Monday, 12 July 2010
SeeFilmFirst - Paying Off Teenage Film Bloggers One Free Ticket At A Time.
SeeFilmFirst.com are a company who have recently been offering free movie tickets to film bloggers. We get the privilege of watching flicks before they come out. Just this week, they gave me a free ticket to see the re-make of 'THE KARATE KID'. Hundreds of other film bloggers were afforded the same opportunity.
Word Of Mouth is such an integral part of film marketing these days. It makes sense for a studio to want lots of people to see their movies before they officially open; because it means that by time they are on general release -- we all know lots about them. Hype, buzz, whatever you want to call it: it's likely to get more of us into the cinema and loaded up on popcorn.
The unfortunate thing is that companies like SeeFilmFirst are not just innocently giving us a chance to watch a movie for free and to blog our opinions about them. They are trying to entice us to write positive spin for their client's releases, therefore helping Sony Pictures, the distributor, make a lot of money at the box office. This works because Film Bloggers are prone to underestimating the impact of their blogs. If I write a massively positive review of 'THE KARATE KID', and 800 people read it today, it's entirely possible only a handful of those will see it. But far more of them will TALK about it. Thus, word of mouth does its magic. The other day I wrote 'The Karate Kid is surprisingly good!' on my Facebook status. A day later my brother told me that his friend had 'heard that The Karate Kid is really good!' -- when my Brother told him that I had written a status about it, the friend replied with "oh yeah, that's where I heard it!" It's as simple as that. A bit of positive feedback, and we latch onto it subconsciously - word of mouth is so powerful.
You might not think it, but film bloggers are a very powerful tool for film studios. SeeFilmFirst, in essence, act as the middle-man; hooking up the studios new releases with us little film bloggers, who are generally disgruntled film lovers who are pissed off that we don't get paid while the people writing junk in film magazines do. So when someone offers us a freebie, we jump at it. It feels great, free passes! Score!
SeeFilmFirst don't just ask for you to watch the film. They ask for you to blog about it. Not only do they want you blog about it, but they ask you to blog positively about the movie. First of all, they send you an email reminding you to write a review, otherwise you risk not getting passes to more screenings.
"Please send us links to your blogs on the film after you have posted to ensure we can keep inviting you to previews!"
I can understand that. They are giving you a chance to see a movie for free, so I can grasp why they want something in return. But then more emails come.
They offer prizes for "which they also refer to as a prize "
SeeFilmFirst also actively encourage under 16's to begin blogging; showing teenagers how they can blog positively for a big corporation in order to win prizes - "
My concern is that this is unethical and manipulative to young people. It is also concerns me that the integrity of film bloggers will be tested. It used to be that film critics would get paid off to write puff pieces, now it's a free ticket and a promise of prizes and future screenings. Being lowly film bloggers, we are more than likely to accept.
I hope you guys don't mind me going off track from my usual cheery style of blogging to focus on this. What are your thoughts. Are we likely to see film bloggers writing more and more puff pieces for studio pictures? Is it okay for teenagers to be encouraged to advertise for film studios and for companies like SeeFilmFirst?
Not only are teenagers being marketed TO, companies like SeeFilmFirst are also asking kids to DO the marketing. This is a dangerous path, I fear.