Sunday, September 24, 2006

To Summarize...

I've been stroke-inducing busy these past two weeks wrapping up a marketing campaign for a new television series. The show is going to air on Showtime here in the states and the production / distribution company is taking it to Cannes for Mipcom so they can sell it around the world. That means a marketing concept needs to be created, copy needs to be written, catalogs created, brochures and banners and posters designed...

I really like doing this sort of work because it pays well, I'm working with people that I've worked with before - "Hey, let's get the band back together!" - and it really helps you define what your series or movie is about.

This series that I'm working on was pitched to our marketing team and we instantly understood what images were going to sell that concept. We instantly understood what the tagline needed to be (though I did provide the client with a couple of options).

We instantly "got it," and we took and applied that to every bit of material we created. It's that one, simple, crystal-clear idea that we could hang onto throughout the whole creative process - our barometer, yardstick, scale, whatever...

You may be saying to yourself that your movie can't be summed up in one sentence. It's too big, to epic to be summed up in 30 words or less. Fine, but let me tell you that someone is going to do it. Whether its the publicity department or the marketing department or sales department or (usually) all three...

Someone is going to summarize your movie in one sentence in order to sell it.

In fact, someone is not only going to summarize and sell your movie in one sentence, they are going to summarize it in one picture.

They are even going to summarize and sell it in three words or less.

So, the next time you write a treatment and it's 10 pages? Try and get it down to 3 pages. Then try and get it down to one page. Then get it down to one 30-words-or-less sentence. If it holds together at 30 words - it will hold together at 90+ pages.

Hopefully, soon I'll get the clearance to show you some of the stuff we've been working on. Then we can discuss how movies are really sold around the world and how that is changing.


Kelly J. Crawford said...

The bastards at Peace Arch...this is the TV project they favoured over mine, which got unceremoniously dumped earlier this year.

But I'm not bitter...

Grubber said...

Hi Bill,
question for you. Would you say that the stronger your own understanding of your own screenplay through having a strong logline, etc would help in keeping your original message out there and on show, or it makes no difference, the marketing people will just grab what they believe will sell. I am thinking the latter knowing marketing(no offence, it's the job).
PS hope you've been well.

Cunningham said...

The stronger the logline and concept - the better you are in pitching and writing your script.

The show we've been creating the campaign for was a different take on a familiar story. Easily accessible, but unique.

Everything we did amplified the concept that originated with the writer when he wrote it. We didn't subvert or add anything - it was there for the taking as that was what the writer was offering.

When I get permission to show the art then you'll see what I'm talking about.

In the meantime, they've liked our work thus far so we're gearing up for AFM.