People, an important part of today’s world, and it’s not much different in the movie industry. If no one gives a flying mammal about your film, then you are screwed. Doing it for the art? Sure, you can but you still need some money before you do it for the art. If you care about people, who I recommend you to do so to a certain extent, then welcome to The People’s Voice, an article all about the voice of the public. Today’s topic, buzz vote. Buzz is important because well, you can make the most epic movie ever but if no one knows about it, then the ticket won’t sell at all and you won’t be making any money. In HTG, buzz vote is part of the box office formula alongside talent score, theater vote and advertisement budget. You only have 4 things in the formula, so you better try to score everything you can if you want your movie to be a hit.
Now, the survey is sent to the public, alongside Hollywood workers from those in front of the curtain and also the backstage crew. From janitor to millionaire, from age 3 to 80, I am covering every demographic here in this one so the result is unquestionable. When I say The People’s Voice, I meant it. I ain’t no liar so now, let’s get to the survey result…but before that, let’s start with my own opinion. It’s only fair for me to share my opinion when I am getting information from others, barter trading style. Alright, here’s the question of the day:
What are your top three criteria when scoring the buzz? Preferably in order.
To me, number one is definitely the ad campaign and ad campaign in HTG is all about effort and passion that one displays over his project. When you don’t give a flying mammal(yeah, I use that a lot) about someone or something, you don’t do anything about it and when you do a lot of things to someone or something, it shows that you care. Your girlfriend/wife/boyfriend/husband/family, you do a lot of thing for them. Your hobby, you spend a lot of time on them. Projects that you love, you would try your best to spread the word. You want to let people know “Hey, this is coming out soon” and you would convince them to watch by telling them about the story and so on. It’s basic marketing, really. Ultimately, HTG is a game, it’s not something you do to pay your bill. You are here because you love to write and you hope someone would want to read your film at the end of the day.
This community isn’t very huge(the good news, it is growing), every read is precious and you can only get a precious review after someone has read your film. You have to fight for every reader out there. If you don’t care about people reading or not, you still need a good buzz score for a higher score in the box office calculation. So in the end, no matter what is your objective, to earn money or to get Yoda or both, you need buzz score. It’s not only because it’s in the formula because a higher buzz score also means people are interested in the project. How you get someone to be interested in your project? You tell them more about it and one way to do that is ad campaign. There’s even a Yoda and Sully for ad campaign because it is supposed to be important. Yet, I have not seen many impressive ad campaign out there.
Number two, my overall impression of the film’s premise. While I do award effort more than anything else, first impression is still something. Let’s say I met two girls at the same time, the one that are better looking to me will have a higher initial score. They can be decent people at the end of the day and get the same final score, but buzz vote is all about the first impression before the film is out. The “final score” is more of like theater vote. I mainly do this if there’s a lack of effort on ads and I can only assess based on what (limited info) I know of it at that moment.
Number three, poster. Well, when nothing is known to a film thanks to the lack of information given, then I can only buzz vote based on the poster visible in the buzz vote page. In that case, I can only judge it based on the poster and maybe some inaccurate estimation of the film’s content that I made up at that time.
So, there you go, my three points. Now, it’s time for the survey result. I will be using percentage because well, I don’t want to scare you because of the epic sample size and I am not that much of a show off anyway:
Ad campaign is on 100% of the survey answer so literally everyone out there would like to see like an ad campaign. Also, 60% of the people put it as their first priority of scoring the buzz. People do agree that ad campaign will change their view and get them pumped up for a movie. Some consider ad campaign to be a display of passion and dedication to the product. When someone is willing to go for an extra mile, you know that he is serious about his movie. I think film producer, Quantum, sums it up pretty well with his answer:
“Advertising, plain and simple. The more time and energy somebody puts into advertising the more passion you know they have for the project. The more passion they have generally translates into a good film. Lately, people have just been throwing up a poster with some text as their only ad and expecting a ten. Not good enough for me. If you want me to vote high, put in the work in the ads. Talk about it in the main chat. The more I hear about it, the higher my buzz vote goes up. Even if I’m not entirely interested in the source material.”
Poster is on 73% of answer but only 11% put it as their first priority. Regardless, it’s still a strong influence on the buzz score. Visual perception is a strong thing as we human being judge the beauty of one thing mainly with our vision. In Chinese culinary art, the three main focuses are “color”, “smell” and “flavor”. “Color”, as in visual, is on the front row. In video game, graphic is a huge part too, especially in the mainstream market. Movie-wise, there’s a reason why studios are willing to invest so much money on CGI and 3D. In the buzz session, poster is the visual support of a movie so of course it is very important. This is also part of Quantum’s top 3:
“People forget how important this is. A poster also shows your passion for the project. A shitty poster means you don’t really care about what the HTG legacy of the project is. If you seek out good creative work it means you’re striving for success for your film. People forget that HTG has been around for a long time and it’s probably going to be around for awhile longer. There’s a strong chance people will see that theater poster 5 years down the line. Make sure they can see that it was at least good back in the day if not still now. The better that theater poster the more hope I have for the project.”
61% of people consider film appeal as part of their top 3. It actually has a larger top spot share than poster, 20% of people put it as their top priority. Well, this is pretty much uncontrollable. If your film is one that has mainstream appeal or just nail the main demography perfectly, no doubt more people are interested in it. Of course, this doesn’t mean one should just find what people like and write based on that. Put more effort in pushing the product out and the buzz vote will still be in your closed palm.
Franchise appeal is on 18% of the answer, 11% of top spot and this is why franchise is such a wonderful thing to have. A franchise with many fans will always give the movie an initial advantage over others but screw up a franchise though, and it will really be your nightmare. To stay on topic of buzz score, franchise alone is enough to gather a bit of raw buzz to start with so an adaptation does has it perks, so to speak.
Film cast is also on 18% of the answer but no top spot. Having a good film cast doesn’t hurt at all, good cast is praised usually in the review and now, you know that it matters too in the buzz score. Players in HTG have solid imagination and a good cast will help them to picture the film even better when reading it and even before reading it, they will be like “Cool, this one has talent A in it!”. Never underestimate the drawing power of the talents.
Trailer is ultimately an ad device but it is specifically mentioned in 15% of the answer sheet so that means an ad campaign is incomplete without trailer for them, I assume. I do like the idea of trailer since it is such a common way to advertise in real life so it should be included in a simulation game that stimulates the movie business. That makes perfect sense. Now that you know about this, do plan a trailer or two in your ad campaign.
Track record is in 8% of the answer. What is “track record”? It’s kind of like reputation. Let’s face it, no one can be completely fair in this world, human ain’t saint and I admit I can be biased at times too when it comes to buzz voting, it is not my top 3 but it can affect me from time to time. When a producer has put up a lot of so-so films in a row, it’s hard to not auto-assume that his next film isn’t going to be much better. This is especially true when one has been slacking in his works at the moment, scrapping by the minimum and so on. The only advice I have for this case is that the producer needs to possess a certain pride to his things, don’t slack off, try to showcase your desire to improve and produce good things.
In conclusion, producers should invest themselves more into the advertisement department especially it is proven that it has such a great impact on the buzz score. I mean, really, advertisement isn’t so hard to do, when you can write a script which is arguably longer, you can write an ad just fine, it’s just your willingness to do so and that ultimately define your buzz score in a big way. Among the answers above, there are some you can’t really do much about like the film’s premise and also franchise appeal. Things like cast, poster and so forth are under their control though so the producers have to make sure they are taking advantage of those things, be serious about casting choices, trying to get a good poster done and so on. They need to really show to the world that they are seriously in what they are doing. Don’t just hope people will read your things, do more advertisements, show the world that you do have pride and passion in your project and people will be more inclined to read it. Hopes and talks are nothing until you do something about it. When you yourself don’t care about something, how are you going to convince everybody else to care about it? So, don’t be shy at all, show your stuff with pride, show them proudly and loudly and your effort will not go unnoticed.
OOC: Thank you for all the participants of the survey. I did PMed/e-mailed everyone but if my question fails to reach you, then I am sorry about that. Special thanks to Quantum for allowing me to use his answer in the article. I did say that no name will be mentioned in the article but Quantum has put a lot of effort in his answers and it will be a waste to not put them in here. See? Effort will not go unnoticed.