JUNE 2013 – DECEMBER 2014
· At this stage, the money hadn’t yet come in. We were waiting for the IDC to get back to us, because there had been hectic delays with their legal department.
· At the same time, we were finalizing terms with the choreographer, Paul Modjadji. One big thing for him was retaining the IP on the moves that he would come up with. There was a bit of back and forth about this, as well as about his rate.
· We were also under a lot of pressure from Phoenix films. At the time, they were breathing down our necks about how the brands were unhappy because the release date kept being pushed backwards. Another big talking point around this time was the commission that they would take for the barter deal with LoveLife. They wanted cash as a commission for a barter deal where LoveLife promised us a R 1,2 million rands worth of media. To this day, that media hasn’t yet come in, and we are not sure how it was quantified.
· We should have set up a Twitter and Facebook account at around this time – but since the film was not yet greenlit, this was the last thing on our minds at that stage.
· We were also very distracted with Remix, the 5 part drama series that we were doing for Mzansi Magic. We decided to use it as a “testing ground” to learn about Internet marketing. We didn’t really learn much: all we did was set up a FB page, set up Ads on FB (we spent around R 1000 on FB ads in total) and run it. We ended up with 1000 or so likes for the page. But really we didn’t actually know what we were doing. Internet marketing is really a part of a broader marketing campaign and one needs someone who knows what he or she is doing to handle it.
· From the First P of the 4 Ps of marketing perpective – product – this was around the time that we started rewriting the script completely. It was basically a page one rewrite because we felt that the story was not strong enough at all… In fact, we thought it was shit.
- When we were shooting the film there was the whole issue with taking photos for the poster.
- We had meetings with the poster designer number 1: and how this whole process just fell apart towards the end of the year.
- The big lesson with the photos was that we needed the onset photographer to come even more often. Also it's a good idea to do a mockup of the poster and sit down with both the photographer and the graphic designer and go through it element by element. The mistake that we made with our particular poster, for example, was that we wanted to mimic the poster of Step Up 2… Now we just assumed that a shot of the extras at the bottom of the poster would work – but this assumption proved to be incorrect. We should have analyzed that Step Up Poster much more closely and we'd have realized that the guys at the bottom of the screen are not extras but people dancing… so we needed a shot of our dancers dancing against a white background and actually facing the camera. So that whole poster design process actually needs a lot more precision than we came into it with.
- During this time we came up with the Hear Me Movement. More information can be found in the DropBox. It was a full on proposal. Grace Gilburt committed to helping us to pull it off.
- CA the editor was away until the middle of the month. When he got back from the holiday, he got cracking working on the offline edit.
- At the same time his partner Quinn got working on the behind the scenes of the film. The end result was that by early February the behind the scenes was ready.
- However there was a delay with the trailer – which Quinn started working on only after he had finished the behind the scenes.
- I think the lesson learnt from this is that you want to get going on the trailers first, before you hit the behind the scenes. The issue is that the editor will say that they need to see the offline first and get a sense of the film before they can work on the trailer. However, because I was the writer in this case, I had a pretty good idea of the content that we had and I eventually wrote a script for the trailer (the extended trailer , 2 minutes) and then the editor worked off of this.
- The behind the scenes had a lot of back and forth about it. There was a 6 minute version, an 8 minute version and a 14 minute version. I still think they were finished too early, and we should have focused on getting the trailer of the film out by February. This is also because later on in the year, when having meetings with people to ask for more money/ when going to festivals, they immediately resonate with the trailer. Also because of the delays with the trailer we were not able to go out with Step Up All In. There was quite a lot of back and forth and delays with music getting cleared then not getting cleared, then final mix happening then getting delayed, etc. The end result was that the trailer only got launched in August 2014… It should've been launched in April. Then there was the whole black hat seo techniques story about the trailer, but that is a story for another day.
We engage with Jason. He starts working.,… We also engage with other people during this time to do the poster for the film.
- Around this time, we were heavy into putting together a marketing plan for the film. We tried a couple of leads, which did not materialize. The people who we actually knew were not too helpful. They fell into two categories: there were the marketing specialists – these are people who had worked in marketing before and as such had some experience. We approached these people for quoatations they could give us to draw up a comprehensive marketing plan for the film. None of them got back to us. Then there was a second category of people. These were filmmakers. Again, here we got very little help in terms of information that we were not aware of..
- We eventually hired the chap off Elance. Jason Frichol. This chap was worth his weight in gold.
- We then started building up the presentation, with the idea of presenting to various corporates in order to get them to sponsor the activations of the films. We hired a graphic designer to put the mock ups together… This process was actually not that useful and a bit of a waste of money. In the meetings that we had subsequently, it panned out that the thing that the sponsors cared most about was knowing how many people would interact with their product, whether the activations would be on TV or not, how much money we wanted and what was the timeline. As we will see when we get to that section of our narrative, most of the sponsors had tied up their budgets and they seem to decide what product activations they are going to be holding a year in advance. Therefore we were like 4 months too late, often times.
- We were heavy into the music clearances story by this time… Wandi's got more information about what went down with Kalawa Jazzme.
- Jason goes very quiet around this time.
- Jason continues working.
- We prepare the big “powerpoint pitchbook presentation” with all the mockups that were done by the Indian guy.
- Trailer back and forth.
- Music clearances nightmare.
- The battle with Phoenix Films heats up because they are reluctant to watch the film and do a post morten.
- We had a very good meeting at Cannes with Dexter Davis, where he offered to give us $50 pre-sale for distribution rights in the US. He got pissed off because he said that our follow up really sucked.
- Remember the whole screening in his apartment incident?
Lesson from Cannes: YOU HAVE TO GO TO CANNES! It's very good PR. Hold a screening anywhere you can (if you don't have a theatre).