Propose a plan to get your short animated film in front of the largest most beneficial audience possible whilst remaining tasteful.
What would be the best audience to play to and why and how do you get your production in front of them?
To broaden your ability to promote animation and understand its place in the world of entertainment in relationship to other forms of communication.
To develop your understanding of how animation works as a form of media and how it is most effectively promoted.
- 1250 words plus images
- A promotional poster
* * * * *
Why do films need to be marketed and advertised?
Marketing a film successfully will raise audience awareness, and ultimately can affect the success of the film. Widening industry awareness is also something that you want to do to boost your career! It is important that as many of your targeted audience sees your promotional material, as they are the ones who are going to enjoy the content, and the more people that see your movie; the more likely it will be a commercial success.
Identifying your target audience correctly will allow you to be a more precise judge of where to market the film and how best to advertise it to garner the most interest. There are many ways to advertise and market a film to your audience.
To properly identify your audience, it is always a good idea to get some feedback from some focus groups. Some movies have been considerably edited and altered due to feedback from test audiences, and the way they are advertised has had to be completely rethought. test groups can help you see things from many different people’s points of view and adapt your marketing strategy to be the most effective it can be, so its important to make time to get feedback when you are releasing a movie.
- Trailers (tv, before movies at the cinema, internet/social media, on dvds/blu-rays – this is often only done if a connected producing company is connected (producing) to promote it on existing similar genre audiences, handing them out as dvds to people in the street just to get it out there!!! :P)
- Posters (billboards, (london) underground, buses, taxis, trains, internet)
- Promotional appearances (director, actor, etc going for interviews on tv, radio, newpaper interviews, etc)
- Viral campaigns – creating ‘buzz’ online which people share themselves – creating word of mouth
- Promotional material on other products (often see characters from upcoming movies appear on washing up liquid or on a packet of crisps. These often tie into those companies websites for the duration of the promotion. This can be accompanied by promotions for the products – making people think positively about both the product and the movie being promoted.
The people who will have an interest in the success fo the movie:
- on-screen talent (voices)
- director and crew (animators)
- distributors/ producers
- companies with products in the film
- bands whose music features in the movie
Serenity was promoted by a series of films that were released on the internet as a form of viral marketing. There was nothing linking the five films with the movie at first, which made people wonder what it was and made them go out looking for answers. The videos were released out of order, making them like a puzzle that the audience would put together to get the bigger picture. The excitement of finding out that there was a television series based on these intriguing videos would be like winning a prize after working to achieve something. 
Viral marketing is effective when it works because the audience is actively being used to promote the film for you. It is basically a way to encourage people to help you spread the word for free!
Cloverfield used viral marketing to advertise. The clips would show normal scenes and then something happening at the end, like an explosion. There would be no identifier to which film or what it was from, so people at the time wondered if they were real or not and people on the internet debated about them until proof came in the form of a more substantial advert – although i think that it was a couple of trailers before the films name as released – creating buzz because people now knew it was film but had no idea which one or where it was from.
Viral marketing like this is not always something that works 100% of the time super effectively. There have been cases where people have been offended by viral marketing material, and people have even been arrested over their viral marketing campaigns. Forgetting Sarah marshall made a website called http://www.ihatesarahmarshall.com and nearly 300 Sarah Marshalls complained to distributors once they realised it was advertising a film. (the website is no longer operational, but even without complaints the distributors would only have paid for the amount of time the film was being promoted. The website was from the main characters point of view and left off where the film picked up, and was updated often. The blog writer said that they bought all the billboards in town (which they did). So people thought it was a real life terrible break up being broadcast to the world – DRAMA brings all the people to the viral marketing campaigns quite effectively it seems, even with complaints the film was a success with critics and made a lot of money. 
* * * * *
Terry Gilliams 12 Monkeys
I have always enjoyed Terry Gilliam’s films, from his Monty Python animations to his big budget Hollywood films, he’s always produced high quality and interesting stuff – from the actual projects he chooses, to the characters, and his own unique style that he brings to each film- which makes watching one of his films a more unique experience because he doesn’t adhere to these Hollywood norms, etc. But life has not always been so easy for him in Hollywood, and his career seems full of intense ups and downs/ highs and lows.
This is a 1 and a half hour documentary about 12 Monkeys. A big budget Hollywood film with Hollywood stars and a Hollywood sized budget.
The film is full of big names stars (Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt) who should help to drag an audience into the cinema, but will they enjoy this unusual film? For a number of different reasons there is some doubt about whether this film can be a success when they are making it. I love watching movie documentaries that show a lot of details when things are going wrong, and you can get a real insight into the world of filmmaking!
The hamster factor is the Terry Gilliam element, everything is in order, but there is detail he needs to get right. Terry spent ages trying to get the hamster to do what he wanted during the film – but in the end he did get the shot he was hoping for. Terry adds elements into his shots that other directors wouldn’t bother with, and it can often cause delays in filming, problems – unnecessary difficulties that weren’t planned for because it’s being added at the last minute! I think this is one of the reasons his films are so enduring and interesting, even when the scripts are not his original work – he adds these little elements that can really alter how a scene feels and adds another level to the world he is building for the audience.
What is the target audience for 12 monkeys?
12 Monkeys is a post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, action, thriller, fantasy, romance, film noir, crime movie, with mental health themes. It’s a pretty unusual movie, but this doesn;t mean that the audience will be as diverse, as parts of the movie will not appeal to some demographics at all, and what they do like isn’t really there for them in the way they are used to.
12 Monkeys was a commercial success, and made a lot of money. It’s a story that grips you and keeps you from the beginning, and the twists and reveals are satisfying and clever.
I think terry challenges audiences. He does this by showing them things they didn’t expect from the genre and making them uncomfortable, he takes them out of their comfort zone and makes them experience things in a different way. This can be very dangerous when making commercial films, but really rewarding for the artist, who can really express themselves and make something that isn’t just another cookie-cutter genre movie.
The newspaper campaign they are debating about using to promote the movie is really interesting. Showing small red monkey images with the numbers increasing on each page. Then at the 12th there is a big advert. The red makes it stand out against the black and white of the newspaper text. Readers would still not be sure what the 12 Monkeys adverts are promoting, but they see that it will be coming this winter. The rough style is similar to the style activists would use – spray paints and stencils and handmade things – fitting the films style aesthetic.
The reality of making films for me is just hard work, and uh, and the disappointment that i can’t actually achieve what i can imagine.
They also look at bus advertising, as many people will see those adverts. Not just bus users, but anyone travelling the same route as the bus, anyone who’s outside that sees it. Also these adverts will be seen by a lot of people at rush hour commuting times. It’s important to note they use the stars of the film to promote it where possible, aside from the monkey teaser image. They have high profile stars that will bring people to the film. The promotional material is really well tied into the themes of the movie.
Posters around large cities, reaching a large audience, would be a good tie in with the movie, maybe in less travelled out the way alleys and areas – although it would require hiring people to do this and is not as simple to roll out. Guerrilla marketing is something that is much bigger now, but was in infancy for 12 monkeys.
Terry Gilliam worked on the feedback sheets that the screening audiences would be filling in after they’ve watched the movie. It’s important that you get the audience to tell you what they think about the film, and not miss important details and things that could affect the final version, so you can properly gauge reactions to your art, and hone in on things that work and things that need work/changing.
The movie didn’t receive fantastic feedback scores initially. The discussion about the feedback during the making of film give the audience an insight into the processes of the people working to get this film marketed properly and make it successful. The writers and director and producers all discuss the feedback and how they should move forward together – any changes they need to make, etc..
What’s interesting with the 12 Monkeys feedback is people seemed to enjoy the experience of watching it, but after they would have questions and problems and issues and not score it very highly. So the feedback appeared somewhat negative, even though the film was really well received. In the end they made only minor alterations and Terry was able to release an absolutely amazing film, and without hugely compromising his vision.
Of course the feedback is vital, we see here where it is also a Hollywood tool to gauge how much they should spend on marketing the film, because it wont be popular enough or something. The Hollywood film machine appears to be a sometimes cruel and unforgiving beast, caring only about money and profits (not going into how Hollywood can end up making a loss on a hugely successful and profitable film – the joke being that the most creatives minds in Hollywood are the accountants – check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_accounting for more info).
I think that sometimes Hollywood just wants the film to read, but often they want happy endings and Terry’s ‘Brazil’ film was actually held back by the studio and edited because they wanted something more commercial – a happier ending and a shorter film so audiences could digest it easier. But in the end, due to illegal screening Terry held and public statements in newspapers perhaps, the critics loved Brazil, and Terry’s original film was released as he created it. He held true to his vision and ended up proving that he could make money without conforming to the norms. There’s this idea in Hollywood that you can just spurn out certain films and they will make money – we see it all the time with remake after remake – safe bets. It’s a money making machine, naturally. But it’s more than that, and it shouldn’t be forgotten. Films are the way we sit around the campfire and tell stories in a modern age. They inform and educate, entertain and challenge. They affect us. Films reflect our culture, (they are our collective cultural timeline) and in my opinion we need people like Terry Gilliam contributing to that cultural history.
It’s difficult for me not to mention that many people made the film what it is. Even though Terry had a hand in all of it, everyone’s contributions to the film made 12 Monkeys what it is. Terry isn’t just battling evil Hollywood execs either, he works with them to make the film. Everyone works together. One of the coolest things about film making is that a lot of creative people come together and make art together – art that tells a story and carries messages. It’s really kind of amazing when you think about it.