Bring Your Characters and Film to Life via Social Media
Among other subjects, Carol Sill & Erica addressed the role of “characters” in telling a story via social media.* Gillian Shaw (who was also on the panel & was great) subsequently spoke to Carol & I about our thoughts on the subject.
Now I rarely follow “characters” – likely because there are few television shows and fictional characters that engage me enough to follow their “activities” online.** And with characters where it’s not clear the “person” isn’t a person, there is a certain deception involved.
It’s a double edged sword for an artist – put forth a character that makes the fictional aspect apparent and many won’t follow an “unknown” character. Not unless they have something really interesting to say. Which is why I do follow Emme Rogers (as do many others): she’s fun, flirty and I think the conversation that takes place around her and her exploits brings a great sense of play to Twitter.
And characters can be very useful – and exciting – both for the artist and for the storyteller.
Allowing the character to live in other platforms before the film is released – and whilst the film is being made – gives the character a larger/broader life – and helps with publicity.
Related stories (lets call them “pre-stories”, for this point) can engage the audience and allow them to have a larger window into/to the character. After all, any character has a life that began before the point at which the film begins. Consider what aspects of their life you can explore and what kind of tools you could use to tell the story (video on Youtube et al., photos on Flickr, brief but enticing spurts on Twitter etc.) What parts of their story can bring more life to the character and the film? Where were the characters 6 months before? What interactions did they have the day before? That morning? You can see how this can be especially useful for something like a mystery/suspense project!
And, as I said in the above article (and as I have heard Monique Trottier mention with regards to books), there is no reason the end of the film needs to be the end. I can tell you that there have been several films (Red Road, Sideways) where I was consumed with reading more about the film after seeing it. Or where I’ve seen a film numerous times. So desperate was I to stay “engaged”.
For the artist, this process, while time-consuming, is in another sense, almost effortless. After all, as a writer and actor, I always created a background for the characters etc. And, much as I’d love to pretend I’m special, this is pretty standard practice. So such items can be extremely creative and satisfying – as well as a boon when it comes to building an audience.
And now, with all the tools available through social media, there’s the opportunity to give the audience more, to keep them engaged. Your creativity is the limit when it comes to where your story begins – or ends.
*We managed to talk about several social media topics, but there were some key things we didn’t have the time to address, so I hope we do have the opportunity to do a part 2 with this group so we can take our discussion to the next level. Oh & Erica and Leah Nelson (who was helping out by being Linkgrrl09 and finding the sites we all talked about) decided to play this video while I spoke, to help er, demonstrate my expertise…
**However, get any or all the characters from The Office on Twitter and I will press “follow” until I develop carpal tunnel.
***I’ll be looking into the use of Alternate Reality Games for independent film projects in a future post.
Want more articles about artists? I have a whole series here.
Entry filed under: artist series, film, Social Marketing, social media, twitter, Web 2.0. Tags: actor, Art, artist series, Carol Sill, characters, Danika Dinsmore, emme rogers, erica hargreave, film, filmmakers, filmmaking, Flickr, Gillian Shaw, Maayan Cohen, Me Like the Interweb, Monica Hamburg, social media, socialmedia, speaker, video, wiff09, Writer, YouTube.