You see a trailer or poster, read or hear reviews and thus decide (on the basis of one or other snapshot) whether or not you want to see a movie. In this vein, I saw the trailer for the upcoming Warner Brothers' movie 300. It was clearly the story of Sparta derived from a graphic novel, it looked ferocious and visually extraordinary, but it didn't seem like my kind of fare and I wasn't hugely inclined to pay to see it.
By chance, I didn't have to because, a few days later, I was invited to a private screening where I watched a much more nuanced movie than I'd expected and then heard director Zack Snyder participate in an extended and fascinating Q & A session. Fascinating because this, more than any other marketing effort, transmitted to me the dedication, effort and enthusiasm that is invested in the years it takes to bring a movie to fruition.
The combination of a personable, unpretentious and funny director and informed and passionate questioners (comprising graphic novel fans and bloggers) made it much more authentic than the endless, tired interviews of the promotion circus in which a series of hacks ask the same hackneyed questions of the same tired actors/directors as a preamble to a clip being shown on some broadcast media outlet. Purely on the basis of that, I will be in the queue for any Zack Snyder movie in the future.
It's the sort of sociable media that should be intrinsic to the marketing of the movie and not just be destined to be a DVD extra and this time it won't be because, as the Warner executives with whom I drank afterwards explained, they are trying to facilitate the needs of bloggers by providing access to a media website from which they could freely extract clips, trailers and official images. The film of the Q and A will be added to it (and I will append it here when it is).
Now, as yet, this process is not (to this blogger at least) as simple as embedding a Youtube video and there is a superfluous requirement for copyright messages to be appended, but it is clearly the way forward. In the future, the heads of agents, actors and producers need to be banged together in order to create a cache of "copyright-free" materials relating to a movie that can be given away so that bloggers, fans or whoever can use it as they choose.
There really isn't a downside because, as Samuel Goldwyn once said, "If people don't want to go to the picture, nobody can stop them."