September 2, 2010

Tips on transmedia film-making and marketing

It’s interesting times for the film industry, as new technologies (like 3-D) and social channels (like Twitter and Facebook) open up new opportunities for film-makers to tell their stories, engage audiences and ultimately generate greater revenues for the studios.

In the last couple of years, we’ve excitingly been working at the coal-face of this transmedia film-making space developing up strategies and helping run transmedia campaigns for Paramount Pictures – working on campaigns from Watchmen to Iron Man II.

As with any new developing space, it’s taken a bit of time to find our feet and work out the dynamics between content and communities, and how best to make these two work together – i.e. optimising the online communities experience of content and with it film narrative. And this optimised relationship between communities and content is the key to a successful transmedia campaign, as from a marketing perspective you’re looking to engage the communities to a level that not only makes them want to come and watch your film, but also advocate and share (tell friends).

To give a sense of the different factors at play, we’ve developed up a rough model as follows:


Key points that may need expaining a bit more in this model are:

– Content types: when developing up transmedia content there’s always the balance as to how narrative-based you want to make the content. The trade-off here lies in that the more narrative / film-specific the content, the less mainstream its appeal may be.

– Diamond-shaped influence: the sweet-spot of influence (i.e. a mix of advocacy and reach) will always generally sit between niche activity and mainstream activity – enabling (hopefully) to tap into both camps. Obviously this is a difficult line to tread – but possible.

– Example content: there isn’t a rule as to what content works best where, however these are some examples. Much of the “narrative-themed” content (on the left) could also move more mainstream (towards the middle) if executed well.