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Show Business — Oh Yeah, It’s a Business

The Most Amazing Photo Filed Under "Business"

Years ago, when I was trying to decide upon what my next move would be after college, I briefly considered getting an MBA in Entrepreneurship or Management. I have to admit, I am incredibly happy that I decided against it. Just like my rationale with film school, I figured there was little point in sinking $100,000 into a degree if it’s not necessary. In fact, after turning down (twice) a chance to earn an MA in Journalism at USC, I told the vice president of human resources at my job last week that the last five years have BEEN my MA program — and I earned money while learning!

Anyway, all that being said, I know that I have a lot to learn about business in general. It does help that I am somewhat entrepreneurial and business-driven. I just don’t like the ickiness of being A Suit. Really, I commend the people who have a punch card at Brooks Brothers and looooooove to talk dividends, but that ain’t me. At least not completely. I find finance, economy, management, leadership, startups, all that stuff to be kind of interesting. But, if I want to be a producer, I have to know things beyond “oh, that’s kind of interesting…”

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Kevin Smith Crazy Excites Me

A-freaking-mazing:

Kevin Smith plans to release his new horror movie Red State himself, the writer-director declared at the film’s first public screening at the Eccles Theatre on Sunday night.

Smith had suggested for weeks that he would hold an auction post-screening for rights to his film, but ultimately announced that he would take the movie on the road himself throughout 2011 ahead of a planned Oct. 19 release. He paid himself a token $20 for the privilege, and he hopes that the roadshow will make some of the movie’s roughly $4 million budget back.

“What we need to prove is that anyone can release a movie,” Smith said from the Eccles stage as part of a long and profanity-laced speech after the movie ended during which he championed Harvey Weinstein as an inspiration and mentor. “Indie film isn’t dead, it just grew up. It is just indie film 2.0 now. In indie film 2.0, we don’t let them sell our movie, we sell our movie ourselves.”

This is what I’m talking about!! This is exciting. I hope this bodes well for indies looking to crack into the distributing market. So many filmmakers have to rely on these big studios to buy, market, and distribute their film. While this is all well and good, not all deserving movies make it through the process.

Seth Godin (kind of) on network programming

I watched this TED talk (below), an archived talk from marketing guru Seth Godin. The main message of this one was advertising and marketing is no longer about the in-your-face stuff. It’s about being remarkable to the early adapters — the people who are actually seeking something to care about. The obsessed. The fanatics. The nerds.

Because eventually, those people will tell their friends and family about this really awesome pair of sneakers they came upon, and then those people will at least check them out and consider them, if not buy them.

Basically, I see the same ideas really working in television and films. Just as I wrote about earlier, marketers and programmers can’t expect everything to be universally appealing to everyone. Why do some networks go after the big ratings numbers as opposed to going after key fans who are incredibly engaged to the programming? I am completely aware of how advertising works, but doesn’t broad programming turn away people who would be true fans of a show if it skewered its humor or its action in a way to capture a truly captive audience? I understand that more eyes = more $$$, but when you have a truly engaged, albeit smaller, audience, aren’t they more receptive to the advertising and brand messaging crafted around it?

I am a true, true fan of the show Mad Men, and I don’t see them caving in to the pressures of its fans or of advertisers to be a certain way. Is there integrated advertising on that show? You bet. It’s a show about advertising. How could they not have integrated advertising. But I’m much more engaged watching that than, say, an episode of Two and a Half Men playing in the background of my living room while I tidy up around the house or clear out my inbox…

So basically, we’re talking about two of the most successful shows in the country, but their success is measured in two different ways: Two and a Half Men, while it has won an Emmy here and there, is basically your standard mass-appeal show of obvious jokes and sitcommy situations. But still, it beat all of the other shows in the ratings last night with a rerun! Mad Men is a show for true fans; no, they’re not slaughtering the ratings, but it garners high-end advertisers, awards, acclaim, and engaged fans who go out and buy merchandise like DVD box sets.  No one goes to work pining to talk with their coworkers about last night’s episode where Charlie did _______. Personally, I don’t want to go to work on Monday if I haven’t caught up on Mad Men, because I know someone will spoil what happened to Joan.

I think I know which camp I want to be in when the time comes…

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