Hollywood or Bust: How to Win Over Customers and Win at Your Box Office



“So what exactly is Hollywood Classical Cinema and why should I care?” you may wonder. Please allow me to share some background and insight into the magic of HOLLYWOOD CLASSICAL CINEMA and then tie in how that approach to meeting audience expectations could have a positive impact on your bottom line.

Originally film cameras were given to desperate housewives who suffered from boredom to keep them out of their husband’s hair. Then a few men saw the potential to make money and developed it into an industry. In the early days of motion pictures, audiences were amused by simple presentations because the technology was so new (like the earliest video game, Pong-which would be no match for Call of Duty).

· One of the earliest films released in a theater is Porter’s The Great Train Robbery, which filmed a train approaching the camera head-on. It appeared to audiences that the train was going to crash into the theater, and some were so naïve about the technology that they actually fled the theater in fear.

· Some of you may be familiar with Hugo, directed by Martin Scorsese (a true lover of the cinema). It featured Georges Méliès‘s The Black Imp, which used editing in a way that dazzled audiences of the early 1900s. The Imp (and some of the furniture) seemed to disappear and move magically from place to place using what we know as jump cuts today.

· At the center of cinema’s evolution was storytelling and character development. Orson Welles brought these two crowd-pleasers together seamlessly withCitizen Kane. However, the film’s appeal wasn’t solely based only on storytelling and character development-how characters were presented and how the story unfolded were also vital factors. Welles brought together many different techniques and blended them together to create an “invisible” style that is referred to as Hollywood Classical Cinema. The invisible style used all the production elements to underscore the narrative without distraction so that the audience could and would focus solely on the story and characters.

The moral of the story is that you can be Porter or Georges Méliès and simply have fun with a new technology, or you can be Orson Welles and influence multiple generations all over the world. So the question is: Do you want to be a leader or left behind? It is true that many of today’s most-viewed web videos feature big boobs and flaming farts, but that is comparable to hobbies for those desperate Edwardian housewives. Web video is rapidly becoming a major business that influences how business is done and with whom. So the real question is: Do you want to positively influence your prospects and your bottom line?

Did you know?

You Can Effectively Engage Your Audience with a Web Video

  • Click-through rates increase by 96%when video is embedded in an e-newsletter.
  • Consumers who view a video product demo while shopping are 85% more likely to make a purchase. –Dan Piech of comScore, OMMA January 2011.


Would you like to make more money and have more influence? If so, I’d like to share with you how the most effective storytellers employ the Hollywood Classical Cinema style.

Hollywood Classical Cinema is not only the most dominant form of cinematic style, it is the most prevalent style of modern storytelling and probably the most popular style worldwide. In fact, it is so prevalent and influential around the globe that some people (especially outside of the United States) see as it as a form of imperialism.

Now think about that for a minute: a style of storytelling that is so prevalent that it is popular worldwide and influences citizens everywhere on the planet. Very few industries have that kind of reach and influence-even fewer achieve it without chemical manipulation. Now I want you to keep an open mind: Influencing an audience is not an evil act. Influential storytelling can be used to achieve a simple goal and a positive change. I have used the Hollywood style of storytelling to save lemurs in Madagascar and public libraries in Oakland.

But Hollywood’s ability to exert influence is up there with sodas, fast food, and tobacco. Whereas the latter two use chemicals to get people “hooked,” Hollywood uses a drug that is invisible. This is the basis of persuasion in Hollywood storytelling: Guide the audience seamlessly and hook audiences in the first 10% of the film. And I bet each and every one of us took our first “drag” of that Hollywood drug before the age of 7.

Now, don’t hate on Hollywood for being savvy. You can throw rocks at the ivory tower or you can get inside and beat them at their own game. That means that you can entertain and influence your audience if you follow the same storytelling guidelines.

So how does Hollywood do it and how can the little guy or gal get into the game? Hollywood lives by three key principles:

1. You need to “hook” the audience in the first 10% of the movie’s run time. By “hook” I mean you must draw the audience into the narrative and make them identify with and sympathize with the central character.

2. The story or screenplay must follow a three-act structure: There’s a beginning, middle, and end.

3. You need to make skillful use of the invisible production elements-primarily camera, sound, and editing. All the of the production elements must work together seamlessly and without the audience noticing that they are being guided through the narrative and being persuaded to identify with the central character’s plight.

If these three fundamental principles are not followed, audience expectations will not be met. They will feel alienated, they will likely leave, and they will definitely not be persuaded or influenced by your message.

KEA Productions web videos follow feature film and HOLLYWOOD CLASSICAL CINEMA principles. For example, to create The Making of a Winner, I worked with a jockey to show behind the scenes at a local race track and capture the excitement of an aging sport. The track was on high alert and had tight security because Lost in the Fog (the horse favored to win the Kentucky Derby), was dying from cancer. So although the track always wants some good PR to highlight the sport, the timing of having the favored winner of the Derby present and fighting for his life made them nervous. However, the Who do You Like web series ended up winning over the naysayers (pun intended).

Did you know? People Search for Web Videos

YouTube has become the second-largest search engine in the United States. –MediaPost, December 2011

Search engines LOVE informative content! Content is king, queen, jack and your ace in the hole. 89 million Americans watch up to 1.2 billion web videos a day. –comScore’s videomatrix, December, 2010

Source by Kamala Appel

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