My first stint as an Executive Producer: Oscar and Jim

A couple of months ago, Tim at Made By Many pointed me in the direction of a then still under-production movie called Oscar and Jim. But it wasn’t just any movie. It was a crowdfunded movie. Anyone who contributed £25 could become an Executive Producer on the film, thus helping to get it made and build an audience outside the usual studio network that Hollywood films with mega-budgets are party to, and short small-budget films rarely get. 

I was immediately drawn to the idea. Why not put my money where my mouth was – after all I am always going on about crowdsourcing. Added to that, I am enthralled by the glamour of cinema. 
Today, Oscar and Jim premiered at the Curzon Shaftesbury in London and a bunch of us ‘Executive Producers’ enjoyed a film that was short, funny and sweet. As I watched my name amongst the rest rolling during the end-credits (Tim’s 19-week-old baby’s name was probably the youngest of the lot, I can only imagine his reaction when he sees the DVD 28 years from now!), I gave a satisfactory smile.  
The 30-minute movie is a charming romantic comedy based on two characters who go to a Parisian cemetery in search of the graves of – you guessed it – Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison. Full marks to Iain Weatherby and Paul Fenwick for their film. You should watch it.

Word associations. Or not.

Given that Amnesty UK is one of our clients at Made By Many and their key campaign at the moment is called Stop Violence Against Women (International Women’s Day having just passed on March 8th and everything), I was very amused a few days ago when I saw this banner tacked up against a poster for the (very weirdly named) forthcoming film Lesbian Vampire Killers. I don’t know what the person who added the banner to the poster thought : lesbian + killers = women + violence? Something like that, I suppose! 

Strike when the iron is hot

The Advertising Standards Authority in the UK is suddenly up in arms about the fact that Angelina Jolie is shown toting a gun (and probably because she seems to be enjoying it too) in billboard ads for the film ‘Wanted’. This article in the Guardian (and there’s another one in Brand Republic) came out just today, and the film was released in June this year. I think the timing is WAY off. If you want something to have an impact, then you need to make your opinions heard at the right time. It’s sort of like eating food that is stone cold when you know it will taste a hundred times better when it’s hot. There’s a reason they say ‘strike when the iron is hot’, you know. And that goes for pretty much anything. It’s the reason I was impressed by BT’s ad for the Notting Hill carnival the day after the Olympics finished. If you want to seem like a brand that’s in the know, you have to keep yourself up-to-date.

The ASA clearly isn’t. They seem like kids fighting over a chocolate bar at the moment.

The new world of film publicity

I was at Leicester Square a while ago as the world premiere of the Sex and the City movie was happening. I barely caught a glimpse of the cast, among the throng of people populating the area, and continue to be amazed at the cult following the series has drummed up over the years – a following that four years after the series ended, is faithfully tracking the famous quartet as they venture on to the big screen.

Anyway, I took a look at the film’s website and think it is easily one of the best-coordinated efforts by a film’s publicity team of late. It has a widget, a blog, and a quiz for fans, apart from the usual trailer, soundtrack and downloads. The blog even has a link to a webcam that was streaming the premiere as it happened.

Recently, I read about Iron Man’s Second Life contest as well. The film’s site has links to a Facebook page, MySpace page, a fan art page and a widget, among other things. Thanks to new social media platforms, these films are reaching out to their fans in altogether unexplored ways. The bar has officially been raised for film publicity campaigns.