I saw one of the best Science Fiction films I’ve seen in a while, this weekend. Tom Cruise’s Edge of Tomorrow. I’m not a huge Tom Cruise fan – I’ve never really forgiven him for Days of Thunder, but being the open-minded kind of guy I am I gave him another chance. The buzz on social media among the film folks I follow was strong, so EoT got the popcorn money this week. It’s everything folks who work on the creative side of the movie business say the movie business needs, but it’s the textbook case study for why the business side of the movies works the way it does.
The film has everything a great summer blockbuster should have – an inventive story, taut writing, solid star power in the leads, off-the-charts special effects and dynamic action sequences. You genuinely … Read More »
Social media just took a big left turn. Facebook now does hashtags. If you aren’t Twitter literate, a hashtag is what the ancient Mayans called a pound sign – #. But several years ago a bright young web guy – Chris Messina – started the idea that a word or phrase following a hashtag could be a type of topical hyperlink. The concept caught on and Twitter users began hashtagging everything. That led to trending topics and became a means to see what the twitterverse thought was the most important or at least most popularly discussed idea of the moment. There are humble hashtags in use on Flickr, Instagram, Tumblr, Google+ and probably it’s coming to every social media platform there is.
Now the hashtag phenomenon on Facebook. In my opinion – it’s gonna get messy. Facebook says it isn’t “selling” … Read More »
Community economic development is an area where we have significant experience. Amarillo, Texas is a good example. Amarillo has long been an agricultural and logistics hub. But with significant wind energy resources and one of the largest airport runways in the world, they’ve become a viable relocation target for aerospace companies and renewable energy firms. Our work included rebranding the EDC with a more modern logo (the old one featured barb wire), and a brighter more dynamic look to everything from relocation publications, trade ads and online ads.
Kmart has never been a brand to stand for class and sophistication, so perhaps it’s really little surprise their new campaign aims for the scatological shopper Shipping Their Pants and the sophomoric snickers of Big Gas Savings. These aren’t just mind-numbing yucks from the Will Farrell – Jonah Hill school of “it was funny when we were 10, why wouldn’t it be funny now?”. These are bad advertising at its fundamental worst, with a hat tip to the fine folks at Sofa King.
Is it bad because it’s cheap laughs and bathroom humor? No, not completely. The biggest problem is it doesn’t sell. That’s the first thing an ad needs to do. I’ve only seen the Ship My Pants ad run once – but I’ve seen it linked to online, posted on Facebook and referenced dozens of times. As viral marketing … Read More »
Social media is a huge catch all – and like PR – it can feel like a free deal that you get what you pay for. Spend a lot of time and then hope something comes out of it. But there is another side to Social that does generate some quantifiable returns. Paid advertising. Facebook ads offer audience targeting that is on par with direct mail, performance-based budgeting and seriously good analytics. In English, that means you can define your audience by zip code, age, interests and a good variety of other criteria. Once you know who you’re after, it’s a measure of budgeting, and here, Facebook is easy – pay per click. Figure your budget – say $100 – bid however much you want to pay for each click to your specific audience – say $2 – and Facebook … Read More »
Paul Harvey for Ram Trucks
A zillion people watched the Superbowl. How many ran out and bought Ram pickups because they ran a really good ad?
I heard from two camps – some friends who are agriculturally enlightened and some who believe that hamburgers come from somewhere they don’t think about and then magically appear at McDonalds. The urbanites gave the Dodge ad a small WTF? and moved on. Not exactly the target audience for a half-ton pickup. They don’t need a truck to haul the Bichon Frise to the groomer.
But I come from a rural part of the world and Dad still owns a small wheat farm. Those friends and compadres from the barnyard world were ecstatic that Dodge would run a spot praising the hard work of farmers. Even the ranchers were impressed. There were large amounts of warm-fuzzies throughout … Read More »
The single hardest thing about screenwriting is waiting. And man, is there a lot of waiting. Finish a script? No, not really. It goes to someone. A reader. An assistant. A manager, agent, producer, studio, director, talent… Sometimes, it seems as if there’s as much waiting to hear back from people as there is writing. I’m in that mode right now. One script with a producer looking for a green light on financing my first independent film, and another with a network to see if they’ll come play with my movie of the week. It’s exciting and frustrating and more than a little nerve-racking.
I used to think I was a fairly patient guy, but this gets to you. I’ve started other projects. One for research on a feature, did a rewrite of my animation spec and I’m about half way … Read More »
I read a quote from Woody Allen. He was asked, “What’s the hardest part of making a movie?” Allen replied – getting the money. I get it. This morning I’m preparing for a 6-hour trip to spend an hour with a producer and a banker so he can tell his investors that our group knows what it’s doing, and they should commit enough money to make a small independent film.
I think the entire project hinges on this one meeting. But at this stage I can say that about every meeting. I’ve met with CFOs, CEOs, a parade of Vice Presidents and ad-hoc committees. I have happily and, I hope politely, answered the same question, the same way a dozen times. And now we’re down to fishing or bait-cutting.
If this meeting goes well, then in two weeks a Board of Directors … Read More »
There is a really good reason for clichés like writing is rewriting. They are usually correct. Kinda like stereotypes. This week has been rewrite week. I’m on rewrite number 6 or maybe 7 on my Rom Com. As this is the first time I’ve dealt with “Hollywood” I don’t know that this is typical or unusual, but the working writers I’ve talked to tell me this is how it is.
Originally, this story started out as a comedy with a female lead. I sent it to my story reader and she said it needed romance. I put in a little side arc for two of the characters as a romance.
When it went to the manager he said, “No, no, no. The lead needs the romance.”
Rom Coms have to have the lead in the romance. When I tried to explain that it … Read More »
We are right in the middle of the most important marketing time of the year for retailers. So why is the advertising so dang dull? This should be the time to break through. Ads should be slashing through the clutter like a hot knife through gingerbread.
I just did a quick mental rundown of TV commercials I’ve seen this year that make me stop and say, “Wow! Wish I’d done that.”
This year, I’ve got nothing.
Car companies usually do something – I mean I kinda like the Chevrolet campaign with Santa’s day job as a car salesman. They are funny and the guy playing Nick the salesman is dead-on. But there’s something sad at its core about Father Christmas hawking pick-ups at the Chevy dealer. Acura has a different kind of spooky going on – Celebrities driving like maniacs. In … Read More »