Connecting With Fans, Offering A Reason To Buy Works For Movies As Well

from the hello,-Kevin-Smith dept

We've been talking a lot about how musicians are discovering good business models in connecting with fans, and giving them a reason to buy, but clearly the model works in other areas as well. In a recent interview with writer/director Kevin Smith (probably most well known for Clerks), he talks about his rather constant interaction with fans:
Once media was created that allowed a dialogue to open between filmmakers and audience, there was no way I couldn't embrace it. This is a communications medium, film. We do this to get a reaction and hear what people have to say about our work. It's enormously flattering when someone (or lots of someones) are interested in you enough as an artist to wanna know about your life and opinions beyond the actual work that brought you to their attention in the first place.
And, because of that, he knows that that loyal fan base will at least be interested in what he has to offer:
What I get from the fan base is unconditional support. They may not like all the flicks I do, but they'll give each one a shot--which is the most you can ask for from any audience. Contrary to what the haters think, the fan base doesn't lounge around like a giant caterpillar, taking hits off the hookah of my collective body of work; they're normal people with normal lives who just relate to what I write/say. And the relationship doesn't end at the theater: These are folks I play poker with. I spend my birthdays with them (onstage or at a home-made prom). I played hockey against and beside them just last week in Brantford, Ontario, at Walter Gretzky's 3rd Annual Street Hockey Tournament. It makes sense we'd all get along, as we share a common interest: Kevin Smith films. But, Jesus--you can only talk about those for so long. And when the "Then what'd Jason Lee say?" chatter dries up, you find they're more friends than fans.
Indeed. You can count me among those in that group. I haven't necessarily liked all of Smith's movies, but his is one of the few podcasts I listen to, and I know that whenever stuff he works on comes out, I'll take a look and see if I'm interested in buying. In adding the connection element -- even though I've never communicated with him in any manner whatsoever -- I'm automatically that much more interested in buying what he has to offer. And, he tends to make it worthwhile. He doesn't talk about it in the interview, but he and his team/friends have always made sure that the extras they offer are totally worth buying, such as by adding all sorts of extra DVD features, a book about his life (taken from his blog) and various videos of his legendary Q&A sessions (which this interview was a warmup for). Just another example of the value of connecting with fans in some manner or another.

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  • icon
    Eponymous Coward, AKA Doug (profile), 23 Jun 2009 @ 5:29am

    Let me get the ball rollling here

    "But, that's not what you've been saying! You want them to give everything away and to not make any money..."

    That headline is only going to lure the industry shill ACs from the woodwaork. Even though this article didn't touch on business and pricing models, someone will decide it should, and make a total mess of this post.

    I'm a fan of Kevin Smith as well, and while some of what he makes is shite, he's even gracious enough to mock himself through in-scene dialogue. He always seems to come off as a fan of movies/comics himself, a true geek, and as long as that attitude persists, I'll be glad to pay for his stuff.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jun 2009 @ 6:44am

    Actually, I am a huge fan of Kevin Smith. While some of his movies do tend to border on the dumb (intentionally), they still have some very smart sentiments hiding under it all. He is a unique talent for being able to conceive of, write, and often illustrate his own stories, either in cartoon / animation form or by himself as an actor in his own pieces.

    The speaking tour he did at universities maybe, what, 10 years ago, was an important way of showing what he is about. It also shows where there is a large mental divide between then current university students and the rest of the world.

    Kevin Smith has always played the "I am just a guy like you" card, and there isn't any reason for him to change that tune, because it is true. He has had the constant interaction with fans for years, there is no reason to consider that he would do anything different today. The internet helps him to do so.

    In reality, the connection with the fans things is best exmplified by AKA Doug above. "I'll be glad to pay for his stuff". Essentially, we won't steal from out friends, but as a group we will gladly rip of the "big evil movie /record / software companies". Once you know Kevin Smith as a person, it's much harder to steal his stuff, isn't it?

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  • identicon
    linlu, 23 Jun 2009 @ 7:17am

    Fan! Even of the speaking tour DVDs

    I am another one of Kevin Smith's fans. His are one of the few non kiddy DVDs that I will buy, rather than simply watch via Netflix. I hope this time to be able to see his next movie at the theater rather than having to wait for it to get to DVD - for which I would hire a babysitter, which is not something I normally do. I followed him on twitter for a while, his stuff was funny - probably will do so again now that the chatter from my friends have died down.

    I found this speaking tour DVDs to be great, as I love listening to him tell stories, like I do just about anybody else. He however has a rare way of connecting with his audience/fans via his stories, which is probably why he is such a success - regardless of piracy and whatnot. I will gladly pay to watch anything that he does or produces because of the connection. I actually like most of his work - low brow humor is just fine for me.

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  • icon
    Hephaestus (profile), 23 Jun 2009 @ 6:25pm

    I am only commenting ....

    to comment....

    The current media industry types doesnt seem to understand this. Instead of trying to engage fans and understand what they want and are willing to do, they sit behind castle walls and send knights (Lawyers from , RIAA, MPAA, RIAA types in europe, japan, australia) after the fans

    Okay I am adding another piece to the new entertainment concept....

    Okay you people are great .... again there are some true business plan gems on this site .... here I go....

    182 entry/note) Blogs/Wikis/#thisArtistsName on twitter

    183 ...) Fan site linking from the offical web site....

    184) voting on best fan site with prizes (monthly weekly etc)

    185) consellation prizes for every best web site entry

    The reason for this is to keep fans enGaged.... not enRaged like the recording industry does ...Big Ole GRIN ... Thanks for the post

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2009 @ 12:48pm

    If the group of people who buy a movies off the shelf without any relation to the director/cast is 10 people, then the group of fans of the director or members of the cast is at least 1000. Not to market to these 1000 is simply being crazy. Old movies made more money for this exact reason. Directors and actors were well known for the quality they provide.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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