Why There Isn’t An Academy Award for Best Logo

I watched Dallas Buyers Club (No spoilers to follow), and while it’s kind of pathetic (almost as much as the length of this sentence!) , I will now spend a ridiculous amount of text over an ad that only lasts on screen for 20 seconds and will be hardly memorable for most people, (unless this studio becomes a major Hollywood player from here on out), but oh well, sometimes stupid and insignificant ads get under my skin to the point that you are all subject to my crazed rants of extreme irritation. Especially when they involve a movie studio that produced a film nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars!

So, if you watch the video above, I have no issue with the quick logo spots for Entertainment One or Focus Features, other than the fact that I have to sit through both of these after a few previews of some films I probably won’t see and plenty of reminders to turn off my cell phone, which I’ve never had off silent/vibrate since I’ve owned the damn thing. Anyway, Entertainment One and Focus Features show their bland, non-too flashy, professional logo spots that remind us of their involvement, but leave no other impression.

However, the spot from Voltage caught my attention, because it seemed like a lot of unnecessary, computer generated garbage just to announce to me that Voltage Pictures was involved. The whole sequence looks like it was rejected from the beta version of Myst and does nothing to impress me about the production company. In fact, it nearly made me question how a company that leave there mark in such a tacky way could be involved in creating such a great film.

And that is what I find most specifically annoying about that or any other movie studio that tries to half ass their way to creating the MGM Lion or Tristar Pegasus of the computer animation age: Great films should not be proceeded by computer animated sequences that John Lasseter would digitally wipe his ass with before allowing them anywhere near a Pixar Film. Especially, when you have a decent logo, (which Voltage does!)! Just do what Focus does: fade into the logo, play some forgettable background music and save the standing out to the acting of Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey!

Movie Trailer Tuesday – Gravity

Gravity, and it’s first weekend box office success, illustrate the value of building suspense.

Not hype. Not buzz.

Drama.

Through giving away just enough but not too much of a brilliant idea, Gravity’s trailers, posters and internet presence built stress and suspense so wildly emotional and contagious that movie goers this weekend did not merely want to see it as soon as they could. They needed to.

Using another example, try to imagine how many people would have been excited to see The Avengers without the tie-in films, Iron Man, Captain America and Thor. That film is a box office flop regardless of how good it is without the build-up.

The characters created an emotional connection – between the audience and the film they were waiting for, as well as between the audience and the comic book versions of the characters they grew up with. The anticipation for how the Avengers film would tie them all together is what made the film a success.

With the exception of the first Iron Man, those films were terrible. They looked cool and there was a ton of action, but the writing and final product mattered less than getting them out and setting up the big payoff, which was good. They were all ally-oops for The Avengers’ emphatic slam dunk.

Gravity created a similar feeling of anticipation using different – less expensive – tactics.

The filmmakers stated with a fantastic premise, made amazing trailers, added interactive website and social media experiences and skimped on nothing.

So why do both of these approaches work? Would they work with anything? The answers, respectively, are, because there is one common trait they both share, and no.

Both of these films have something many films lack: A compelling story.

The Avengers is a timeless tale  with strong characters and Gravity is only the most terrifying premise for any film you have ever heard of. Without the strong and necessary backbone of substance all of the buzz, hype, drama and suspense in the world cannot save you.

— by Jeff Osborn

movie trailer tuesday – money ball

 

Did this trailer make me want to see the movie?

Actually, yes.

What could be more boring than baseball for most folks? Watching a film about baseball.

And, if you want to kick the boring equation up a notch, make the film be about a low scoring, low-paid, low-star power team.

Yet the trailer makes the viewer want to see what Brad Pitt is doing in this Baseball flick.

Even more importantly, the trailer makes the story seem compelling to different types of viewers – folks familiar with the book and story want to see how the film handles it; Baseball buffs want to see how history is handled by Hollywood; And casual passers by are sucked in because of the clever dialogue and created interest through thoughtful, careful use of film footage.

Was the trailer effective as a commercial?

Yes.

Simply because it highlighted the right parts of the product (the film): Brad Pitt, The theory of Money Ball, Aaron Sorkin’s witty writing, and the previously mentioned baseball historical context.

Unlike most film trailers, Money Ball‘s trailer did not tell the entire story. It gave a hint, a taste.

Like great commercials for any product, this trailer gave a look at the interesting, emotional, touching, compelling pieces of the product, without going to far.

Two Bonus Questions (and Two Bonus Answers):

1. Why is Brad Pitt always around the best actor award, and never goes home with it?

He has been a good actor for a long time and has become under-appreciated for that reason, along with his fame and frequent tabloid appearances. He might try waiting a year or two for his next film, then taking another roles like Tree of Life or Money Ball. I bet if we had not seen him for a few years he could have one for either one (or both) of those roles.

2.Will Movie Trailer Tuesday End Now That You Have Analyzed All Nine Oscar-Nominated Films?

Not a chance!

movie trailer tuesday: friends with kids

Now that I am married, I am quickly learning that a good cast does not necessarily make for a good romantic comedy.  if anything, lesser directors and writers have no idea how to handle so many people.

 

Friends with Kids looks like it should be pretty funny just based on the cast, Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig, John Hamm and Adam Scott are just a few.  And the trailer makes the movie look like it has potential to be witty, funny and touching. But my big concern is that there will be way too much going on.  And the trailer does not do much to alleviate my concern.

But here is the thing: If the trailer appeals to my wife, we’ll probably see it one way or another. I can think what I want about this trailer, but it is not for me.  The part at the beginning where the newlyweds run off during dinner and have sex and Megan Fox are for me, but the rest is for people like my wife who go and see all but the bottom 25% of every romantic comedy that comes out.

If I try to think like my wife, I think the premise alone is probably enough of a hook.  John Hamm does not hurt any either!

 

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