advertising and other stuff. no, really.

Monday, January 4, 2010

When advertising gives you lemons...

Well, not just advertising, any industry you get fired from. Dawns on me after promoting Erik Proulx’s Lemonade, that I forgot to throw up a review to it. Erik was nice enough to invite me to the premiere in Boston last month. Disclaimer over as I would’ve reviewed it regardless once it came around. Now available on DVD, it covers the ad business and the rite of passage for anyone in it: Getting fired.

If you don’t know about it, it’s an extension of his Please Feed The Animals blog he started soon after one such discussion with HR. The doc’s gotten good reviews, but one of the comments I saw somewhere was funny. The gist of it was that “Well, advertising should get rid of people who have no desire to be in the industry.”

If that were the case I suppose, but it’s wrong.

Many people in the film wanted very much to work in advertising—and still do, it’s just HR and agency heads had different plans. This is about finding what you want to do with your working life and doing it once the opportunity presents itself if there’s no room in whatever field you work in.

As the tag goes, it’s not a pink slip. It’s a blank page.

From there, the rough script idea came together inside a month and production started soon after. All told, seven months passed from idea to premiere. Along the way, people donated their time, gear and skills to the film.

I’m sure the stories of each person would still resonate had this been shot on some low-end handicam, but props to cinematogrpaher Peter Nelson (Sicko), and director Marc Colucci for donating their time and gear to take it to the next level. I watch a shitload of docs and it’s got a good look with soundtrack that enhances the weight of the topic at hand. (Music also donated by the band Caspian.)

(For anyone who’s tried the Rebel Without A Crew approach, you’re always trying for as much production value as possible. Someone via Twitter offers to shoot for free with a Red, you don’t think twice about saying yes.)

It was cool though to experience a premiere with his family, friends and cast—all standing shoulder to shoulder in an indie theatre lobby beforehand. The energy and support was cool to see, and later you realize you were standing next to half the cast (including Steve Hall). Reminds you that a film experience can be more than a preview of coming attractions and expensive popcorn.

Speaking of, there’s one little thing he did which I have not seen major film studios or theatre chains do much, if at all. Before the movie started, he displayed a Facebook and Twitter url on the screen that said “Tell people you’re here.” (Crappy cell pic, sorry.) It’s a simple thing, yet, how many movies don’t even try that for realtime promotions, let alone having viewers text a code ahead of time for discounts and special offers.

Currently, he’s showing the film where he can across the country and Canada, entering it in festivals, etc., all to build support. It’ll be shown live next at an AIGA event in Boston on 1/14. You can also request a screening in your city here. This is the life of a filmmaker. (His day job still has him freelancing.)

In the meantime, the vibe of the movie has been extended so that people can share stories of finding a new career direction in their lives. If you want to be included in the upcoming book for that, submit your story here. You can also follow Erik on Twitter; the movie on Facebook and YouTube.

Now go out and make lemonade ya freaks.


WPoFD said...

Lemonade appears to be the [never made] sequel to Joshua Ferris' book, "And Then We Came to the End." You must read it.

Erik said...

Great analogy. I love that book.