July 20, 2016 at 4:49PM
DEAR MR. FILMMAKER, please fire your marketing guy.
Dear Mr. Filmmaker,
I want to start with thanking you for being a storyteller who has consistently engaged me and minds alike for more than a decade.
I am sure the reason why I love your films so much more than the others, is because I 'connect' with your films.It saddens me to know that many of my fellow countrymen and women do not, which has meant lesser audience for you, for more than a decade.
But that does not mean that your stories were not well made. It means that you need to immediately fire your Marketing Strategist, who has been screwing you over for your entire film career, telling you to include marketable content in your carefully crafted film. And hire me. Even a eight grade student can understand that the job of a director is to ensure a story well told and it is the job of your marketing strategist to make sure that every moving thing on the streets must come and watch your film.
Sure, since your films were so great, they eventually found their audience. By word of mouth. But meanwhile you did lose something really essential, time. Time that costed you delayed financial recovery.
Why is it that good stories are not enough. We need 'stars' for our movies to work. Why ? Because, by reading the paparazzi bites we the audiences find our escape routes from the reality in our stars and their lives of abundance. Holistically their lives became 'a hero's journey'.
This is the reason why I am writing you this letter. A film must start and end in the cinemas, agreed. But your character's must start breathing their backstories way before the film gets released. The characters must start breathing in a way that they find an 'empathetic connection' with the audience. The audiences look for a specific empathetic connection. But what we have been providing them is a generalised connection. Now the question is how specific do we get ? I can't make a TV spot specifically for a boy studying electronics engineering, who still has to wear a uniform to his private college in India. Of Course not.
Consider this scenario. I make a one min short film about the protagonist's rebel against uniform, and it will resonate with every kid attending any private college which expects a uniform as a part of their code of conduct. Of course this short film must fall in the realm of the characters back story. This creates an 'empathetic connection' with the character much before the film is slated to be released.
However,an uneducated rickshaw-driver might not find a personal connection in that story. For him being appreciated for his work is really essential, which he seldom receives. Being respected in the society is essential. This is not speculation. This is first hand research.
Yes, there are foot falls in this approach as well. If the obstacles in these shorts are holistically much more bigger than the actual film then the feature film might fall flat. Also, please be aware that this approach cannot be used for films with star's. They work because stars are exclusive.
Why do I believe that this approach would work ? We are engaging the audience in a series of shorts which bear the same tone as the feature length film and which makes the character reach the entry point of the film. Sounds familiar ? It is exactly like watching a TV series. More than the plot we are concerned about what happens with our characters. And this is why if your shorts leading to the film are engaging and good, the audience will be present to see the next episode of this character in cinemas, to know what happens to him/her.
My onus is to open a dialogue, to do what it takes to pave a better path for PRODUCING & DISTRIBUTING content driven films.To be in a space where we are not stuck with the slave mentality of succumbing to the problems surrounding us.
Heck, we are in the creative industry. Let's just be creative !