I hear it a lot. I hear it from almost every creator I have the opportunity to chat with.
“We’ve had a hard time finding an audience.” “What do you think we should do?” “Our show should appeal to everyone.”
I’m sitting here on a Sunday evening, with but a few hours left in my weekend, and I’m thinking about entertainment – all the different ways entertainment is affecting my life at the moment. Should I watch something? I have Board Walk Empire on BluRay ready to go – I picked this up with an Amazon gift card on Black Friday – 2012.
Season 2 of House of Cards has been calling out to me as well, it’s just so damn well made that I’m hooked, and trust me I don’t like being at the mercy of ‘television’ shows. I have enough things to worry about outside of entertainment to worry about spoilers negatively affecting my mood – and trust me they will.
I also need to check out “She Is Alex” one of the shows Chris Hadley has written about for the site this week. I always check out at least a bit of every show we cover on here before a post goes up.
At the same time I need to watch the latest rough cut of Laps – currently working under the title “The Next Lap Around” and trying its hand at being a feature. We’re about to test it in front of a small audience to get reactions, and as the show’s producer I should probably know exactly what’s screening beforehand.
While we’re at it I’m also trying to book my guest for this week’s #WebSeriesWednesday after having some scheduling conflicts with the original guest. So, there are the things I need to watch, the things I want to watch and the things I’m planning to watch later.
As creators we are simultaneously fans of the work of others and if it were up to us we’d spend nearly every waking minute consuming other peoples work or creating our own. Even if this was possible we could never watch everything out there. So where do we start?
We start with ourselves.
In the time spent writing this I’ve booked #WebSeriesWednesday, and when I’m done with the post I’m going to watch “She Is Alex” and then quickly put on the rough cut for ‘The Next Lap Around.’ Then I’m going to bed – Boardwalk Empire, and House of Cards will have to wait another day.
We start with the things closest to us and move out from there. We don’t start with the show, or the film that “everyone” should like. I’m going to start with the movie that’s made just for me.
For the longest time I’ve looked at the marketing aspect of “Laps” in far too simple a way. Follow the fitness demographic! “It’s about a guy who loses 65 pounds” therefore it should appeal to anyone who goes to the gym, anyone who runs, anyone who has lost a lot of weight.
We get a lot of attention with that, I guess because it’s pretty straight to the point. We also get a lot of attention for the fact that the first season of the web series was filmed on an iPhone, but it doesn’t seem to go much further than simple attention.
Yet I’ve ignored my individual involvement in the project entirely with that line of thinking. I bought into the series after reading the script, yet I’ve never lost, or even needed to lose 65 pounds. I abhor the gym, and running is the first thing I remember hating…
I fell in love with the script because it appealed to me directly.
I offered to help produce the show because I know exactly what it’s like to work so hard to be better. I know what it’s like to fail the one you love and I know what it’s like to struggle today with the things I thought I put to rest yesterday.
“Fitness” is just a generic catch all for a whole lot of things, over half a million by Google’s search standards. I wonder where “Laps” falls within the half million. Yet fitness is just a symptom of something deeper – something far more personal and motivating.
Maybe I haven’t cracked the code for marketing an indie series or film – if there is even a code to be cracked – but what I do know is that trying to appeal to a wide ranging group of people is not the answer.
Maybe it’s impossible to reach a large audience without a large ad budget, but start with one person. Make a movie for them specifically and trust that this one special individual is not alone in the world. I’m sure they’ll find the time to sit down and watch on their own Sunday night. As for me, I think this is the fifth version of “Laps” that I’ve watched.