Looking at search results, it seems to be believed that social media kills creativity. In fact, I said goodbye to social media myself not so long ago. Yet this decision was grounded mostly in the realization that it didn’t expand my horizon as much as I would’ve liked. While social media can take up a lot of time, it can also be a great booster on a professional level. The film industry gives us a few effective uses of social media.
Steven Spielberg is presenting the first trailer for his greatly anticipated Lincoln film in a very innovative fashion. During a Google+ Hangout on September 13, 2012, at 4 p.m. PT, free to anyone, he chatted to fans. Joseph Gordon-Levitt also joined in on the video conference. Participating was only limited to those who use Google+.
This is much more engaging than another rising trend in the world of cinema marketing: teasers for trailers. Now it’s often the case that the studio releases short clips to announce the full trailer.
Combining the launch of a trailer with a talk certainly is creative, and it allows for immediate feedback. This is where the power of social media comes into motion. It gives the studio a way to tell the story behind the film interactively, in addition to the traditional making-of documentary.
A couple of years ago, director Christopher Nolan — a man who uses no email or smartphone — held a live commentary to The Dark Knight for viewers of the Blu-ray release. 100,000 people sat at home, watching the film on their screens, and they also heard Mr. Nolan walk them through the film. This is, in essence, a form of a social media event. Now Steven Spielberg releases a trailer in a similarly social fashion for the first time ever.
These are two examples of how an interaction with customers can lead to happy customers. The response to Christopher Nolan’s commentary was more than positive. I myself missed it, but it would be a nice extra feature for any other film. People like to be part of what they love, whether it’s movies or something else. Creativity feeds on inspiration, and in many cases, social media is the bridge between an idea and making it reality.
What if film directors would allow a selected group of loyal fans to be part of the creative process? Even the greatest artists need inspiration, and this can come from anywhere. Whether an artist reads books, engages in conversation, or simply sits and ponders, inspiration is kindled by an outside source in a direct or indirect fashion.
Film trailers have always been the primary marketing tool in the film industry, though it wasn’t until the Internet allowed acceptable download speeds that film trailers became accessible outside the cinema. In 1999, people paid full ticket price for a movie they didn’t want to see just to walk out again after having seen the trailer for Star Wars Episode I.
Social media can diminish the barrier between fans and the corporations controlling the film business. The times are changing, so who knows how much social media will be involved? In many cases, studios have been persuaded to release new versions of Blu-ray editions if customers were unsatisfied with the quality. People can have a strong voice. Just like with LEGO, improvisation and adapting to trends can lead to a greater, more gratifying product. Social media is like LEGO: it’s accessed and assessed by its very versatility.
Just like anything else, social media needs to be used in moderation if its positive effects are going to be felt. How do you feel about social media? Does it inspire creativity for you, or does it take away from the process? Leave a comment and share!
Image: Averene under CC