Wednesday, September 29, 2010

So Lemme Ask Ya...

It's not every day that a colossal egotist like "Moi" asks for advice... But what the heck, I give enough of it, so why not?

As you know, I'm developing a new web-based (or as the kids call it, "Transmedia") property entitled BRAIN EATIN' ZOMBIE BABIES. I've got seven episodes online with more coming shortly.

I've followed my own advice (See my earlier post "Guerilla Marketing 101") and have contacted the usual media outlets (stuff is pending). I've crafted a custom ZOMBIE BABIES video to appeal to the owners of a hugely popular site, in the hopes of getting a link + the accompanying spike in hits to my YouTube Channel. We're submitting it for consideration next week.

On the community level, we're sponsors of the TORONTO ZOMBIE WALK, taking place on October 23rd, with links on their site and Facebook pages. I'm also having several hundred really cool ZOMBIE BABIES pins made up to give away at the event.

SO HERE'S THE QUESTION: Despite all my hard efforts, I've only got about 2,500 hits on my YouTube Channel. I need hundreds of thousands. How can I build traffic more successfully?
Any suggestions?


Monday, September 27, 2010

Start Small...

We were chatting with an Intellectual Properties and Trademark Lawyer the other day. He specializes in doing licensing deals for entertainment brands. He's worked on some very large accounts, having started on some of them, when they were very small accounts.

As we chatted about BRAIN EATIN' ZOMBIE BABIES, he told me about a game that he plays: When a new project crosses his desk, he keeps notes about which ones he thinks will win - that is, which would become big successes - and which ones would fail. And he was honest about it: He was often wrong. He's been in the business a long time, so he goes waaaay back:

The Pet Rock - He figured this to be a loser. The creator of the Pet Rock actually made an awful lot of money.

Cabbage Patch Kids - He thought Xavier Roberts was crazy. No one would ever buy these ugly dolls.

He ran down a long list of properties where he'd been wrong. And a long list of properties where he'd been right. It worked out to be about even. Again proving William Goldman's rule: NOBODY KNOWS ANYTHING.

So what advice did he give me? With the internet and social networking as they are today, the opportunities for an individual to build a brand have never been better. If you're lucky, it doesn't cost a lot of money and it doesn't take a lot of time. There are a lot of people who create memes, but its accidental, so they don't know what to do with them - or don't have a plan in place until its too late.

Be ready. Work at it. Start small and work to grow it as you would any business.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

As I sit down to write...

Exciting times. Things are busy. I've got a lot of commissioned work in house. Turning out more Brain Eatin' Zombie Babies episodes and while I have a minute to breathe, I get to sit down and write.

My old producing parter from Freaky Stories and I have teamed up to pitch a new project - a live action comedy for the tween market. Its a great meeting of minds, drawing insight from both of our industry experience. Will anything come of it? There's no way of knowing - except that we have to pitch it. You will never win if you never try. Fingers crossed!

Friday, September 10, 2010


Okay. So let's talk about manners. Manners are the way you present yourself to the industry. What raises this topic? Lemme tell ya a story. Pull up a chair...

I was contacted by an up-and-coming, would-be producer who wanted his script polished, so that he could pitch it to a broadcaster. That sounds reasonable. He represented himself to me as being an experienced animation producer - but something was fishy. What he said, didn't add up. In a few minutes, he confessed that he was really in fact, a first-year animation student who wanted to pitch a show.

I have to confess that I too, was once an eager young filmmaker - ready to take on the world...

Okay... so he emails over his script. I read it. It was "okay". Not great. Not stinky. Just "okay". I asked what his intended use would be for the finished film - Is this a student project? Or is this a promo film for a pitch?

You see - if this is a student project, the script would be fine with some tiny cosmetic changes. But if he's pitching this in a professional arena, he's talking on everyone in the world to make that TV sale - and his script needs to be GREAT! "Okay" won't do. He said that this was intended to be a professional pitch. I told him that it needed some work and suggested that he read THE SCREENWRITER'S PROBLEM SOLVER by Syd Field and watch DUCK SOUP by The Marx Bros. Honestly - that's good advice that I'd recommend to everyone.

Our young would-be producer told me that another screenwriter had read his script and thought it was fine as-is. I agreed that everyone was entitled to their opinion and wished him well.

End of story, or so I thought.

The next night, the young would-be producer called me. He had the other screenwriter on the line - demanding to know exactly how I thought the young producer's script could be improved. He thought it was fine! Then he demanded to know my credits. What I'd written, what I'd sold, when and to which studio...

What a complete yutz. I hung up on both of them. Then I sent the would-be producer a note, instructing him never to contact me again.

Okay guys. Here's the thing: Everyone is entitled to their opinion. When you combine that with the sage wisdom that "Nobody Knows Anything" - you get some key information. What I like, may not be someone else's cup of tea. And vice versa. The other screenwriter thought it was fine - I thought it needed work. Both opinions are valid... BUT...

If someone turns you down, thank them for their time and insight - THEN LEAVE.

DO NOT EVER trot out your own expert/mother/teacher to argue with the person who has turned you down. That is the epitome of amateur-hour behavior. You will never get another meeting with your contact - and you will get a bad reputation in the industry - FAST.

Consider this a Public Service.

Now, I may be entirely wrong. The kid might be a genius. His film might be Oscar caliber material (I've been wrong in the past - but not often) and in two years time, he'll be wagging it in my face, going "Nyah Nyah Nyah... Told ya so!" But in this case, I don't think so.