May 04, 2008

Clever Adverts and Stupid Movies

Clever Adverts and Stupid Movies
Having been searching through YouTube recently for new ideas & videos, I found 'Future Shorts'.


Future Shorts is one of the leading and most innovative short film labels. Since 2003, Future Shorts has created a rapidly expanding network that allows filmmakers the opportunity to have their work seen on the largest theatrical platform worldwide. Passionately believing in getting short films seen and creating a culture around the medium, Future Shorts is recognised by filmmakers, the industry and press alike as the cutting-edge short film label. Future Shorts is a worldwide monthly film festival as well as a distributor, sales agent, consultancy service and DVD label. This is fresh cinema- Future Shorts.”

From Future Shorts

After watching some of their videos and subscribing, I found myself involved in a whole new situation. The short film, not to keen among the average Hollywood action viewing public, it is usually a showcase for the new writer or director and the aim is to present themselves. In the past many have started their career's through short films and in actual fact- even those who have already made it still continue to quench the thirsts of over enthusiastic film lovers by filling in the time between major releases, for example, a personal favourite, David Lynch (Favourites include The Boat and The Amputee).
Anyway back to the point, I was in the cinema today and saw 21 (Starring Jim Sturgess, Kevin Spacey and Kate Bosworth) highly recommended and before the film started it was time for the ads and trailers. The first to appear was endorsed by Future Shorts and was entitled "Procrastination" and for the next minute and a half, I was treated to a very dreary voice describing his day while the pictures were being drawn. At first, you wonder what the point is, but as the day continues, the dots become connected and what turns from a day for him to do 'his stuff' turns into a day of anything other.
Below is the video

This made me smile, I will be glad to let you know that I could not only see the intelligence that was put into this but that artist's handiwork on screen was so simple that it was ingenious and very intriguing. As the minutes goes on, you start to want to guess what happens next and if this 'stuff' is ever going to get done.
Another reason for me to mention this is the fact that short films are finally getting their time in the spotlight. Most people get to the cinema in time for the ads and so by placing this at the beginning, massively increased the viewership and hopefully some of those people remembered the name 'Future Shorts' and checked them out when they got home.
The term, 'clever ad' reminds me of the recent Ford campaign of the stupid dogbot and that there are two sides to everything, read between the lines, is the saying that comes to mind. But in the last decade we, as the viewing public, have been presented with adverts which don't stretch our mind and either just clearly advertise an item or try in vain comedy (Daz or Bounty) to entertain the audience. But I feel that the new era of ads have arrived, they not only want to amuse the audience or incline them to buy their item but also want to make the viewer feel comfortable within their situation or expand their brain activity!
To this end, I suggest a stand against watching just any rubbish, if films and television are searched through for the best and most hard hitting then why must we accept anything less from our advertising?
I felt a trend coming and after watching "Procrastination", Adidas' new advert came on. After being treated to images of dingy London, the voiceover was making it clear that the only way to be happy with the environment you live in, is to make it your own and this was then followed by a small group as they buy plants and then during one night, plant them along a path near a bridge. We are then told the only way to make it right is to 'Leave Your Mark.' Here is another prime example of the new trend of advertising, which is made to make one happy- to look at what is being done and think, that if each of us did this, we could produce something pretty amazing.
You may be wondering how I am able to speak about ads for so long but here is the complete contrast, the lights dimmed in the cinema and the trailers for upcoming films began. Films in recent years (Crash, Babel and The Hours) have climbed in quality as they include accomplished casts and actual meanings that make people think. They are not scared to show the problems with the human condition, Crash's main premise is just that, the only way for people to communicate, to think about each other is to crash, to collide, to cause conflict and this sort of movie, although becoming more popular these days are still being trumped for films like Sex and The City (The Movie) & What Happens in Vegas!
Now, do understand that from time to time a good comedy, a feel good movie, something which won't really change my life is always good but with the bombardment of so many all at the same time! Is this really what the filmgoers among us yearn for?
Congratulations to HBO for really launching the career of actresses like Sarah Jessica Parker and for giving the world a comedy drama like SitC- the first proper look at city life from the working woman's point of view but in 2004 the series that really did influence our look of TV finished and now, four year later, the team reunite to show what happened afterwards. Do we really need to see our TV on the big screen? Is this what they signed up for when they first started- sure the money must be great but does this at all go against what the show first stood for. It was easily accessible for most people and with DVD sales on the rise, these days, I am sure that the show was doing well... Is it really the right time for the likes of Mr. Big and the lives and loves of Carrie Bradshaw to hit the big screen when there is so much more to write about, when talented writers with something really important to say are turned down by big producers and therefore find it hard to make their point?!!!
Now, people I have spoken to recently about this next topic, can't understand what my problem is... but here it is... I can't stand Indiana Jones... I think the whole franchise is flawed and although I would not want to take away from the massive amount of work gone into these films in the past 20 years, I do find that the idea is repetitive and that somewhat so archaic that it should stay in the past! Supposedly the biggest expected film of the year, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is, I am sure, already creating Oscar Buzz and yet, I can't see the Indie fever... No need for prescription drugs for me, I would be very happy for Harrison Ford to put away his whip and perhaps find retirement as a likely option.
Where are the new ideas? They are being back benched by producers who find the tradition formula works well and therefore don't want to step out of their safety zones (like our ad's!) and yet I wonder what people said to Spielberg and Lucas when they first created the idea of I Jones... So he swings from trees (Have you seen Tarzan?)
Seriously people, put down the mainstream and think about opening your mind... Step away from the DVD boxset and make a stand... where are the new writers? Well hopefully one is right here and within just one person there are a lot of ideas!!! Hopefully, one can make their mark!
As you can tell, the path of this post has gone slightly away from what I originally thought, it was meant to be a jibe at second rate rom-coms and a big thumbs up for a new strand of ads and yet, I have sidetracked... let's have the new ideas... take a stand and don't be handed just the traditional formula... it's time for a breath of fresh air!

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