I have never failed so completely and catastrophically at anything in my life. That’s the thought that played over and over again in my head for the past couple days. I had lost all my motivation for anything. The huge revolutionary dreams of changing the world and making it the way it should be and not settling were dying… and there was nothing left of me. I couldn’t read. I couldn’t watch TV. I finally managed to find a video game to play that was sufficiently removed from what I want to do creatively and managed to distract myself.
And I rested.
* * *
And then, yesterday morning, I had a thought. I hadn’t failed. Everything I actually tried to do with ALGORITHM exceeded far beyond my hopes and expectations. And the simple fact is, I haven’t really tried to market ALGORITHM, which explains why the sales numbers are so dismal.
I’m afraid of marketing. It’s something both my brothers are exceedingly good at, and at which they make a fairly good living at. I’ve asked them for advice constantly on how I should promote ALGORITHM and the crowd funding campaign, but since they’re mostly used to dealing with multi-million-dollar ad budgets, their advice was limited. They’re good at what they do, it just doesn’t apply to what I’m doing.
I’m afraid of marketing because it means making myself cool, and I was never cool. I had lots of friends in school, but never, not once, would anyone have ever called me cool. And now, I’ve got to be a part of that “in” crowd. The fact that I even used that term proves my point.
Nevertheless, if I want a career making movies, then I’ve got to take all the focus and dedication I’ve put in to making the movie and turn that towards marketing. I have no idea where to start. I have no idea what can be done without breaking the law. I have no idea how to contact the media in such a way as to make ALGORITHM appear like a story they want to cover.
But, those are things I’m going to learn. I either figure it out, or I pick a different way of life… and I’ve tried the latter. I suck at it. I owe it to the cast and crew… to my wife who believes and supports my dreams. I owe it to myself and all the hard work I’ve already done.
I suspect I’m now entering what is easily the hardest, most competitive part of the movie business… the business part.
* * *
There is a lie that’s going around—that the way Hollywood does things is the right way because they’re successful at it. The fact is, they’re not very good at it. They’re actually pretty awful at it. They see what some innovative artist does, and then they copy it until it stops making money. Then, they keep doing it until it loses so much money that the people who think it’s a good idea are fired.
Many times in the past, the studios have gone bankrupt and been sold, either to other studios, or to massive multi-national conglomerates. Or, sometimes they just shut their doors and sell their library of movies to another company. The clearest picture of this is Orion. I know they went bankrupt because the director’s commentary on UHF has Weird Al singing “Orion is bankrupt now,” to the Orion theme. It, like many Weird Al songs, stuck in my head.
But, I digress.
* * *
The studios are bad at it. The reason they’re bad at it is because it’s hard. They have people whose only job is to figure out what the next best thing is going to be. Those people are very smart, very well educated, and very very well paid. And they still fail more often than they succeed.
Back before I decided to become a director, when I was a screenwriter, I worked with a producer named Marcieanna. She told me that everyone in Hollywood is very intense, and very demanding, because they all know that their most recent day of work could be their last. They could get fired at any moment because the likelihood that their work will fail is high.
* * *
And now, without the education, without the experience, and without the money, I’ve got to do what they do, and I’ve got to be better at it. I can’t fail because it’s not like I’ve got another job lined up. This is it. I don’t have a backup plan.
* * *
Welcome to the section of this journal that will cover ALGORITHM’s marketing.