Posted in Blog, social media, Transmedia Communication, Uncategorized

Social Media Engagement and The Legend of Ben Hall

Will Lee joins us from Sydney, taking time away from his busy schedule as an actor and producer to talk to us via Skype.

For more information about Will Lee and his work visit his website.

Will’s active presence on social media inspired me to interview him and discuss how social media has effected his work, particularly the up and coming new Australian drama, The Legend of Ben Hall (in cinemas December 1st, 2016).

The website for this film is an example of stellar marketing communications, rich in interactive and educational content, it touches me in all the right ways.

Screenshot of The Legend of Ben Hall website, new Australian film
A wealth of information available to the public… Mmm yea, Aussie cowboys, gimme! Screenshot from The Legend of Ben Hall Website

This interview was originally meant to be presented as a wonderful multimedia presentation via Skype, unfortunately the software I downloaded was a total dud (I need to make sure I unsubscribe before that 14 day free trial runs out!).

Never fear, after trialling the software the night before and realising there maybe issues, I recorded the audio on my phone so I would have the opportunity to transcribe if things went awry.

Interview transcript:

Can you tell us about yourself and how you came to be involved in The Legend of Ben Hall?

Screen shot from Skype interview
Will Lee discussing the role of social media in The Legend of Ben Hall via Skype.

Will: To start with, I got tagged on a Facebook post. It was basically an ad looking for a horse rider to be in this short film. Because I was a horse rider I thought, perfect, I can get on a horse and be in a film at the same time!

So I went in to have a meeting with Matthew (Holmes, the director) and he tells me about this minor role, which was John Dunn.

So, originally I was one of the three gang members but I had one line. That was fine with me because I got to be in a film and ride a horse!

I loved the character and I did all this extra research and found information that no one else had found. We’re all looking for opportunities and I fought for it. Because it was a short film, I had the confidence to fight for the role because I felt that he was such a key character in the events. Little did I know the film would be turned into a feature, and John Dunn became one of the main characters.

“We’re all looking for opportunities and I fought for it”

If I was going for a feature audition, I probably wouldn’t have been so confident. But I was like, it’s a short film! Easy! One line, I’ve got this.

Tell us about the role social media has played through out the production of the film, from short film to feature?

Will: They started the fundraiser campaign using social media and raised over a $100,000. Which is insane! That allowed them to go from a 10 minute short film to a 40-50 minute telemovie.

So we filmed that and in our first round of filming, we only got to about half an hours worth of footage. So we had to decide whether to continue as a telemovie or rebrand and turn it into a feature. They tried the crowdfunding again and unfortunately it wasn’t as successful as the last one. But it was enough to get interest back in there. And that time around, we ended up getting  investors involved which was what we really needed and thats what made it.

“We’re going to show you the struggles, we’re going to show you the triumphs”

We wouldn’t have gotten investors without Matthew’s Facebook posts. He basically opened up the whole filming process to the public. He said, “here you go, we’re going to give you all the information of this production! We’re going to give you inside access to behind the scenes. We’re going to show you the struggles, we’re going to show you the triumphs. We’re going to show you our actors.”

He basically opened up the whole panel to the public. He really got the community involved and that’s how the interest lasted.

They definitely have provided a very open access for pretty much everyone to have a look at the process, which makes people personally invested in the production.

Will: It’s not easy to keep people’s interest for two years. We went through a lull and I think the key to avoiding any problems for the two years was to stay truthful.

Will Lee as John Dunn in the Legend of Ben Hall. Screen grab from the film
Will Lee as John Dunn in The Legend of Ben Hall, from the site’s gallery.

For example, with the film, making sure when things were posted they were genuine updates about the film and not trying to create interesting things to show people. The last thing you want to do is start to allude to something that’s not there.

I think what Matthew did really well, he kept it really honest and that allowed us to have the audience come back to us two years later when we started to actually promote the feature film release. It was something genuinely exciting. The audience connected to the journey and the teaser had over 10,000 views in the first week and that was with no paid promotion, they were all just genuine clicks.

Thats amazing! So to wrap up can you tell us about your favourite social media platforms that you are on and why?

Will: I have the three main players: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. They all play very different parts. Facebook I have my personal profile, and then I have my professional page. I try to keep my personal one restricted to my friends and family. I update them with things in my life.

Whereas I use my professional page with the tone of ‘I’m a business’. I’m giving the followers updates on the business and the product. Which is really hard to say, because we’re not a product, we’re just people. I only started it because Ben Hall called for it, we needed more opportunities to promote the film. The Ben Hall page was doing amazingly well but we needed to show that other platforms were supporting it as well.

“We’re not a product, we’re just people”

The way I see it is, “what updates do my family want” and that allows me to take myself out of it, with my self judgement and I can post anything that I feel is appropriate and I think I’m doing alright. This way I make the audience a part of the family. I don’t think they feel bombarded. Sometimes I’m worried I’ll get a message saying, hey mate you should probably slow down.

I share information that excites me about my projects and also highlights the things that Matthew has already put up. He’s the super machine behind it really.

End Interview.


A big thank you to Will Lee for joining me for this weeks blog post! It’s unfortunate that we weren’t able to capture the interview in all its multimedia glory but there is one clip from the interview that was usable.

Ironically, it was the moment just before we began the interview, after briefly discussing the structure of the questions.

 

Do you have any examples of Australian film marketing done well?
Are you in the industry and want me to feature you in my blog?

Leave a comment or get in touch and let me know!

 

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Posted in Blog, Branding, social media, vlog

One Minute Movie Expectations: Magnificent Seven

Welcome to my new series of
One Minute Movie Expectations

In this series I will briefly describe what I’m expecting from a movie based on the marketing around the film (personal biases included).

One Minute Movie Expectations: Magnificent Seven from Claire Frost on Vimeo.

Transcript:

Magnificent Seven is coming and I’m so excited! So they don’t have much marketing outside of the trailer, and the trailer is FREAKING cool!

It’s got an all star cast and it’s really exciting. So they still have Instagram and Twitter, but they’re not providing any extra content outside of what’s already been shown in the trailer. But it’s important to have those hubs so that the community can go to these platforms and still engage with it. So it’s cool that they have those platforms, but they’re not actually adding anything extra to it.

But they don’t need to, because they’ve got Chris Pratt. They’ve got Denzel, I should’ve said Denzel first because he’s the coolest and he’s really cool. We’ve got D’Onofrio who’s like a bear guy, and he’s so cool. And then we’ve got Sarsgaard. Guys, Peter Sarsgaard, have you seen him being all… grrr.

Anyway, it’s really cool and I’m just expecting guns and and action and really fun things. I haven’t seen the original but I don’t feel like I need to in order to really get that full excitement from what’s coming.

Based on the marketing and advertising, what were you expecting from Magnificent Seven?

Leave a comment or get in touch and let me know!

Posted in Blog, Branding, social media, Transmedia Communication, Uncategorized

Advertising Hype for Suicide Squad

I saw the first Suicide Squad trailer like most people – leaked footage from the 2015 Comic Con. I’m ashamed of myself. It felt like a dirty one night stand, I wish I’d held off for the official release but FOMO hit me hard and I was so excited!

Trailers have made a habit of leaving no mystery for films, but I must say I loved each trailer for Suicide Squad, even with the abrupt tonal change between trailer 1 and trailer 2 (I would’ve preferred the film depicted in trailer 1 for what it’s worth).

Flashback image of myself dressed as Harley Quinn for my 21st birthday and my friends dressed as Poison Ivy, Catwoman, the Huntress and Bat Girl
Flashback: with a Batman theme for my 21st, I went as Harley Quinn.

Raging Harley Quinn fans (myself included) were losing their minds to finally see a real life adaption of the character since her debut in Batman the Animated Series (1992).

Random Fact: through research for this article I did find Birds of Prey,with Ferris Bueller star Mia Sara as Harley. It looks terrible! Pretty sure I need to see it now.

Of course the advertising capitalised on the introduction of Harley Quinn, played by the amazing Australian actress Margot Robbie. It then focused on the much anticipated return of the Joker. And then when you don’t trust the DC fandom enough you pump the engine on the star power, I’m not necessarily judging the casting, I’m saying the big wigs at the studio pushed the bejesus out of character and casting.

Exhibit A: The instagram account.

suicide squad instagram logo marketing social media joker harley quinn
“What are we? Some kind of Will Smith movie?”

Hello… Story? Narrative? Are you there?
Nope, just a bunch of cool looking people doing cool looking things. Somewhat reflective of the film, don’t ya think? #notthatthereisanythingwrongwiththat

There are many documented issues happening within the DC cinematic universe (Nerdist sums it up pretty well) and it breaks my heart. But the marketing for Suicide Squad has been pretty much consistent across all channels, and this consistency has enabled a strong brand equity and a pretty firm grounding for fans to lose their minds with excitement.

Each person involved in the film was active in their own social media profiles promoting the film. While I’m sure a level of this was contractually obliged, you can sense a level of joy from them being involved. And where there is joy, there is likely to be at least fun.

The negative reviews didn’t seem to have a mass effect on audiences as the hype allowed a sense of intrigue, potentially heightened by the bad reviews.

So many things worked in favour for Suicide Squad in their marketing, that I wonder if good marketing and PR (and casting) will help save the DC world from total annihilation (Dear God, I hope Ben Affleck can save the next Batman film).

Side note: after listening to  /filmcast it’s interesting to note that the theatrical film version was re-edited by the company that edited the trailer. Showing a clear prominence in the perception of film through the lens of marketing, seemingly to the detriment of artistic expression.

What did you think of the marketing and Suicide Squad? Are you like this guy and wanted to sue?

Leave a comment or get in touch and let me know!