Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Film's equivalent of the great song?

When comparing the music and film worlds, and how they might react to digital, build fans, etc., people often talk about the differences - one being that film doesn’t have the equivalent of the single track, the one song. Many musicians have been able to do things like give away a free track to get you to sign up with your email for updates from them, or give away a track to entice you to buy the album, etc. I’ve been thinking about this today and think film does have the equivalent - it’s what Peter Dekom calls “moments” or those things that people see and remember, tell their friends about, laugh about over the virtual water cooler. You know, like when Napoleon Dynamite’s uncle hits him in the face with a steak, your favorite line from Monty Python or perhaps the most infamous - “you lookin’ at me?” moments. These are our equivalent to the great single.

This is obvious, of course, and I’m simplifying things a bit, but oddly, I’ve not heard it discussed at all (clue me in to what I missed in the comments). I think the problem for film is that we’ve bastardized our moments, chiefly through trailers. Trailers often include such moments, but they’re mashed up in a hodge podge that actually does disservice to the film (okay, yes, it sells films or Hollywood wouldn’t use them, but watch this to see how bad they are). It would be better to just set those moments free - literally, and hope they go viral (or do more than hope with some strategy, but that’s for another post). I’m amazed that we still don’t have video ringtones - my cell should be able to “ring” to Singin’ In the Rain with a video clip of the performance. Perhaps this would go viral and then some kids would rediscover it and pay to watch it (ok, they’d pirate it...but because they don’t have a credit card). I’d love to be able to share quite a few moments from indie films with my friends, but the trouble is, I can’t easily find them on the filmmaker’s websites unless they are buried in some trailer. I’m not taking the time to tell my friends to forward to timecode of 1:50 for the funny part, or poignant part, because I know they won’t bother. Filmmakers should be releasing these moments online, and early on. Sure, there’s an argument to saving the best ones for the theater (or DVD), but I think most of us can use all the free PR possible. It’s much more likely that these moments will be traded virally than your stupid trailer. If your moments are good enough, people might pay for the film - IF you make that easy for them as well. If you’re lucky, these moments might actually go viral and get seen more often than your film, but that’s not bad either - I’d be happy being the filmmaker with the one moment that hit 3 million views on YouTube - as would my future investors, I imagine.

Anyway, just some quick thoughts - a rarity around these parts (meaning my long winded blog). Whatcha think?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great observation! It's the 'moments' that are sadly all to lacking these days, or worse still are self consciously constructed moments but lacking that authenticity of the real thing when it works so well on film. Great post!