What’s The Hype?
Well, EVERYONE’s doing it these days, aren’t they? One can’t go to the cinema without seeing a trailer for a film that isn’t due to be released until the follow year. And what happened to the golden rule that Christmas decorations don’t go up in shops until after Hallowe’en? Well if you happen to be Marks and Spencer or Debenhams then I suppose that golden rule was just itching to be broken.
But what of marketing and why do it in the first place? Well, at its base roots, marketing is about selling a product to the public at a time when it is felt that the public want it. Good marketing is about selling it to the public at a time when they really don’t want it. Marketing Flashback is a bit like that I guess… promoting something that hasn’t even been recorded yet… well, not yet yes but but soon very definitely…
Modern technology is all about communication and marketing, be that a product or a person. Facebook is just one giant marketing campaign, a race to see how many friends can sign up to your page and how important you can become in the social fabric. It is also a great example of the ideal 21st Century type of marketing tool, as it also allows people to sign on as fans of your “page”… oh, not the lowly profile that your mum sees, but of your professional career page… your very own promotional page. So how many of us have them then? Hands up! Ah, thought so… Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing in the slightest the matter with a bit of self-promotion, especially if you want people to learn something about you that they simply must know.
In fact, this Blog is kind of like my Facebook Flashback page, only it allows for more opinions and editorials and ideas to go whizzing out into the virtual universe of the world wide web. I don’t know if anyone is actually reading this stuff but it makes me feel a little better getting it out of my head and onto a crisp white page, even if that page is a virtual one.
At this point in time the Blog is dedicated to dredging up the history or the past of Flashback, what it used to be and where it came from rather than where it is going – although there will shortly come a point where the news is fresh and the updates more relevant to what is occurring. But for now surely, there is time to reminisce. You see, there are so many memories associated with everything we do and yet many of us are simply masters of suppressing those memories in favour of concocting new ones, of living for today, etc. I am guilty of that to an extent. I also have a rather large ego in that I want the things I’ve done to have at least a tiny bit of recognition… I think most people in the media industry have egos but the trick to seeming at least slightly humble about it, is to find people who don’t mind sharing projects for the benefit of our mutual ego expansion.
I love writing. I love directing, and I certainly love editing. I love telling stories but I’m a crap actor. I couldn’t convey a single line convincingly and to some extent that really bothers me. I recall when I was a youth, I had this thing about creating puppet theatres, even with my Star Wars action figures. I’d amuse myself for hours and hours telling tales and speaking dialogue out loud. I’m surprised that to this day my mother didn’t assume I was autistic in some way, preferring to spend time with my puppet actors rather than with real people as I should have. But I just loved stories. I loved hearing them and I loved envisioning myself as the hero of my own inventiveness. Most children play act in the school yard or nearby parks. I was one of those children. You see, I created whole scenarios based on the Six Million Dollar Man or Jon Pertwee’s Doctor Who, and I was the lead character, facing the evil foe in the personage of my sometimes unwilling younger brother. I remember dressing up for Hallowe’en one year after making my very own K9 out of cardboard boxes, paint and a length of rope. I should have been Tom Baker’s version of the Doctor but I was lost somewhere in between, creating my own fictional amalgam of the two portrayals – but maybe that was due to the fact that one of my mother’s wigs (now why on earth did she have wigs? Must have been the fashion in the 70s), was closer to being Pertwee-esque than Baker-esque!
Regardless, as a child I really really really wanted to be an actor. As a teenager though, I didn’t have much opportunity to act in school and by the time I was in university, I was forced to act in my own films or the films of my fellow students… horribly! Thank goodness I saw sense though and as the editor of those films, I often cut myself down to a few lines or cut myself out of the damn things altogether! In many ways the act of doing that made me less precious about my contributions to projects and I feel that has carried over into my writing and directing. It seems now, I can lose bits of amazing dialogue if it isn’t working without a single blink of the eye… well, okay, maybe after ONE blink because there just has to be a tiny period of mourning, doesn’t there? Besides, there’s always opportunity to use those lines or something similar somewhere else!
So how does this relate to people sharing projects to boost their own egos? Well I was just thinking that actors are a lucky breed really. All they have to do is play their role don’t they? They don’t have to worry about writing the other chap’s dialogue or whether the catering van makes vegan meals or whether the funders are holding back money until they are satisfied with the rushes. They just have to act… which is of course one of the most magical and difficult things in any production. I am still in wonder over actors and I know plenty of them. How they manage to get up on stage night after night or subject themselves to auditions by pompous directors, I’ll never know. I admire actors and that admiration must be good for their egos! They act and I do my thing, be that write, direct, produce or edit. Together we make the project and the project makes us one big happy family… hopefully. I say hopefully because I don’t much like conflicts on set or in rehearsals. I like things to go smoothly with a sense of humour and cuppa whenever we need it. But then again I have never had to work with Divas… I just don’t know any… okay, I do, but none of them have ever been Diva-like with me. Maybe it’s me… Hmmm.
I’ve found that if you give an actor some great stuff for them to sink their teeth into, and then allow them to have feedback and perhaps alter the script a bit so that they feel they are contributing loads, then really the project just works. That Flashback video pilot thing all those years ago was like that – a big happy family, despite not taking off and not inflating our egos as it should have. But then again, we all had fun on it. We felt while we were making it that it was something special. And do you know what? It still is something special. So much so that it has compelled me to return to it, like an old friend, ten years later and give it new life as well as a new family. And I guess in doing that, that’s the best sort of marketing a product can possibly get… a campaign that is never forgotten.
So, here’s to the future and whatever it may bring!