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October 15, 2017

‘Happy Death Day’ Smells Sweet at Weekend Box Office

Horror flick “Happy Death Day” (Universal) easily topped the weekend. The latest production from prolific horror supplier Blumhouse ranked below their early year openers “Get Out” and “Split,” but $26.5 million for a movie with a $5-million production budget marks an instant success.

While some of the Blumhouse aura has been overshadowed by the massive success of Warner Bros.’ Stephen King juggernaut “It,” that shouldn’t take away producer Jason Blum’s mastery at consistently packaging original low-budget smash hits.

“Happy Death Day” is a bit lower-profile than other recent Blum house efforts, but it still landed some respectable mainstream reviews. That’s a big change from how the genre has been treated in recent years.

The film was positioned well in two ways. Mid-October is often a prime pre-Halloween date for horror entries. Lionsgate claimed the weekend before October 31 for “Jigsaw,” so Blumhouse went with the earlier weekend — without any competition from Halloween parties. Also the timing allowed the trailer for “Happy” to play in front of some 30 million ticket buyers for “It.” This marks a mid-level Blumhouse success. Both “Ouija” and its sequel last October opened smaller.

“Happy” led the way for a slight boost in grosses over a year ago. With prime-time TV baseball games with teams from the three largest markets and only one wide opening, that’s not a bad result. Last year saw “The Accountant” open to a bit less, along with a $12-million grossing Kevin Hart comedy concert film.

Courtesy of STXfilms

“The Foreigner” (STX), the other wide opener, showed that after decades of success Jackie Chan still can draw a middling audience. Worldwide, the film has already passed $100 million. It had a strong Cinemascore (A-), which might account for its Saturday increase. (That’s rare for second-day mass market openers; “Happy Death Day” was down 19 per cent.) Asian-American audiences remain under-represented among commercial films, and STX reports they were well-represented in the 59 per cent male audience.

"Blade Runner 2049"

“Blade Runner 2049”

Warner Bros.

Holdovers

All eyes were on the second weekend of the disappointing “Blade Runner 2049” (Warner Bros.). Its drop was 54 per cent, good enough for second place at $15.1 million. The problem is it fell from a lower number than hoped for last weekend. That is a marked improvement over the 62 and 70 per cent respective drops for summer’s “War for the Planet of the Apes” and “Alien: Covenant” and suggests a longer shelf life for Denis Villeneuve’s acclaimed film. Having reached $60 million at this point, its chances of hitting $100 million domestic are much improved.

Expectations are everything. Take the director’s recent “Arrival” (which topped out at $100.5 million domestic off a budget of $47 million): the sci-fi drama opened on a date that allowed it to have a boost over Thanksgiving, then sustain a longer run that included Christmas dates. That movie reached about $44 million after ten days, dropping 49 per cent on weekend two. But that was strong enough to boost its chances for leading Oscar nominations, which is still possible for the “Blade Runner” sequel.

"It"

“It”

“It” only fell 39 per cent, which is incredible. Now at $315 million, figure it to add another $20 million or so before it’s done. Only one film had a major drop, with the second weekend of “My Little Pony: The Movie” (Lionsgate) falling 55 per cent,  which is high for an animated film. The second weekend falloff for the disappointing “The Mountain Between Us” (20th Century Fox) was more modest at 46 per cent.

Wider niche films continue to hover in the vicinity of the Top Ten. “Victoria & Abdul” (Focus) held with a small 25 per cent drop, while still not up to 1,000 theaters. “Marshall” (Open Road) and “Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman” (Annapurna) in 821 and 1,229 theaters respectively, were #11 and #14. The former, about the early days of Civil Rights pioneer Thurgood Marshall, made a promising debut. However, “Professor Marston” was a complete dud despite upbeat reviews.

Top Ten Box Office Chart

1. Happy Death Day (Universal) NEW – Cinemascore: B; Metacritic: 57; Est. budget: $5 million

$26,500,000 in 3,149 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $8,415; Cumulative: $26,500,000

2. Blade Runner 2049 (Warner Bros.) Week 2 – Last weekend #1

$15,100,000 (-54%) in 4,058 theaters (no change); PTA: $3,721; Cumulative: $60,578,000

3. The Foreigner (STX) NEW – Cinemascore: A-; Metacritic: 57; Est. budget: $35 million

$12,840,000 in 2,515 theaters; PTA: $5,105; Cumulative: $12,840,000

4. It (Warner Bros.) Week 6 – Last weekend #3

$6,050,000 (-39%) in 3,176 theaters (-429); PTA: $1,905; Cumulative: $314,930,000

5. The Mountain Between Us (20th Century Fox) Week 2 – Last weekend #2

$5,650,000 (-46%) in 3,259 theaters (+171); PTA: $1,734; Cumulative: $20,503,000

6. American Made (Universal) Week 3 – Last weekend #6

$5,423,000 (-36%) in 3,098 theaters (+171); PTA: $1,750; Cumulative: $40,153,000

7. Kingsman:  The Golden Circle (20th Century Fox) Week 4 – Last weekend #5

$5,315,000 (-39%) in 2,982 theaters (-506); PTA: $1,782; Cumulative: $89,652,000

8. The LEGO Ninjago Movie (Warner Bros.) Week – Last weekend #7

$4,315,000 (-38%) in 3,053 theaters (-558); PTA: $1,413; Cumulative: $51,578,000

9. My Little Pony: The Movie (Lionsgate) Week 2 – Last weekend #4

$4,000,000 (-55%) in 2,528 theaters (no change); PTA: $1,582; Cumulative: $15,513,000

10. Victoria & Abdul (Focus) Week 4 – Last weekend #8

$3,115,000 (-25%) in 900 theaters (-168); PTA: $3,461; Cumulative: $11,342,000

Source: IndieWire film

October 15, 2017

Björk Writes About Being Sexually Harassed by an Unnamed Filmmaker: ‘I Was Framed as the Difficult One’

Björk wrote a Facebook post about being sexually harassed by an unnamed Danish director, saying “it was extremely clear to me when i walked into the actresses profession that my humiliation and role as a lesser sexually harassed being was the norm and set in stone with the director and a staff of dozens who enabled it and encouraged it.”

Björk has few acting credits to her name, with most notable being Danish auteur Lars von Trier’s “Dancer in the Dark,” for which she won Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival in 2000.

“i became aware of that it is a universal thing that a director can touch and harass his actresses at will and the institution of film allows it,” she wrote. “when i turned the director down repeatedly he sulked and punished me and created for his team an impressive net of illusion where i was framed as the difficult one.”

Björk says she “walked away from it” in part because she had no ambitions as an actor — a sentiment shared by Sarah Polley in a New York Times essay yesterday — and recovered from the experience after a year.

“i am worried though that other actresses working with the same man did not,” she adds. “the director was fully aware of this game and i am sure of that the film he made after was based on his experiences with me . because i was the first one that stood up to him and didn’t let him get away with it.”

Still, she does include the somewhat hopeful note that “in my opinion he had a more fair and meaningful relationship with his actresses after my confrontation so there is hope.” Read her full comments below.

Source: IndieWire film

October 15, 2017

‘Marshall’ Origin Myth Leads Weak Biopics at Specialty Box Office

Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected),” which debuted in competition in Cannes and scored fresh acclaim at the New York Film Festival, is a day-and-date Netflix release, so no numbers are reported. It’s likely that the family comedy starring Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller and Dustin Hoffman, who all did substantial press, played well enough at high-end theaters in New York and L.A. to take a bite out of its competitors.

Josh Gad Chadwick Boseman Marshall

Marshall

Barry Wetcher

Other openers continued the string of movies about real people that are dominating the specialized release schedule. A wide opening for “Marshall” (Open Road) with a particular emphasis on African-American audiences showed some life and a chance for possible word of mouth, but Fox Searchlight’s A.A. Milne film “Goodbye Christopher Robin” made little impact, and “Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman,” from new distributor Annapurna, despite some strong reviews, totally failed to justify its over 1,000-theater break.

On the more limited front, Ai Weiwei’s refugee camp documentary “Human Flow” (Amazon) showed impressive numbers in its first two cities. Another documentary, “Tom of Finland” (Kino Lorber) also had a strong exclusive New York debut.

Both “Victoria & Abdul” (Focus) and “Loving Vincent” (Good Deed) lead the way among more slowly expanding specialized films amid a group of otherwise lackluster titles.

"Goodbye Christopher Robin"

“Goodbye Christopher Robin”

Opening

Goodbye Christopher Robin (Fox Searchlight) – Metacritic: 51; Festivals include: Hamptons 2017

$55,800 in 9 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $6,200

The latest biopic about an English writer (a curious subgenre these days) was doomed by not only having a familiar feel to other recent films but also mediocre reviews below several other high-end specialized releases. How A.A. Milne created Winnie the Pooh didn’t have the interest of “Finding Neverland” and other past biopics. This opened in five cities, beyond just the typical New York and Los Angeles. The earlier U.K. wider release has grossed over $2 million.

What comes next: The expansion starts this Friday.

Marshall (Open Road) – Metacritic: 66; Festivals include: San Diego, Chicago 2017

$3,039,000 in 821 theaters; PTA: $3,702

This independent project backed by a Chinese investor and directed by veteran Reginald Hudlin (“House Party,” “Boomerang”) focuses on the early career of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman). The courtroom drama opened semi-wide to reach its core audience. Media attention centered on rising star Boseman who portrayed the iconic Jackie Robinson in “42” as well as James Brown and is coming up in Marvel’s “Black Panther.” “42” scored an initial per theater total nearly triple this effort despite playing on over 3,000 screens. Still, “Marshall” managed some serious sampling and a second day increase. Whether it has a multi-week life will be better determined next weekend.

What comes next: Expect some ongoing push to sustain a further life for this.

Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman (Annapurna) – Metacritic: 68; Festivals include: Toronto, London 2017

$737,000 in 1,229 theaters; PTA: $600

From indie veteran director Angela Robinson (“D.E.B.S.” and extensive premium cable work), this story about the man who created Wonder Woman is nascent distributor Annapurna’s latest pickup. The hoped-for interest tied into the recent D.C. Comics smash failed to materialize despite some good reviews including raves in both the New York and Los Angeles Times.

What comes next: This will struggle to even hold many of its initial theaters.

Human Flow Ai Weiwei

“Human Flow”

Human Flow (Amazon)  – Metacritic: 78; Festivals include: Venice, Telluride, Hamptons 2017

$47,000 in 3 theaters; PTA: $15,667

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei directed this documentary with stories about refugees all over the world. It is one of the best-positioned non-fiction fall entries, with top festival presentation, strong reviews and significant media publicity centering on the artist (whose tricky position in his native China itself was the focus of an earlier documentary). This opened in New York (including the new Landmark 57th Street theater, a strong performance at this location) and Washington, D.C..

What comes next: 15 additional cities open next week including Los Angeles.

Kino Lorber

“Tom of Finland”

Kino Lorber

Tom of Finland (Kino Lorber) – Metacritic: 51; Festivals include: Tribeca, Seattle 2017

$13,000 in 1 theater; PTA: $13,000

A strong initial result for this documentary about the legendary leather artist (which curiously is Finland’s Foreign Language Oscar submission) in its initial Manhattan downtown run. Yet again, a doc about a creative figure of note scores ahead of what many non-fiction films manage

What comes next: Los Angeles and San Francisco add on this Friday.

“Breathe”

Breathe (Bleecker Street) – Metacritic: 47; Festivals include: Toronto, London, Hamptons 2017

$26,254 in 4 theaters; PTA: $6,563

Actor Andy Serkis directed this drama about a polio-stricken man (Andrew Garfield) who with support from his wife (Claire Foy) and friends opts to live at home and not curtail his life over being sequestered in a hospital ward. Bleecker Street got four top New York/Los Angeles theaters to open this, but unsupportive reviews took their toll, with the result a mediocre initial gross.

What comes next: This will expand weekly with a wider national release set for Nov. 3.

American Satan (Sumerian) – Festivals include: Oceanside 2017

$132,000 in 55 theaters; PTA: $2,400

A Friday the 13th release about a rock group entangled in a horror plot is directed by John Avildsen’s son Ash and others associated with Rob Zombie. The horror flick played at a range of big-circuit general audience theaters nationwide with mixed results.

What comes next: Not likely to sustain any significant theatrical toehold.

“The Departure”

The Departure (Matson) – Metacritic: 79; Festivals include: Hot Docs, Tribeca 2017

$5,684 in 1 theater; PTA: $5,684

A rather unusual Buddhist priest who specializes in counseling suicidal people at the expense of his own health is the focus of this documentary, which received strong reviews in its New York debut. The result is reasonable given the sensitivity of the subject.

What comes next: Los Angeles and Seattle open this Friday.

Also available on Video on Demand:

Wasted: The Story of Food Waste (Super) – $15,552 in 11 theaters

78/52 (IFC/Sundance 2017) – $4,081 in 1 theater

“The Florida Project”

Week Two

The Florida Project (A24)

$401,141 in 33 theaters (+29); PTA: $12,156; Cumulative: $623,949

Sean Baker’s acclaimed drama came up with the best second weekend for any limited A24 film this year. The figure, for a film positioned to follow last year’s awards trajectory of the distributor’s “Moonlight,” is about half as good as that successful release. That’s a positive initial result, as is the 36 per cent increase Saturday from Friday.

Agnes Varda Faces Places

“Faces Places”

Faces Places (Cohen)

$46,159 in 25 theaters (+20); PTA: $1,846; Cumulative: $96,282

Agnes Varda and French artist JR’s acclaimed road trip documentary quickly added Los Angeles and other top market theaters. The grosses aren’t up to the Cannes prize-winner’s rave reviews, but it could still see some continued appeal, particularly as later awards factor in.

Chavela (Music Box)

$19,778 in 14 theaters (+10); PTA: $1,413; Cumulative: $61,162

This documentary about the iconic Latina chanteuse expanded, including theaters outside the usual art house world, with modest results.

Dina (The Orchard)

$12,775 in 4 theaters (+3); PTA: $3,194; Cumulative: $19,777

The Sundance Documentary Jury prize winner about a couple who are both on the Autism spectrum learning to live together expanded to Los Angeles, with a continued modest response.

“Victoria & Abdul”

Ongoing/expanding (Grosses over $50,000)

Victoria & Abdul (Focus) Week 4

$3,115,000 in 900 theaters (+168); Cumulative: $11,342,000

Still expanding (more slowly than several other post-festival releases) and already with a bigger total than “Battle of the Sexes” which went wider, “Victoria & Abdul” is holding decently so far. Focus has done a good job of positioning Dame Judi Dench for later awards. In its fourth week the Queen Victoria biopic just edged the opening weekend for “Marshall” in about as many theaters.

Battle of the Sexes (Fox Searchlight) Week 4

$1,375,000 in 1,394 theaters (-498);  Cumulative: $10,389,000

Fox Searchlight pushed this 1970s Billie Jean King tennis match story fairly wide, hoping for strong audience appeal. They got this to $10 million–plus, with a few million more possible. But it never quite clicked as hoped.

Actor Robert Glyacz is Vincent van Gogh, Loving Vincent

“Loving Vincent”

Loving Vincent (Good Deed) Week 4

$319,008 in 54 theaters (+26);  Cumulative: $738,160

Excellent results continue for this animated expansion of Van Gogh’s art. This has been an impressive performance, even more so from a first-time distributor.

Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 3

$123,607 in 89 theaters (+72);  Cumulative: $257,019

Another true life, untold story behind a public figure film that is failing to find an audience, despite the presence of Liam Neeson and SPC supporting it.

Tatiana Maslanay and Jake Gyllenhaal in "Stronger"

“Stronger”

Stronger (Roadside Attractions) Week 4

$115,035 in 174 theaters (-161);  Cumulative: $4,039,000

The total is higher than most fall releases so far, but it came with an initial multi-hundred run. The hoped for positive word of mouth never transpired.

Lucky (Magnolia) Week 3

$(est.) 115,000 in 55 theaters (+21);  Cumulative: $(est.) 362,000

The great Harry Dean Stanton’s last lead performance continues to bring in niche audiences as it expands wider.

Wind River (Weinstein) Week 11

$106,806 in 194 theaters (-164); Cumulative: $33,455,000

What will perhaps be the final Harvey Weinstein release provided positive results.

Also noted:

Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton (IFC) – $34,462 in 24 theaters; Cumulative: $91,072

The Big Sick (Lionsgate) – $27,500 in 64 theaters; Cumulative: $42,862,000

Dolores (PBS) – $26,460 in 33 theaters; Cumulative: $486,152

Columbus (Superlative) – $25,370 in 30 theaters; Cumulative: $942,500

Brad’s Status (Annapurna) – $23,000 in 39 theaters; Cumulative: $2,112,000

Columbus (Superlative) – $25,370 in 30 theaters; Cumulative: $942,500

The Viceroy’s House (IFC) – $21,886 in 39 theaters; Cumulative: $1,072,000

 

Source: IndieWire film

October 15, 2017

Rose McGowan Slams Lisa Bloom: ‘Did You Think of How It Would Affect Victims to See You Champion a Rapist?’

Rose McGowan has written an open letter of sorts to Lisa Bloom, holding nothing back as she addresses the well-known attorney who served as an advisor to Harvey Weinstein before resigning from that position last weekend. Calling Bloom a “cancer” whose “very name makes my stomach clench with a stressed tightness that takes my breath away,” the actress reveals that she was recently saddled with a $24,000 bill from her own lawyer because he had to deal with Bloom and her counsel Charles Harder.

“Did you think of how it would affect victims to see you champion a rapist? How it felt to those you once ‘fought for,’ for them to know that you used them. You remember them right?” writes McGowan. Bloom most often works on the other side of such cases — as does her mother Gloria Allred, who publicly rebuked her daughter for working with Weinstein.

“This is the lie you rode in on, Lisa Bloom,” the actress and activist continues. “You are done. We see you for who and what you are. You are a snake that sold out other women who are purer than you can ever hope to be.”

McGowan also reveals that, the night before the initial New York Times story about Weinstein was published, she was “being pushed hard to settle. I was offered one million dollars. No way. I then drove it to 6 million. I was warring with thoughts about being able to take care of my aunt, Mom and family vs my integrity.” Ultimately she opted not to take the money because she “will not be sold. Never again.” She also says that she never signed a nondisclosure agreement (NDA).

“When I was 23 I was hurt by the Swine,” McGowan says. “I have had a 350 lbs monster stuck to me for twenty years. Guess what, Lisa? Now he’s all yours. It’s your obituary his name will be in, not mine.” Read her full letter here.

Source: IndieWire film

October 15, 2017

Woody Allen Calls the Harvey Weinstein Scandal ‘Sad for Everybody Involved’

Woody Allen has weighed in on the Harvey Weinstein scandal, telling the BBC that it’s “sad for everybody involved” and that he hopes it doesn’t lead to “a witch-hunt atmosphere, a Salem atmosphere, where every guy in an office who winks at a woman is suddenly having to call a lawyer to defend himself.”

Allen, whose new movie “Wonder Wheel” just premiered as the closing-night selection at the New York Film Festival, has been accused of molesting his former stepdaughter Dylan Farrow.

“The whole Harvey Weinstein thing is very sad for everybody involved,” Allen said. “Tragic for the poor women that were involved, sad for Harvey that his life is so messed up. There’s no winners in that. It’s just very, very sad and tragic for those poor women that had to go through that.”

“You don’t want it to lead to a witch-hunt atmosphere, a Salem atmosphere, where every guy in an office who winks at a woman is suddenly having to call a lawyer to defend himself. That’s not right either,” he continued. “But sure, you hope that something like this could be transformed into a benefit for people rather than just a sad or tragic situation.”

Allen has worked with Weinstein on more than one occasion and says that “no one ever came to me or told me horror stories with any real seriousness. And they wouldn’t, because you are not interested in it. You are interested in making your movie. But you do hear a million fanciful rumors all the time. And some turn out to be true and some — many — are just stories about this actress, or that actor.”

Source: IndieWire film

October 12, 2017

The Unedited StoryCorps Interview: Jennifer Brooks & Jose Angel Quiñonez

Did you know that the stories you hear from us on NPR and our podcast are excerpts of interviews pulled from the StoryCorps Archive? Participants visit one of our recording locations with a friend or family member to record a 40-minute interview with the help of a trained StoryCorps Facilitator, or record a conversation using the StoryCorps App. We’re sharing this unedited interview from the StoryCorps Archive with you in its original form.

In November 2010, Jennifer Caldwell Brooks interviewed her husband, Jose Angel Quiñonez, about coming to the United States and his life here. They were recorded at our StoryBooth at the San Francisco Public Library.

Quinonezfull

Jose describes coming across the border from Mexico with his five siblings when he was nine years old. Both of his parents had passed away and the children collectively decided that it was the best option for them. “There was going to be nothing for us in Mexico and there was nobody that wanted to take care of us,” he said.

About 22 minutes into the conversation, Jose tells Jennifer about the perceptions he had of her when they first met — she was white and came from an “upper middle class, educated, wholesome family.” It wasn’t until a Thanksgiving dinner at her dad’s house that he realized they had more in common than he first thought.

Jose and Jennifer look back on their childhoods and their parallel desires to just have a “normal” life. They talk about being parents to two young children together and discuss how their upbringings affect and inform the decisions they make.

 


 

Launched in 2009, StoryCorps Historias is an initiative to record the diverse stories and life experiences of Latinos in the United states. Sharing these stories ensures that the voices of Latinos will be preserved and remembered for generations to come. Historias recordings are archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and in a special collection at the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection at the University of Texas at Austin.

All material within the StoryCorps collection is copyrighted by StoryCorps. StoryCorps encourages use of material on this site by educators and students without prior permission, provided appropriate credit is given. This interview has not been fact-checked, and may contain sensitive personal information about living persons.

Source: SNPR Story Corps

October 12, 2017

25 Years of SXSW Film Festival – Seth Rogen

To commemorate the 25th edition of the SXSW Film Festival, we will spotlight careers launched, artists discovered, powerful performances, and more from our alumni. This week’s featured artist, actor, director, writer, and producer is Seth Rogen.

Rogen has appeared in six features at SXSW. One of the most popular and talked about films from the 2017 festival was the Work-In-Progress screening of the The Disaster Artist, which he worked on with frequent collaborators James and Dave Franco. The film is set to be released in December via A24, you can check out our Q&A from the event here.

Other comedies that screened at SXSW include Knocked Up (2007, Work-In-Progress), Observe and Report (2009, Headliner), Neighbors (2014, Headliner), and the adult animated film, Sausage Party (2016, Work-In-Progress). Additionally, Rogen co-wrote, co-produced, and lends his voice talents in Sausage Party.

In 2016, SXSW also presented the world premiere of Preacher, a series developed by Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Garth Ennis, and Sam Catlin. Rogen has directed and written numerous episodes of the hit AMC TV show. At this year’s film festival Rogen, Ennis, and Catlin came back to speak on the panel, Inside the Making of Preacher.

We are thrilled to share his #SXSWFilm25 story with you.

“I love SXSW because they are the only festival that puts comedy on an equal stage with other genres. They’ve been the perfect place to launch a number of our movies and I’m sure those movies wouldn’t have found their audience the way they did without the support of the festival.”

Stay tuned to SXSW News each week for more 25th edition stories.

Join Us For SXSW 2018

Grab your Film Badge today for primary access to all SXSW Film events including world premieres, roundtables, workshops, and parties. Register to attend by Friday, October 20 and save before prices go up in November. Make your hotel reservations through SXSW Housing & Travel for the best available rates. We hope to see you in March!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SXSW News for the latest SXSW coverage, announcements, application tips, and updates.

The Disaster Artist – Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SXSW

The post 25 Years of SXSW Film Festival – Seth Rogen appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

October 12, 2017

How to Harness the Power of Social Listening for Curating an Effective Visual Storytelling Strategy

Social listening or the practice of doing research on social media – is squarely positioned under our STORY MAKING phase of our Visual Storytelling Framework:

My Visual Story Framework

According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics, half of all new businesses with employees don’t make it to the fifth year. When you dig deeper and look at the high-tech sector we see that 70% of all venture-backed startups are failing. And less than 1% have a chance of becoming a unicorn.

CBInsights, who ran this report also analyzed the reasons for this staggering failure rate and found the top reasons are: the No Market Need (42%), Get Outcompeted (19%), Lack of Business Model (17%), and Poor Marketing (14%).

Translation: businesses don’t know how to vet a compelling business story that resonates with their market [highlight to tweet].

Founders are in love with their product, but their product is connected to a nice-to-have problem [highlight to tweet]. Customers don’t really consider the problem their product solves as a major pain.

And this is where the rubber meets the road for the viability of social listening in crafting a meaningful business story. In our visual storytelling workshops, I can’t stress enough the importance of developing a clear picture of your top buyer persona – the hero of your business story.

The process of developing an authentic buyer persona profile requires you to do a comprehensive research. You can run a direct interview with your customer, probe your sales team, and run social listening.

Regardless if you’re in the Business-to-Business or Business-to-Consumer, at the other end there is a human being you’re trying to improve her life with your product. So think about this as a Human-to-Human (H2H) relationship building. 

The communication reality is that in today’s sharing economy, your audience is freely talking about their pains, interests on social media channels. So, if you’re working on a new product launch, listening to your audience, your competitors, top influencers – will give you an authentic picture about the market state your product is about to enter.

From this perspective, social listening goes beyond marketing. Think of it as a real-time focus group [highlight to tweet]. It always available for you to learn from and optimize your business story, product development, reputation management, customer service, public relations, influencer recruitment, and tips for enhancing your investor pitch.

All these use cases represent different types of business stories with a wide range of emotional triggers. In order for these stories to be effective, they need to function like “mirrors” and authentically reflect the must-have problem your customer is facing.

Why? Because once your customers see themselves in your story, your story becomes THEIR STORY. They empathize with your message, trust your intentions and are more inclined to act on your call-to-action [highlight to tweet].

I always recommend testing your business story with a few customers, tweak and then you can move into what we call Story Visualizing phase where you convert your business story (your big Why) into mini visual stories. This could be video explainer, infographics all the way up to AR and VR.

Once you have your visual stories created, you move to our Story Telling phase, where you develop your content marketing strategy that adapts your visual narratives to the buyer persona, the platform culture (e.g., LinkedIn vs. Instagram vs. offline event) and their stage in the buyer’s journey (i.e., Discover, Consider, Purchase, Adopt, and Advocate).

But the listening never stops.

Because once your visual storytelling strategy is in full motion, you want to continue to monitor the impact of your stories on your audience and optimize on two levels: a) your tactical approach and b) your overall business narrative viability, as market conditions, trends, audience tastes are in constant change.

On October 31st, I’ll continue discussing this important topic with David Berkowitz, Chief Strategy at Sysomos, the leading social media monitoring platform.

What you will learn:

  • Why is social listening vital for crafting a business story?
  • What are the core challenges marketers are facing today when researching their customer segments?
  • How visual storytelling plays out into social listening?
  • 2 examples of successful social listening done right
  • 3 basic social listening tips you can apply to your business today

Want to know more?

Awesome! We know you’re busy, so if you simply complete this brief form below, we’ll personally send you FREE the video recording, including the audio podcast of my conversation with David Berkowitz, Chief Strategy Officer at Sysomos on our upcoming Visual Storytelling Today show.

You don’t want to miss this!

Already have questions you want our guest
to address during the show?
Sweet! Tweet your questions using: #myVSI

Source: Visual Storytelling

October 11, 2017

Filmmaker In Focus: Assholes and Tragedy Girls

Assholes and Tragedy Girls premiered at the 2017 SXSW Film Festival in our Visions and Midnighters categories, these screening sections are on the funkier side and these films are definitely not for the faint of heart. Take a closer look with our Q&A with the directors below and be sure to check out our alumni blog for more information on where you can watch these films.

Assholes

Peter Vack is an actor and filmmaker from New York City. His award winning short film Send premiered at SXSW in 2014 and went on to play over a dozen other film festivals. Vack has appeared in number of SXSW films, in 2017 alone he appeared in, Dara Ju, M.F.A., and Whiskey Fist. Assholes is his first feature and won the inaugural Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award.

Q: Tell us a little about your film?

PV: Assholes is a perverse comedy about sobriety, addiction, relapse, psychoanalysis, and poppers. That is all I want to reveal here.

Q: What motivated you to tell this story?

PV: I wrote the first act of Assholes impulsively, during a moment of sadness, to exorcise some self-hatred. I showed about twenty-five pages to my friend, Aaron Mark, who is a brilliant playwright and upon whom the male protagonist in Assholes is based.

Aaron encouraged me to do a reading, with him, my sister Betsey Brown, and myself reading the three lead roles. We had a lot of fun reading those pages, and Aaron and Betsey encouraged me to keep writing; but I abandoned Assholes for about two years to write dozens and dozens of drafts of another script for a film that would require a much larger budget to produce. When that film didn’t come together as quickly as I hoped, I felt frustrated in the same way as when I began writing Assholes. So I added a second and third act to those original twenty five pages, making sure to keep the film as contained as possible — only using people and places I had immediate access to — so that Assholes could be made as cheaply as possible. I showed the script to Betsey and Aaron and they encouraged me to make the film. But I was afraid. Ultimately it was Betsey who pushed back hard against my fear and told me I had to take the risk. I am very grateful to her.

Q: What do you want the audience to take away from this film?

PV: I would like for the audience to have an experience watching the film, but I am comfortable knowing that each audience member’s experience will be different.

Tragedy Girls

Originally from Canada, Tyler MacIntyre graduated from AFI with an MFA in 2010. MacIntyre has been mentored by leading industry icons including Peter Bogdanovich and Roger Corman, which helped shape his passion for crafting genre films with a unique voice. His feature debut, the horror-comedy Patchwork won awards at ScreamFest and Toronto After Dark.

Q: Tell us a little about your film?

TM: At its heart, it is a story about two friends having one last hurrah before going off to college… but for them a ‘hurrah’ means starting a murder spree in their high school, and blowing it up on social media. They want to be both victim and perpetrator, journalist and viewer, and even though their outlook on life is warped – it is primarily a story about friendship.

Q: What motivated you to tell this story?

TM: I love playing with the audiences expectations, so stories that subvert genre in interesting ways often appeal to me. This script was originally a very straight-forward slasher narrative which I didn’t connect to, but in rewriting with Chris Hill we were able to find a more satirical angle, equating the narcissism in our characters’ social media presence with literal psychopathic narcissism – which created a lot of really fun opportunities.

Q: What do you want the audience to take away from this film?

TM: This is primarily meant to be a fun ride, but there are definitely elements that I hope cause people to think more critically about the media they consume, and how it can disassociate us from the consequences violent events have for real people.

Join Us For SXSW 2018

Grab your Film Badge today for primary access to all SXSW Film events including world premieres, roundtables, workshops, and parties. Register to attend by Friday, October 20 and save. Make your hotel reservations through SXSW Housing & Travel for the best available rates. We hope to see you in March!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SXSW News for the latest SXSW coverage, announcements, application tips, and updates.

The post Filmmaker In Focus: Assholes and Tragedy Girls appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

October 10, 2017

25 Years of SXSW Film Festival – Jeffrey Blitz, Bill & Turner Ross, and Jeff Malmberg

To commemorate the 25th edition of the SXSW Film Festival, we will spotlight careers launched, artists discovered, powerful performances, and more from our alumni with this week’s featured artists are Jeffrey Blitz, Bill & Ross Turner, and Jeff Malmberg.

Jeffrey Blitz

Jeffrey Blitz is a director and producer whose film Spellbound won the SXSW Documentary Feature Jury Award in 2002. Blitz has went on to direct Rocket Science and many episodes of hit TV shows including The Office and Parks and Recreation. Blitz re-teamed with Anna Kendrick earlier this year for the comedy Table 19, co-written by Blitz and SXSW alum Jay and Mark Duplass.

“When Spellbound premiered at SXSW, I was wrapping my first commercial directing job in Vancouver. The timing meant of the shoot meant that I actually — incredibly — missed the very first public screening of Spellbound anywhere, but producer Sean Welch and editor Yana Gorskaya were there to represent and report back. My plane landed while the movie was screening and I took a cab into town, eager to meet up with Sean and Yana to hear how it had gone. While I waited for my cohorts on a street corner in Austin, I heard first one, then another raving about this spelling bee documentary they had just seen. I was certain Sean and Yana had recruited friends to prank me so when they finally arrived to share the deliriously good news about how well it had been received and to assure me those people on the street were actual strangers, I got my first taste of the kind of breakthrough experience SXSW would be for us.”

Bill & Turner Ross

Bill and Turner Ross, more commonly know as the Ross Brothers, have had three features play at SXSW. Their first feature documentary 45365 won the jury award in 2009, Tchoupitoulas premiered in Emerging Visions in 2012, and Western screened in Festival Favorites and won the Louis Black Lone Star Award. Their most recent doc feature Contemporary Color, follows musician David Byrne’s staged event at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center to celebrate the art of Color Guard. Additionally, the brothers worked as cinematographers on the 2016 Oscar-nominated film, I Am Not Your Negro.

“Our debut at SXSW in 2009 started us down the path of an adventure we couldn’t possibly have imagined. They took a chance on a nowhere movie from nobody directors and that good faith decision demarcates our before and after.”

Jeff Malmberg

Jeff Malmberg’s feature debut Marwencol, earned him the Grand Jury Award for Documentary Feature at SXSW 2010. The film was released theatrically by the Cinema Guild and aired on PBS. Marwencol has won over 25 awards, including two Independent Spirit Awards, Best Documentary of the Year from the Boston Society of Film Critics and Rotten Tomatoes, to name a few. His newest documentary Spettacolo, co-directed by Chris Shellen, premiered at this year’s SXSW Film Festival and is currently playing in theaters. Robert Zemeckis is currently making a fiction film based on the doc starring Steve Carrell.

“SXSW changed my life by being the first to stand up and support my film Marwencol. Before SXSW, Marwencol was just this little homemade project that I made in my bedroom. I had no idea if anyone would watch it or get it, but Janet Pierson did, and playing the film at SXSW singlehandedly launched the film and my career as a filmmaker. And this year they did it again by supporting my second film, Spettacolo, which I made with my wife, Chris. They’re willing to take chances on new voices and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”

Join Us For SXSW 2018

Grab your Film Badge today for primary access to all SXSW Film events including world premieres, roundtables, workshops, and parties. Register to attend by Friday, October 20 and save before prices go up in November. Make your hotel reservations through SXSW Housing & Travel for the best available rates. We hope to see you in March!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SXSW News for the latest SXSW coverage, announcements, application tips, and updates.

Jeffrey Blitz – Photo courtesy of filmmaker
Ross Brothers – Photo by: Chris Saucedo
Jeff Malmberg – Photo by: Amanda Stronza

The post 25 Years of SXSW Film Festival – Jeffrey Blitz, Bill & Turner Ross, and Jeff Malmberg appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film