Posts Tagged ‘communicate’

Michael Bay’s PR Damage Control

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

For marketers and PR professionals, timely communication with your audience is important to maintaining a strong brand. In a world where news, opinions, reviews, and customer feedback is almost instantaneous, issues must be dealt with now, not later. You must actively engage in an upfront and honest manner. Consider the following story about director Michael Bay’s recent PR mishap (from Cinematical.com)

Never keep hundreds of people waiting in the rain for hours. Michael Bay, Shia LaBeouf, and Megan Fox did just that in South Korea on June 9. An estimated crowd of 600 fans and press lined up in Seoul early to see the red-carpet premiere of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, according to Screen Daily, and were then disappointed when the Transformers entourage arrived 80 minutes late, spending only a few minutes with the crowd. Members of the press were further distressed when the group arrived 30 minutes late to a scheduled news conference the next day, and some staged a walk-out.

Bay has now issued a written apology, explaining that “traveling from another country, and not allowing enough time for airport delays, city traffic and hotel check-in,” and that the press conference delay was due to the “serious pain” he was experiencing from a pulled back muscle. (The group traveled directly from the premiere in Tokyo, Japan.) Damage control was necessary, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because bloggers had started a campaign to boycott the film in theaters, while local distributor CJ Entertainment insists that interest in the film remains high.

As in the U.S., Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen opens in Korea on June 24. The first Transformers made even more money outside the U.S. than within, so it makes sense to court international audiences, but this incident demonstrates once again that no one likes to be shortchanged or taken for granted.

I particularly like the last line of this article, “No one likes to be shortchanged or taken for granted.” Let your audience know you appreciate them. Communicate with them. Ask for their ideas and input. And utilize the power of video to get your message out to a mass audience.

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Keys for a Happy Film Shoot

Friday, April 17th, 2009

Most people watch the behind-the-scenes featurettes of their favorite movies and see a happy, magical world of glamor. The lights. The cameras. The exotic locations. The smiling faces. Wow, who wouldn’t want to be a filmmaker?

What these documentaries don’t show you is the grueling day in-day out lifestyle of making movies. People get frustrated. The days are long. There are constant physical and mental demands. There are logistical issues. Things go wrong. People lose their cool. Filmmaking is not as glamorous as some make it out to be. For an incredibly honest look at filmmaking, check out Hearts of Darkness – A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse.

As a filmmaker, it’s important to keep everything running efficiently while keeping your team and your actors as happy as possible. Here are a few things to keep in mind for making the set a happy place.

  1. Feed the cast & crew. This is probably the most important thing you can do. A well-fed crew is a happy crew. And a happy crew will put forth more effort. Always have adequate snacks and drinks available. And always break for meals.
  2. Don’t keep your actors waiting. Nothing is worse than a bunch of actors standing around doing nothing. Make sure the call times for your actors are at the last possible moment. There’s no need to have your actors on set when you’re still setting the lights and the camera.
  3. Pad the schedule. On my call sheets, I always try to pad the schedule. I prepare my cast and crew for a long day, so that when we wrap early, they will go home feeling productive.
  4. Don’t lose your cool. Things will go wrong. You will get behind schedule. Someone will frustrate you. However, as director, you need to remain professional. No one wants to work for someone who feels the need to yell at everyone and everything. Respect others and they will respect you.
  5. Know how to communicate effectively. Your film is your vision. You have to know how to communicate that vision to your crew and your actors. When you have a director who can’t answer questions about lighting, or what lens to use, or where the camera should be, or where the actors should go, you will have people who feel as though their time is being wasted. Soon you will find that you have lost their respect, because you haven’t prepared. Know what you need, where you need it, and why you need it. A director who can communicate clearly and effectively is a director people will want to work with again.

Here’s to having a happy shoot. Cheers.

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