I wish that I could say that dealing with the media was an easy task and that you [as a film-maker, artist or musician] are able to get their attention without any hassle; however that is not really the case.
Whether you turn on the news to watch the local news program on tv or by a paper at the local news stand, it all seems to look the same. Violence, corruption and politics usually take up most of the time [or space] and anything that someone tries to do that is positive or good seems to barely get mentioned or given a ten second slot. Let’s face it; it is what it is…a big pain in the rear for anyone trying to do something creative or supportive.
Even we have been struggling with this disregard [and ‘neglect’] when it comes to trying to show the people in our area who we are, what we do and why we do it. It actually brings me back to the 1994 movie Airheads [with Brendan Fraser, Steve Buscemi and Adam Sandler] “Three band members hoping for a big break head to a radio station to play their demo tape and wind up holding everyone hostage with plastic guns when the head DJ refuses to play them.” For anyone who has been in this predicament [with the news] and has seen the movie, it seems to go hand in hand.
There is a part in the movie where Judd Nelson‘s character makes a comment of “Well, then maybe a gimmick would help. The cream always rises, OK?” and it got me to thinking; in all honesty, it seems that you need a gimmick or a blatant lie in order to gain attention from the press.
Sadly, it does come with the times and it is the world that we live in. Example, someone trying to raise money to renovate a college football stadium will get air time. A independent film group trying to raise money for a film does not. Technically they are both forms of entertainment [football and films] and they both have the possibility to bring money back into that local area, however the difference is one is widely followed and liked by many, the other is not widely known about [even to the local public].
Well, how do you create a stir large enough to gain publicity and become known? Again, we [as far as I am concerned] come back to the gimmick. The Blair Witch Project [although, in personal opinion, was not a real good film] had a nifty gimmick in their back pocket for its publicity stunt. They had a ground-breaking campaign by the studio to use the Internet and suggest that the film was a record of real events. Looking back at it you think, ‘WTF that is kind of a lame idea and is easy to call BS on” but it worked. They managed to gross over $200,000,000 at the office with a rumored budget of somewhere around $60,000. With all of that being said, I want you to think about something for a moment. Think about how successful the movie may have been if they didn’t use their gimmick of advertising. Would Blair Witch have gotten the same return at the box office? Would it have been as successful and widely known?
Why is this being written?
It’s honest and simple, it seems [in my opinion] that even if you send out a press release, even if you pay someone to write it, unless it involves a major accident, murder, corruption, gangs, having dirt on a politician, assaults or a gimmick, chances are you will be ignored by your local media and press. We sent out press releases, with the hopes to reach more people in our area in lieu of our fundraising campaign for one of our films. Simple concept to us, ‘hey if everyone [from our area] donated a dollar, we would have no problem making a film’. Evidently, it wasn’t interesting enough for our local media and press people. But hey, that’s okay…we’ll be armed with something good enough that they won’t turn away next time.