Posts Tagged ‘excess

25
Jan
19

Too Much Advertising Ruins Sales!

writingboltVStheworld_scottpilgrim-fastspace_apsample-1****

Is there such a thing as too much advertising? You betcha. And, lately, some advertisers are getting WAY too much exposure. Thanks, digital TV systems capable of skipping commercials, though it works better in some modes than others which makes little sense…but that’s human technology for ya.

The days of diverse commercial line-ups seem to have drifted into the crapper. Now, we get ads that reappear every seven minutes, and sometimes twice in a three-minute window, because no one else seems interested in advertising.

You might think this is a golden opportunity to get cheap advertising/air time. But, hold your corny sales pitches and lame “real people, not actors.” An excess of ads spoils business. At least, for me it does. It’s like those movies that feature some poor shlub handing out flyers only to get bumped and spill the fliers all over the city.

I do not respond well to repeating commercials. I really get annoyed by them. And, the dumber the commercial, the worse I respond.

So, the next time you feel like promoting yourself, make sure your ads are spaced out nicely. Or, you will end up on my grumbly list. And, you don’t want to end up there. Because I will proceed to bad-mouth your product or service to the point that I annoy the people I meet.

Ever heard of the domino effect? Tim-stop-the-madness-ber.

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17
Dec
15

What Sells a Certain Sci-Fi Franchise?

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If I mention a certain series of sci-fi films that have literally canvassed the globe in heaps of stuff, you might get excited.  [Please, don’t wet yourself…or me.]  Or, you might complain how everyone else seems excited but you.  Some of you may be a little divided.  And, rightly so.  I am, too.

And, as another tide of the hype hits me from television media, I ask myself…what sells the movies?

1- Is it the story? 

What IS the story?  How much of a plot is there?  And, how much is just visual fluff and audio hypnosis?

If I give it serious thought, stripping away the sounds and light shows, I am not sure there is much of a story.  At least, it’s not very deep in detail.  I might have to put on reading glasses to find a plot.  It’s more like a slide show of a war in progress with some splashes of stopping to gab or clash with peers.  More “Hold onto your seat!” and “Great shot, kid!” than “We’re family?”

When a film ends, we think there was a story because it all flowed with the wash transition effects.  If there’s anything that confuses us, we dismiss it in favor of the colorful pictures imprinted in our retinas.  I know I walk away asking more questions than I have answers.  And, if the new director’s other notable TV project with a title of four letters says anything about his future projects, I can expect more of the same, becoming LOST in the fantasy imagery and flashes of emotion.

If there’s one grain of serious story in the films, it has to be the father-son relationship and the impact of genetics/evolution upon life.  There’s also the rise of good and bad powers in deceptive clothing and the occasional changing of sides.  So, there is some story…but it might be like chunks of cereal floating in a sea of milky spectacle and merchandise.  [More on the latter later.]

2- Is it the acting, the cast? 

Can I really say any actor stands out for a stellar performance?  Well, I can think of two actors in the films that stand out for me.  One hated how she was “forced” to look.  As a little green puppet would say, “Bad costumes lead to anger.  Anger leads to hatred.  Hatred leads to drunken and verbally explosive behavior laced with expletives.”

The other, a male secondary character/actor, has had more films with meatier parts and gone through some small changes over the decades.  In some ways, he should have been the lead.  But, not if it meant he had to be a whiny youth with all the luck…except for losing limbs and turning evil.  [“Stop whining, already!  Don’t make me turn this spaceship around, mister!  No one’s destroying an empire today with that attitude!”]   Then, I guess, being second billing isn’t all bad.  I might even prefer to be a chatty orange creature with big, flapping ears in Goofy clothing.  [That’s right.  That annoying chatterbox was a pre-Disney takeover Goofy wannabe.]

There are some serious creature haters out there.  Some question the use of little people in teddy bear costumes.  I call those audience assemblers.  The films broaden the audience base by changing the original conceptions for the story.  A slasher samurai story becomes a dazzling display of both serious and silly characters.  It’s a Muppet show!  Everyone can come…even if you are too young to process the heavy stuff.  Bring the family!  Buy more tickets!  Spend more on snacks to appease the restless ones!

3-Is it the music/sound effects? 

A very likely possibility.  There is definitely a sound buffet that dazzled ears when they first heard it.  Thank the orchestra and sound effect technicians.  There are iconic sounds that people will echo when the titles come to mind.  So, that much sticks with many if not most viewers.  You might pay twice to hear them, again.  [Or, you could seek the purchase of a soundtrack.]

4-Is it the visuals, the special effects and cinematography?

As I like to say, if you have the resources, anything is possible.  We’ve already highlighted the orchestra which could get pricey.  What does it cost to film on lavishly decorated sets, create countless models and mold goofy yet innovative costumes?  How much does a growing, glowing light sword cost?  Could someone with less or more money have done the same or better?

5-Is it the merchandising?

Well, you tell me.  How much of the “stuff” have you already bought?  How much do you enjoy it?  And, how much sits on a shelf, hoping to not get scratched, dinged or dusty?  I worry about those who feel the need to collect nearly everything if not everything ever made for a film.

There has been WAY too much merchandising for the latest installment.  I cannot express that enough.  It’s sick.  It does not bode well for the environment nor mental health.  What it DOES do well is guarantee more kids will have plenty and not go “starving” for what another kid has.  It spares envy and jealousy.  But, does every kid really need a stiff plastic replica of a guy supposed to be the most evil thing in the universe?…at least, until someone replaces him.

But, if merchandising blindsides the story, what sense is that?  If you care more about the stuff because you saw it displayed in a commercial window.  Look, I have the guy on the screen!  Are you really enjoying the stories/films or clinging to material things?  Shouldn’t the story sell itself?  Aren’t there other films you like as much that have no toys to go with them?  Aren’t you just as happy without the stuff?

So, even if merchandise boosts ticket sales, it seems excessive and misdirecting.  It smells like people trying to milk something for all it’s not even worth instead of being content with smiles for a good show.  I guess there’s nothing wrong with getting a sale while the selling is good…until I think of all the packaging and impulse/erroneous holiday shopping that leads to second-hand and dumpster madness.  When is enough enough?   And, what monstrous behavior are we encouraging with all this production?

[And, let me just say this.  It’s probably the merchandising that bothers me most of all.  It may be the reason I feel compelled to write such a post.  That and one empire swallowing another just to become more ridiculous.  The films write the story of their own demise.]

6-Is it the “hype?”

I think that’s obvious.  I like how an article I recently read puts it.  Empty interviews with people who have not even seen the film(s).  Let’s get the cast on camera as much as possible with people who have no clue to promote, package, sell it every way possible until all parties are puking swag and over-tired….until everyone looks at what should be a delight as just another job in which we augment our bodies to fit a part for someone’s amusement.

Who is amused?  Not those who make the films other than the few golden moments of fan appreciation that get washed away by financial dealings and the next project on a star’s radar.  How many actors actually see their own films…and like them?  “Thanks, everyone, but I need to focus on changing my body for the next role…I DO have another role coming up; don’t I?   Where’s my agent?  Don’t pigeonhole me.  Send money.”  How many ways or times can an actor be asked how a film “changed their lives” or “changed the world” with some bleached smile in their face?  How many B.S. answers must be given on camera to appease the masses that are driven by hype-mongers?

MOOOO-vies!  Get along, lil couch potatoes!  Yah!  Buy more stuff!  Throw it away and buy even more!  Yah!  Then, it’s onto the next one.  Yah!   So what if you have ten thousand little people in white suits of plastic armor, some missing limbs or burnt to a crisp because you felt you had the luxury to torture the excessive supply in your play room.  [That’s right.  I veered back toward merchandising.  Because it’s everywhere.]

So, in conclusion, yea, I will likely see the latest film.  But, I won’t fully enjoy it because I am so frustrated with the negative points.  I might have been a more loyal fan if the leads in the films didn’t annoy me so much and if there wasn’t such competition over the old stuff and excess of the new…which looks a lot like the old.  You can paint a soldier a dozen different ways.  But, he still smells the same.  New packaging, same product.  Still…well, you decide if its a winner or a loser.

May good conscience and judgement be with you.  With tremendous power comes tremendous concern for how one uses it.

[Damn it, Stan!  Why did you have to sell your empire off to Disney?   There.  I said it.]

 

28
Oct
15

U.S. Math Scores on the Decline, Again? I Know Why.

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No, let’s spend the next decade and millions of dollars on researching the problem instead of looking at the obvious.

Why would math scores (or any school subject grade) drop?  [And, this isn’t the first time I heard about it in the news.]

I can answer that rather simply.  Do your children possess a “pad” or “smart phone” with WiFi access?  Does the school they attend provide WiFi access, or is WiFi available through the school’s walls (from an outside source)?

Anyone who lived through school in the 1980s might recall what teachers used to say about a thing called a CALCULATOR.  They’d say we should put those things away and do the math on paper.  Why?  Because, otherwise, you learn nothing and let the machine do the work for you, whether it malfunctions or not.

Well, guess what people who may yet be clueless, your kids might be holding the new model of that calculator disguised as a whackadoodle telephone they are supposed to be carrying to “stay in touch” in case of an “emergency.”  Oh, this modern connected world with everything at the tip of a search engine’s grasp.

How I love those commercials of people talking to every sort of gizmo now programmed to talk back to you.  Let’s ask our talking toaster to answer all of our questions.  Yea, that will make us smarter.

NOT!

Wake up and smell the burning nuclear material in your hands, people, before the machines are using YOU for their batteries or footstools.  Use your head and put down the radioactive, talking toaster!

*****

14
Sep
15

Let the Force Rest!

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I am all for the Force awakening just to see more aliens and storm trooper variations (though the “clone troopers” bore me to tears).  But, can we cut back a bit on the merchandising?  Every time a Star Wars movie gets buzzing, a whooooole slew of new “swag” starts hitting store shelves and website…uh, cyber-shelves.  It’s insane.  It’s overwhelming.  It’s excessive.  It’s sick.

Just in case anyone is interested, I have some Star Wars toys I am willing/looking to part with.  So, feel free to buzz me if interested.

May the Force be with you to not invest in any new “swag” …except maybe a t-shirt, cap, one of those hoodies that zips over the face to make the helmet or a villain action figure…oh, and one of whatever the coolest new vehicle is.  Yea, get me….er…ehem.  I mean…do not be compelled by the Force to shop.  Use the Force to resist.  And, hope this new movie doesn’t suck like Jar Jar Binks and whiny teen Anakin.

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28
Jul
14

The Art of Excess

 

On a milestone birthday in the depths of space, a budding artist (with a face full of bubbling, molten craters) opened her eyes and marveled at the new tools provided by her parents. The intense, singeing light of her father and the softer, enchanting glow of her mother came together to wish their daughter well in pursuit of happy growth and enhancement. Vowing to make them proud, the young orb took a deep breath and went to work.

Her early efforts produced a multitude of lifeforms both stationary and mobile. The former consistently worshipped her parents while the latter were free to experiment, giving all who watched a source of amusement. Father and mother were indeed pleased. Their smiles burst with a brilliant energy which could be seen from galaxies away.
“Go on, my child!” said the father. “Create more! It gives your mother and I such joy to see you paint your surface with these colors! One day you shall be the crown jewel of our domain!”

So, the child continued to create and age. But, every now and then, her father and mother would drift apart, leaving her in the cold of deep space to wonder if what she created was still worthy of praise. In a fit of sadness and frustration, she struck herself with a large rock, hoping to free some promising ideas from her already cracked skull. Instead, it erased her vision temporarily, wiping a large portion of the art from her surface. When her parents returned, a new motif had taken over their daughter.

“What’s this?!” gasped the father. “Such a drastic change! What has made you tear down what you already made and replace it with something new?!”

“Father, each time I turned around, you and Mother left me alone,” said the young artist with a sigh. “I did not feel your warmth at my back. I thought you no longer approved of my work.”

“Look how they behave differently when I draw closer in your father’s absence,” said Mother with her cheeks aglow as she separated from her mate. “You honor us with your talents, daughter. Go on. Continue creating. You are just beginning to grow.”

Despite her concern and flickering confidence, the artist did as she was told. Nothing she made gave her the joy she had seen in her parents’ faces. Again and again, she changed her canvas while expending her vital energy (which, at the time of her youth, seemed infinite), each time hoping the next visit of her parents would be happier than the last.

When they did return for her birthday, she had yet another surprise waiting for them. Gazing upon the new creation, Father blew flames to the far reaches of space and withdrew. His color paled from an ardent red-orange to a weaker yellow. “What in the great cosmos are those?! And, what are they doing to each other?!”

Tilting her head ever so slightly, his daughter said, “I have not decided what to call them, yet, as they keep changing on me. I am leaning toward naming them Humanity. What do you think, Mother?”

Though her mate was dismayed, mildly cross and tempted to scorch the young artist’s hide, Mother, impressed with the new lifeforms (which could adapt themselves more readily than any other), showed enthusiasm. “They are certainly unique and interactive.” She paused to look away when one fierce band of the fleshy rebels destroyed another, leaving a gruesome stain on the daughter’s cheek. Refraining from preaching about cleanliness, Mother added, “Keep at it, my child. But, do not be so hasty to destroy what you have made. Let it mature with you. You continue to grow in wisdom though experience. Some day, you will shine as bright as your mother or–maybe–your father.”

With those encouraging words, the still youthful artist returned to her labors, working with her latest creation to “enhance” her appearance. [Meanwhile, her parents ventured off in mounting disagreement.] As the years rolled by, the ever-mutable clay of “Humanity” grew in quantity and violence, gradually wiping away portions of her previous work. Just when it seemed like the restless, pale and balding creatures might destroy themselves and everything remaining with them, a new crop would appear to start a revolution. But, the lifeless remnants of the previous batch never seemed to fully disappear. The cosmic strength to absorb injury and clear away the messes made diminished. Eventually, after several expansive conflicts, the bewildering competition amassed heaps of debris on the heavenly creator’s face.

At the dawn of her next birthday, her parents displayed looks of horror. Lakes of toxic sludge and smoking mountains of heavy filth nearly covered every inch of their daughter’s skin. They could barely see her worrisome expression and hear her trailing voice as she pleaded, “Father! Mother! Help me! I have lost control! I am falling apart from within! Help me!”

But, they could do nothing short of wiping her from the cosmos. Reflecting upon her own potentially misguided wisdom, Mother wept. Father slapped himself for being so hasty and persistent in the pursuit of pride. In search of other worlds to litter and ravage, some of the daughter’s tiny parasites ventured deep into space with the ships she provided. Following the errant paths of the wasteful machines over their shoulders, the parents retraced the eons of their previous attempts at raising children and wondered how their neighbors, the Andromeda family, fared so well. [What did they truly know about their neighbors? And, did they need to snoop?]

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“Surprise!” cheered her parents, stirring the young artist from her slumber. The latter rubbed her eyes and followed the visual cues of the former along the curves of her weathered frame. Though she had found herself drowning in darkness and despair only a moment ago, she was now glowing with a renewed sense of peace and a vigor. Gone were the mounds of death and destruction. Those tiny pests she had created were now working together as one happy community, no longer fighting over materials or each other. And, the older forms once thought doomed to extinction were now given their fair share of space to live as Humanity did.

“Happy birthday, my daughter,” said Mother with an earnest smile. “Just look at you, now. So grown-up. So mature. And, to think, a few eons ago, you were ready to throw yourself into the black hole because of some hideous eruption on your face.”

Her father, showing his age with the faintest tint of red in his thinning cheeks and forehead, added, “You have never looked lovelier than you do today, my child. You honor us both. And, look, our neighbors have brought you presents.”

The woozy artist squinted over her parents’ shoulders to see the handful of colorful visitors in the distance, each with tiny surprises headed her way. Neglecting to mention the former identity of the rock chosen as a meeting place, Mother and Father cleared the asteroid field to welcome the guests. Everyone had such a joyous time at the birthday party…

…Except for one tiny solar-powered ship carrying a lone green explorer who steered clear of all the commotion. He didn’t dare venture closer to those he could not yet understand. Instead, he continued his journey through space, watching the universe drift by as he decided what to do with the rest of his life.

 

 

~Writingbolt, 7-26-2014




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