viaRenovo – a way worth taking

I was intrigued by several articles on this site today. Check out the new post by Ron Reed: A&F 100: Spiritually Significant Films. How many of these are on your list of influential and significant films? What impact do films like these make on the spiritual conversations of our cultures?

There are many more insightful posts and links on viaRenovo. Here’s  the point:

viaRenovo is committed to seeing the world through redemptive eyes, seeking to join with God in his restoration of all things through the power of the gospel and His transformative grace.

Visit the site: viaRenovo

Avatar… glimpse into another culture?

The Yanomamö are the embodiment of everything Cameron wants to extol in his film. And even better yet, they are real!

This article just caught my eye today, especially because one of the primary goals we had in making our film, The Enemy God, was to strive for a hyper-real, immersive experience into another culture. In our film, the culture is very much real, as is the historically verifiable story. The Yanomamö of the Amazon are the embodiment of everything Cameron wants to extol in his film. And even better yet, they are real! It’s just too bad that Hollywood seems bored with actual culture that is full of drama and action and beauty and intrigue.

You can read the review in the Washington Post: ‘Avatar,’ ‘Young Victoria’ offer glimpses of other cultures

I admit that I’m very interested in Avatar. Certainly as a filmmaker I want to see what they have done from a technical standpoint. This article doesn’t give Cameron many points for story quality, though it seems unanimous that the film is amazing visually.

So I’ll just admit that this post is going out in the hopes that there are people out there who think blockbusters are fun but also want to discover the joy and amazement that real life and cultures can bring on the big screen as well.

How Important is Branding in Games and Films?

What am I doing today to develop that level of trust and comfort and influence with a specific audience, through the things I create?

I admit that articles like this discourage me somewhat.

The Spiteful Critic: Branding, Games, and Films

In this particular article, Lewis Pulsipher emphasizes the game world. It’s a great discussion of the realities of the power of brands to attract audiences. There is tremendous power, credibility, and trust in known identities. For large segments of audiences for every kind of media, they are attracted to the known. Even a person’s perception of quality is influenced by brand awareness (see the article’s study on McDonald’s food and kids in taste-testing). It is more difficult, and expensive, to introduce something new and different, that’s why game companies and film studios turn out ‘based-on’ products and sequels. They hesitate to take a chance on a property where they have to introduce entirely new characters and stories when they can exploit the existing interest of a large group of people who are already fans. This makes perfect sense.

But, most of us don’t have access to those kinds of stories and properties. Where does that leave us?

Of course, there are segments of audiences that actively seek out the unknown. These people might even intentionally avoid major brands. For these people, the idea of eating at McDonalds, buying coffee at Starbucks, or seeing a film in the ______ franchise is anathema. I would say that I tend that way, but I do have my brand favorites, like my Mac computers. I probably respond to Apple’s marketing in much the same way a kid might respond to McDonalds’. They have me hooked in some way. Is that an entirely bad thing?

For smaller content creators like me it can be a daunting task to even imagine cracking a general audience market. However, every creator, no matter how small, should take the time to understand and develop a brand identity. We live in a world, if guys like Seth Godin are to believed, made up of tribes – each with identifiable interests, needs, and places where they hang out.

It should be possible for almost anyone to create products that speak to specific tribes, that are of value to them, and products that develop trust and credibility with them. As we create for that niche, we have the chance to create a brand out of products that speak in similar ways, have similar values, and give that audience the same feeling that kids get when they eat at (or think about eating at) McDonalds; or, perhaps, the feeling I get when I enter an Apple Store. The best brands feel like home, or even better, to their audience. They make you feel like you, or like you want to feel if you were the best you there was.

So what am I doing today to develop that level of trust and comfort and influence with a specific audience, through the things I create?