Story + Identity = Meaning = SUPER Success

UnknownStories help make meaning of life. It’s through stories that we come to understand social and cultural life, and who we are.  We are attracted to stories of celebrities and public figures, stories about our favorite TV characters or stories of our friends, because every narrative moment is a reflection of people and life that helps us further understand, craft and tell our own stories. This process of self and meaning making drives our passions and brings purpose to our lives.

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Large group of people dressed as Superman.

Understanding the powerful role of identity and culture formation in the consumption of story is crucial to creating successful story and story experiences in the 21st century. “Selling” story is no longer about making first weekends, it’s about telling meaningful stories and creating engaging story experiences that resonate (click here to see what happened to the film Bruno.)

Stories will thrive if the narrative experience is rich with meaning that moves audiences. When we move audiences we create further engagement and growth of an IP (intellectual property). To grow, story properties must be relatable and provide audiences with a reflection of their own selves, or at least a reflection to stoke their current understanding of self. It is here that story engagement, evangelism and commitment thrives, and thus your story IP.

The most successful stories today and in the future will be those that engage audiences at the level of human, inspiring them to embrace, resonate and celebrate their humanity, thus allowing them to find deeper meaning as they craft their own stories.

Monetizing New Hollywood = Audience Satisfaction

imagesHow do you monetize the new Hollywood? I believe there are several answers to this daunting question (depending on IP, existing business models, etc.), but the foundation of where sustainable answers will evolve can be found in building models that are in favor of the audience.

What?! Give the audience power?!

For many who have worked a long time in the entertainment industry, this is an insane idea to wrap their heads around. This industry has spent the last 100 years telling the world what stories to consume and how to consume them. Audiences had no other choice but to accept our models if they wanted to be entertained.

Well, that is not the case anymore. Hollywood no longer owns the marketplace on storytelling Continue reading

A Brüno Case Study: The 2009 Audience uprising! (Part 2)

Part 2 – The Social Media Revolution

How did Brüno go from being the #1 movie in America to #3 in less than 24 hours?

Many people have tried to explain why Brüno crashed on its opening weekend. Some have blamed the filmmaker and others the marketing campaign. But Universal did their best with a bad movie on their hands. The most important factor effecting the unprecedented decline in ticket sales from that Friday to Saturday night, was the unaccounted for rise of social media. Let’s take a look back at what was occurring in the sociocultural landscape at the time Brüno was releasing.

The Social Media RevolutionFacebook-2011

Back in late 2008/early 2009, while Universal was planning the marketing campaign for Brüno, Facebook and Twitter were exploding and revolutionizing the global social and cultural fabric (the “Year of the Social Network”). Continue reading

A Brüno Case Study: The 2009 Audience uprising! (Part 1)

Part 1 – The Story of Brüno

bruno_posterWith the rise of social media, there has been a dramatic shift in audience behavior and how they gather information and choose which movies to attend. This shift has had a dramatic effect on how we measure a movie’s success (or failure) at the box office, and in the ethos of culture. In the past, opening weekend numbers indicated a film’s success – a testament to the marketing campaign and the studios wisdom in choosing a successful story. Today, social media provides a means for the audience’s voice to grow louder than that of the marketing campaign. Which makes it extremely challenging (if at all possible) to sell a bad movie to the masses.

When did this change? Back in 2009, we saw the shift when Universal’s Brüno hit the marketplace. Let’s break it down and see what happened and what it means for releasing films today. Continue reading

“Veronica Mars” & WB’s $0 investment

Screen Shot 2013-03-16 at 11.04.34 AMThis week fans of “Veronica Mars” become business partners with Warner Bros as they raised over $3.5 million in the last 4 days and are now investors in the creation of the upcoming “Veronica Mars” film.

The “Veronica Mars” television show was on the air for less than 3 years and gathered a huge, passionate, loyal fan base. After the show was cancelled, creator Rob Thomas wrote a script to bring his story to film though Warner Bros chose not to fund it’s creation.

Cut to, this week …. Thomas tried something new, with Warner Bros’ support, he asked his fans to pitch in to fund the making of the film via kickstarter.  Continue reading