Creating Your Digital Strategy: Key Points

It’s no secret that the digital age has radically transformed the film and television industry. With box office sales declining, and people cutting their cable in favour of online streaming, producers are scrambling for ways to monetize their content.

Pull Focus recently had the pleasure of hosting Matt Toner, a digital media producer, entrepreneur and president of social media company Zeroes to Heroes. Matt gave key insights about the new direction of multi-platform content, and the changing landscape of film and television distribution.

Here are a few of his key points for filmmakers and content producers.

1. Your digital strategy may be engaging and interactive. But it still needs to increase your bottom line.

A few years back, the idea of using multiple platforms to tell a story or promote content seemed like a marketer’s dream. Digital media strategists came up with elaborate tie-ins to films and tv shows that included video games, apps, and fan fiction contests. The problem was, these add-ons did nothing to increase the production’s revenue.

Online platforms that help you reach and engage with your audience, and build buzz around your project are still great tools to use. But don’t blow your budget on an elaborate digital strategy that won’t boost your ROI.

2. Our viewing habits are changing. Seize the opportunity.

Yes, we’re accessing content online and through VOD more than ever before and traditional models of distribution are, as a result, effectively breaking down. While it’s easy to merely bemoan this change, the smarter move is to seize the opportunity. As a filmmaker or content producer, you have far more distribution options than ever before.

imgres-2Matt’s own company Zeroes to Heroes is about to release Wannawatch.It, a web app that aggregates consumer demand to see movies. Filmmakers can directly upload their content to the site, effectively eliminating the middleman. Once there is enough demand to see a particular film, it will be screened in a theatre.

3. Welcome to the Information Age.

Digital, New Media or Information Age – whatever you want to call it, one thing is certain: we have more access to data about people’s viewing habits and interests than we’ve ever had before.

How can this benefit filmmakers and content producers? It can help you find out who your audience is, and where they are. Google Analytics provides a wealth of information about users that visit your website. This info can be used to target specific demographics on social media sites and around the net.

Build your audience and ultimately, a community of supporters for your film, and you’ll be one step ahead of the game. You’ll also have the numbers to back you up when it comes to funding, or distributing your content.

For more exciting speakers, and cutting edge views on the future of filmmaking, stay tuned to this space.


The Beautiful World of Alfonso Cuarón

Alfonso Cuarón won the BAFTA for best director for his latest work Gravity ­a proud achievement for any film director. In light of this event, we are taking look at the cinematic styles that closely defines his career and led up to this moment.

imgres-3Cuarón’s career started in Mexico City where he was a student of philosophy and filmmaking. There, he met his future collaborator Emmanuel Lubezki who’d become his most frequent collaborator. In fact, Lubezki was the cinematographer of all of Cuarón’s directorial works excluding only Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Cuarón’s works are quite varied in terms of subject. His first feature was a quirky, dark comedy about AIDS (Solo Con Tu Pareja). Since then, his films have given us a quixotic story of a young girl in boarding school, a Dickensian tale of love and jealousy, a coming­ of­ age road trip, the fantastical world of wizardry, a dystopian tale of humanity’s collapse, and a realistic space fantasy.

In all of these, Cuarón has proved himself to be a consummate storyteller whether it is his original story or adaptation of a well­-known piece of literature. His superb ability to define characters clearly, and create atmosphere and setting is greatly helped by his visual style.

Cuarón is quite well known for his love of long takes that cover multiple actions and often multiple locations. This technique was used quite extensively in Children of Men and Gravity. The use of long takes gives both films a sense of realism to a setting that lacks it a dystopian future and space fantasy.

Another one of Cuarón’s favourites is a handheld shot that obsessively follows the character and their gaze. This puts the audience in the position of the character or their companion and allows them to be more involved rather than remain an observer. Take for instance Theo walking through the ruins in Children of Men, or Luisa sensually dancing towards the camera as she holds its gaze, provocatively inviting the audience ­in, in Y Tu Mama Tambien.

Cuarón is also a big fan of symbolic close­ups and non­didactic montages. The airplane Finn plays with in Great Expectations, our casual gaze across his paintings on the dingy motel room wall, and Cacho carefully stepping on his row of paper cones in Solo Con Tu Pareja are some of examples.

The realism of long takes and handheld shots are often contrasted with dream­like lighting and soft focus as seen in the attic of Sara Crewe in the Little Princess, the pool scene in Y Tu Mama Tambien and the majority of Great Expectations.

Cuarón also loves to juxtapose wide, long shots with dangerously intimate close ups, further defining the character and their experiences in multiple perspectives.

Check out further examples of his work here:

Great Expectations

Y Tu Mama Tambien

Written by Freddie Kim