Edie Falco Can Solve the Writers Strike the Sopranos Way

November 28, 2007

From the Late Show Writers on Strike. Gotta love it!


Personalize the publicity pitch.

November 28, 2007

When you’re trying to get some attention for your project by pitching it to the traditional press, or bloggers, or film review sites, or whomever, it really helps to personalize the pitch.  Canned pitches are at best,  given a cursory glance; at worst, seen as a turn off. 

Case in point:  As the end of the fall college semester draws near, I’ve been receiving e-mails from college students inquiring about internship opportunities.  (For the record, I’m not taking on interns at this time, but if you’re a college student with a cool blog that covers the entertainment industry or reviews films, let’s talk.  I may be interested in connecting with you on the next film I’m repping.)  These e-mails I get are basically pitches.  The students attempt to pitch themselves to me,  their skills, enthusiasm, talent, their fantastic work ethic, and so on.  Some of them do a pretty good job of personalizing the pitch. I can tell, when I read their cover letter, that they’ve taken the time to read on my website, learn a little about what we do, maybe even do some reading on my blog,  and then tailor their pitch accordingly.  They address the letter to me, by name.  They personalize it.

Then there are the cover letters that arrive addressed to “Whom it may concern.”  Are you kidding me? They’ve gotten my e-mail address and the name of my agency (which happens to include my name)  and yet they don’t know to whom their pitch may concern?  Come on.  That’s just a lazy, canned pitch.  My response?  I hit the delete key.

The same principles apply to publicity pitches for film.  It pays to make the investment of time and effort to learn a little about who you’re going to pitch your film to for coverage.  Chris Thilk of Movie Marketing Madness very eloquently makes this point in his pitching guidelines:

Drop me a line and introduce yourself personally before pitching me. I think it’s just polite. You don’t go up to people on the street and immediately launch into the middle of a conversation. You say hello first. Same rules apply.

Making a personal connection with the person or organization you’re pitching is vital.  You want them to feel that you understand something about them, where they’re coming from, what their interests and priorities are.  What you don’t want them to feel is that you’ve bought an e-mail address database from some direct-marketing company.  Canned pitches that read like spam are treated like spam. 

So even if you have bought a list of 500 journalists, bloggers, critics, and reviewers (and personally, I can think of several other ways to more effectively spend your money), make the effort to figure out which ones are the better fit for the project you’re pitching, and then take some time to personalize your pitch to each one.  Introduce yourself.  Say hello.

WGA Strikes for Slice of Internet Pie, Uses Internet Publicity

November 11, 2007

This has to be one of the most ironic of ironies, right?  The WGA is striking the AMPTP about Internet residuals, among other things, and are doing an excellent job of using the Internet to support their efforts.   You’ve got to admit, no matter which side of the picket line you may find yourself supporting, that the writers are winning when it comes to using the Web for publicity. 

There are a number of great blogs covering the strike, including Variety’s Scribe Vibe. The standout, however, is the unofficial United Hollywood blog, formed by a group of WGAUnited Hollywood Blog’s Badge strike captains.   In addition to posts and open letters by various WGA members, they share messages and pictures they receive from fans.  They’ve got badges, like the one seen here, for supporters to place on their websites, and a ton of links to other related sites, including a site called Strike Swag that is selling solidarity bracelets and tees, and even mentions plans for a men’s bikini brief (lord, please end the strike before it comes to that!).

And then there’s the WGA’s video coverage on YouTube. wgaamerica is posting daily videos of strike activity and getting lots of viewers.  Even Ask the Ninja has joined in the conversation, in his own unique way.

The writers clearly understand the power of the InteAMPTP logornet to promote their product — in this case, their position and the fight for their livelihood — to the public.   

I’ve been looking for a similar Web publicity blitz  from the AMPTP’s point of view. My search results haven’t turned up much.  The official AMPTP’s website has put up a FAQ to address questions related to the strike, and they do appear to update their “breaking news” section to state their position, but that doesn’t pack the same publicity punch.  I haven’t been able to find any good pro-AMPTP blogs.  If anyone knows of  some, please post the links in comments.  It strikes (no pun intended) me very odd that the AMPTP hasn’t taken their position on the argument over residuals for digital downloads, pay-per-view, and Internet streaming, publicly, to the source, and to their ultimate audience — on the Internet.

It begs the question:  who has a better understanding of the value and reach, not to mention the potential revenue, of the Internet?

WGA D-Day Monday? Mayor of LA offers to mediate WGA strike.

November 2, 2007

According to Carl DiOrio’s report in The Hollywood Reporter, and Dave McNary’s report in Variety, WGA has called for a strike. The walkout may start as early as Monday. The Mayor of Los Angeles has stepped in to try to help:

“In a surprise development, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has offered his services to help bring about an agreement between the writers and logo_hollywoodreporter.jpgthe Hollywood TV and film studios. Representatives of the guild and the Hollywood studios held an initial gettogether in the mayor’s office Thursday.”

Anything could happen, but as of now, the immediate future doesn’t look very bright. Stay tuned.

Movie marketing continues its shift to the Internet

November 1, 2007

Chris Thilk points us to evidence of the continuing shift away from marketing in traditional media to online social marketing.  Very interesting stats from internal tracking done by Sony on which forms of media (internet, TV, and in-theater spots) influenced moviegoers to see two recent Sony films.