Yeah, I didn’t expect you to care.
It’s funny, actually. I love documentaries and I fell in love with Spurlock with Super Size Me, but when this movie came around, I actually found myself incredibly hesitant to watch it (hence the 3 years it has taken me). Part of it, I’m sure, is based on how much I disliked his reality show 30 Days. However, upon doing some deep personal reflection, I think the actual subject of the film itself was what had me so reluctant to watch it. Even after it finally made it to the top of my Netflix queue…I kept struggling with the idea to just cut it out of the pile, although the topic was (and is) something I found very interesting.
And actually, what I just said is not entirely accurate…what put me off is how the movie was sold. Because of its review of product placement and advertising processes utilized within Hollywood, it ended up being sold in the most obnoxious methods possible..and I found myself viewing this movie as though it were nothing more than a product shill…
I’m happy to say I was too lazy to hit the delete button from my Netflix DVD queue.
This film does exactly what it promises. It shows you precisely what process almost every big movie today goes through and forces Spurlock to become that corporate spokesperson that we all hate…everything that we would see as being in direct opposition to what he is, at least from our exposure to him in his debut documentary…one would probably state that his most recent director-ship (a One Direction film) would probably change our minds about him as well (although I haven’t seen the film, so I really shouldn’t judge).
But this is the thing. From everything I knew about this film through the advertisement of it up to actually watching it, I found myself absolutely despising Spurlock. Here was this guy who, although I may question some of the techniques he used in his fast food movie, has this brilliantly snarky quality to his documentary films that I find myself rather adoring, that I believed sold out because of the way he sold this movie.
Yet, if you watch the movie, you find that was exactly the point…to show how one goes about selling out, and to ask the question…at what point do you actually sell out. Of course, I realized this going in, but I still couldn’t help having this tainted vision of the man, making it difficult to take this movie seriously.
But, this isn’t a review of the movie (although I would suggest you giving it a watch). It’s actually a review of my own self-reflection while watching it. As you are no-doubt aware, I struggle often with the marketing of my personal brand…I like writing, I want people to read my books, I’d also like to make a few bucks off of them if possible. Yet, I just really don’t know how to go about marketing myself in an effective manner, not to mention in a manner that doesn’t make me feel dirty afterwards.
This movie showed me a multitude of options available to a person willing to do whatever it takes to sell, options that, on more than one occasion, I found myself considering how I could fit them into my own (non-existent) advertising routine.
Ultimately, none of them are things I consider worthwhile methods for myself, as they all felt as though they would kill my own feeling of integrity (you know, the whole concept of selling out…). But the concept is still there. I mean, how is it even possible in today’s world to make your mark above those who are overly sold when you aren’t willing to plaster your face and name on every billboard, movie theater screen, street sign, bus side, ad paper, newspaper, magazine, or whatever?
Is it possible?
I have to admit that I’m personally somewhat removed from the ad world nowadays. With my days spent mostly at home and my television coming mostly from Netflix, I don’t see nearly the amount of marketing as the normal person. So, perhaps I’m somewhat skewed when I say that I’m more likely to buy something or watch something based on recommendations from friends. But it seems to me that this is still the ultimate marketing method, what those marketing folks like to call Network Marketing (or so I believe). The word of mouth campaign is what I believe most marketing firms are looking to receive, the viral video of the marking world.
Of course..either you have to have something good enough to create word of mouth recommendations…or you have to offer something nice in return for people doing so.
I try to stick to the first option…although much more difficult, and I’m still questionably successful at that, it’s really the only option I have at my disposal, thanks to my bank account 🙂
All the same, Spurlock’s film caused me to think deeply about my own methods for marketing myself (and my books, obviously) and I came up with a deeper resolution on my current process. And I’m pretty happy with it. If no one reads my books because no one is talking about them because they just aren’t that good…I’m okay with that. I mean, it’s not like the most awesome thing ever, but I’m alright with it, as it gives me something to work on and make better. If I spent a ton of time and energy on convincing everyone that my books are what they should be reading, only to find that they really could care less…well, then I think I’d feel guilty. As is it, I already find myself feeling somewhat guilty when I hear someone has bought one of my books…but I guess that’s just the negative part of myself assuming they’ll hate it, even though I’m incredibly proud of my work.
Hell, I had people just a couple weeks ago express their love of my books to my face without me asking them about them…and I’m still pretty sure they were just trying to make me feel better. That’s the issue with an insecure brain I suppose. Those compliments just couldn’t possibly be real, right?
Anyways, I guess this is just yet another message from me saying that I intend to continue placing my focus on my writing and making it even better than before. Seems to be a recurring theme around here lately…perhaps I should just get back to writing then.
Have fun out there.
Oh, and p.s.: I totally appreciate all the compliments I have received. The above comment regarding them is just a note on how stupidly my brain works sometimes, not on any form of whining or complaint or whatever about them…they still make me smile when I think about them.