted from great novels and plays. Every story starts somewhere. Taking great literature and transforming the text into images creates a more tactile and artistic world for the imaginative reader.

Google Images

Richard Corliss, from Time Magazine, talks about the hardships of turning beloved books into films.

Take, The Hurt Locker – this was a story from a man collecting information to write a book. It was later adapted for the big screen and won multiple Oscars, including Best Picture.

But not all books-turned-movie eventually win Oscars, most are for pure entertainment.

Twilight anyone? These books were a mega-hit, and I will admit to indulging into the vampire fantasy. The films however, are another story. They aren’t edited realistically, the acting is less than par, but they do prove worthy of being a guilty pleasure and are hugely successful.

Film Poster and Book Cover

How about Harry Potter? These books came out when I was in 5th grade… and the movies are only coming to an end after I graduate college in 2011. This has been a 12 year franchise and has remained at the top of the box office all the way through. From the books to the DVDs to the merchandise of wands and robes, the websites of fantastical places in the book to the video games, this has proved to be an enormous moneymaker.
I am more than happy to admit my intense infatuation with this series – it just proves my point. They got me hooked when I was 10 years old, and kept me hooked! Now at 21, I am counting down the days until the final movies are released.

One movie adapted from a book series that is for pure enjoyment is the new “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” – it chronicles the life of a middle school boy, who’s as stiff as a wet noodle. This was a funny movie, and have you read the books? They’re even better! They are published with what resembles handwriting on notebook paper and they are adorned with drawings that are one step above stick figures.

Diary Of A Wimpy Kid, Courtesy of Google Images

Film adaptations of books have been used in the past and may not be a new technique, however they are still successful in film marketing.


What makes a story newsworthy? Why do certain stories end up in the limelight while others are tucked in the background?

It all has to do with social media presence, and what makes information newsworthy to readers and consumers.

This concept of newsworthiness bleeds into the film industry. Who wants to see a film about … nothing? The reason we go to the cinema is to fulfill our desire to be enveloped in another world, or to laugh, to be scared, to fall in love.

In the marketing of a film, its newsworthiness depends on how well it will do in the box office. In my media technologies class, we went over what makes a story newsworthy. A story must have one of the following: timeliness, consequence, suspense, proximity, prominence, conflict, human interest, progress, or novelty. These themes can be intertwined into film plots.

One film that will be released in the upcoming months is ‘BABIES’.

The title says it all.  It is a film documenting the lives of four babies growing up in different parts of the world – Namibia, Mongolia, San Francisco, and Tokyo. The trailer premiered about a year ago. I first saw it last summer in the coming attractions, and it caught my attention. Check it out below:

This film is garnering so much recognition because it involves babies around the world. Human curiosity is innate; we want to see babies and how they differ from culture to culture. I think this film will be popular because it can show how different, and at the same time how similar, the human race is. How often do we travel to distant countries and watch the growth of humans? With this film, we are able to get a glimpse of what life is like for children in developing, developed, and third world countries.

But this got me thinking. Documentaries are usually not as forwardly marketed as other films, so how are they getting such media attention? Well for one, previewing the film a year before it comes out on big screen coming attractions is a good way to promote to a mass audience who can’t turn the channel.

Also, the film has its own Facebook page. One of the tabs is a sweepstakes competition for mothers. Here, mothers can enter pictures of their own babies, and the winner will have their child featured on the Babies DVD.

The film is due (pun intended) on Mother’s Day 2010. Now, don’t think this is ironic, because the target audiences for this film are those who are interested in babies. You can’t be a mother without a baby, and you can’t have a baby without a mother!

Do you think these marketing techniques will be positive for the film’s success?


OLD

Now for all those “experienced” artists. And I say ‘experienced’ for lack of sounding mean by saying ‘OLD!’

As we know, music changes over time. Each decade is often associated with it’s own musical genre. In the 50s we had bandstand, 60s were the Beatles, 70s was disco, 80s was synthesizers, 90s were boybands, and now we have a mash up of every genre available! So how is someone like Dolly Parton, one of the most popular country stars of her day, supposed to keep up?

Well, one way is through re-releases.

Ms. Dolly Parton was truly a gifted musical artist in her day and has managed to keep her name popular, if not always her songs. I know her name, but I don’t think I could count on one hand any of her songs. Every generation there will be youngsters who know her name but may not have heard her music. A productive way to keep your music selling is by re-releasing it. By bringing back earlier albums, she can potentially draw-in a crowd that would have loved her stuff way back when if they had the opportunity to hear it. Re-releases give the music a chance to be heard again.

Dolly’s CD will be releasing songs from her 1970 and 1971 albums. By also making them available digitally, Dolly has opened up her media market, which broadens the types of consumers who will buy her music.

Courtesy of Southern Living Magazine. Picture available through Google Images

Other artists who has re-released albums include Blake Shelton, who is a passionate country star. He is reissuing his fourth album with added bonus tracks. Randy Travis is among many artists known to have done this, and it is a good marketing strategy to put new songs on a re-release or greatest hits album. If an artists is putting out a greatest hits album, it means 1) that they have been very successful, and 2) that they are old enough to bring back songs that some may not know or remember. No doubt people WILL buy the greatest hits album, and providing spaces for new tracks will entice listeners to buy the artist’s newest CD also.

In the end, re-releasing is just a circle of love and harmonies


NEW

There are two different types of music artist; the hopeful wannabe and the experienced career artist.

The fresh artist’s hardest dilemma is creating a buzz. You’re nobody, until you’re somebody, and who wants to listen to a nobody? The experienced career artist’s hardest dilemma is staying up to date with current trends, and appealing to changing audiences.

Whether you are an aspiring artist or an old crooner you still have to get (or keep) your name out there.

I’m taking a course in music industry, creatively called Legal Aspects of the Music Industry. In this class we learn the ways of the “music biz” while pretending as though we are upcoming artists. [Our textbook has a great outlook on music newbies. Check out an excerpt here]

In one class we talked about how new artists can create a buzz. At shows, artists give away things like pins, stickers, drugs, etc. to everyone who signs up for their mailing list.

Through this they can promote their upcoming shows, future recordings, and merchandise. Some artists also do what’s called “Lifecasting.” This is when artists are in constant communication with fans, and by constant I mean communicating multiple times each day. This may include iChatting on the way to a gig, sending blasts from behind the scenes, updates through Twitter, sending pictures of themselves on stage, etc. Lady Antebellum is a new group to country music and man, have they scored big. They seemed to have exploded on the scene and their Twitter account is not shy of posts. They took advantage of how Twitter could allow them to reach out to their fans on a personal level.

Check out Lady Antebellum’s newest hit:

If you are looking to become a musician, or be a part of the music industry, a new trend is to use snail mail! Since it’s so old-fashioned and few people do it, you can actually garner more attention that way. However the same rules as e-mail should apply. Make it short and sweet and to the point. A potential employer can throw a paper in the wastebasket just as easily as hitting the delete button.

Remember: creating a buzz is the most important tool in preparing a career in music!


The Oscars!

11Mar10

Google Images, Oscars 2010

What would film be without the Oscars? It is a night to celebrate all those who live cinema.

This year’s Oscars went quite well, except for the Documentary Short award, which went to Music by Prudence. It was accepted by Roger Ross Williams, and …what?! Elinor Burkett who pulled a “Kanye” by interrupting Williams’s speech by saying “Let the woman talk. Isn’t that the classic thing?”…hmm that was a little weird.

But far and large, the Oscars were most popular for The Hurt Locker. Now, I saw this movie, and I also saw Avatar, Blind Side, and Julie and Julia, all of which, along with 6 others, were nominated for best picture. Of the 24 awards given out, The Hurt Locker garnered 6 of them, far more than any other movie that night. Avatar only received three. It seems odd to me that Avatar, being the highest grossing movie ever, did not win more. (And don’t you find it funny that Kathryn Bigelow [The Hurt Locker] and James Cameron (Avatar) were once married, got divorced, and then competed for best picture at the Oscars?)
What is The Hurt Locker anyway? Avatar was marketed, advertised, talked about, for months before it’s release and is still being talked about. I never heard much hype about The Hurt Locker, and well, here it is winning all these awards. But when was it in theaters? What is this movie even about?

It was released June 26, 2009 in limited theaters. The movie is about three Army soldiers who are in a combat zone and whose job is to deactivate explosives, also known as EOD, Explosive Ordnance Disposal.

This movie was very tense, and parts were unbearable to watch. Almost every situation the men were put in was overwrought and on edge. My brother, my father, and my boyfriend are all Marines, and they have done their tours in Iraq in the past couple of years. During March 2009, all three were in Iraq at the same time. So, normally I support the troops in every way, and I usually appreciate a film that talks about the subject of war and the life-threatening situations war entails.

However, The Hurt Locker was far reaching, and chronicled events that would never happen. What got me was when SFC James took off his EOD suit and deactivated the bombs without protection. Never, ever, would that happen in real life. Soldiers have been trained to NOT take off the protective gear, even when temperatures reach 120 degrees.

Bottom line – I do not think The Hurt Locker was worth all those Oscars. What do you think?


Lady Gaga’s rise to fame was more than just a rise. It was a “shot-out-of-a-cannon-at-lightspeed-and-land-in-the-center-of-music” type rise. Her originality and raw talent make her a true musical icon. And the fact that she can actually sing…wow! We haven’t seen that in a while.

When surfing for the Lady on YouTube, Vevo, Google, any kind of website, there is an equal balance of live performance videos as there are professional music videos. Her ability to be so raw and unscripted make her available to anyone who wants her. How many artists have just as many, if not MORE, live performances than recorded performances? Lady Gaga has been seen on AOL Sessions, Vevo Launch Events, Oprah, and countless other media outlets. She has a YouTube channel, an official website, a Facebook page, a Twitter account which she personally handles, and she is supported by celebrity gossipers like Perez Hilton, who is an AVID fan and promoter of this musical icon. (Avid is probably an understatement here) The merchandise available on her official website is one of the top grossing outlets by any current artist.

Andrew Hampp, from Advertising Age, has an article outlining the many ways Lady Gaga uses social media. From her headphones, lipstick brand, and Polaroid partnership, she is at the top of the social media ladder. In the article you can read more about her Virgin Mobile tour sponsorship.

Vevo is a video sharing website similar to YouTube. Mashable has an article that talks about Lady Gaga being the main search content on Vevo for a quarter of its visitors. This is likely a result of her hands on approach. Lady Gaga is fully engulfed in her fans, more than any other artists. Not only does she recognize them, she interacts with them and makes herself available to her adorning fans.

Gaga currently has the most watched video on the music channel of YouTube with 129,158,733 views. Here it is for your entertainment:


If you were to ask someone how he or she knew about a movie, the average person would answer with seeing a trailer on TV. (Average referring to a person who watches films but is not a critic or overly involved in the film industry.) Although television advertising is the most prevalent way to promote a movie, directors and marketers are figuring out new ways to create hype. There are new media creations to movies promoted that would appeal even to average viewers, not just film buffs.

There has been much hype for a while about a famous children’s movie about a certain girl who falls into a hole and meets some eccentric bunnies and queens. This movie, which started off as a dark tale turned children’s movie turned maybe back into a dark and mysterious tale, is making it’s way across the social media plane. I’m talking about Tim Burton’s ‘Alice in Wonderland.’

In addition to traditional advertising, there have been many attempts to promote this new film. Newspapers have interviews with Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, trailers are posted all over YouTube, advanced screenings locations are posted on twitter, there have been wedding themes created from Alice’s world, there are countdowns to the release date, and the list goes on.

Promotion has moved to a live stream over MySpace of Tim Burton interviewing about the movie.  He answers questions about production and brings in some of the characters and musical groups. However, this is not the first film to utilize webcasting. Earlier in the year, James Cameron was also interviewed via a live stream about his movie Avatar. And we all know how well that did in theaters! Hopefully Alice in Wonderland will see the same kind of results.

However, has this marketing paid off? Big chain cinemas in the UK are boycotting this movie. The reason for this is that once movies enter the cinema, 18 weeks later they are released onto DVD. This is essentially so the film can sell as many tickets as possible. However, Alice in Wonderland will go to DVD earlier than expected, only 12 weeks after coming to theaters.

Do you think this will have a detrimental effect on the movie ?