By Chris Rovzar, Vanity Fair
By Chris Rovzar.
Twitter, Olivia Wilde explained at South by Southwest on Saturday, has helped her market movies, improve her relationship with her fans--and perhaps most importantly, helped people realize she's much more than just a pretty face.
"It has dramatically changed my relationship to my fans and my relationship to film marketing," she told Vanity Fair Senior West Coast Editor Krista Smith at a panel called "New Grass Roots: Digital Age Movie Marketing." Also, "people said, Oh, I didn't think you were funny at all but then I read you on Twitter and it made me laugh."
"Most of what I say is just bullshit observations," Wilde continued. "But I now do have a following that will click links that I tweet, which can be to causes that I care about."
Wilde's following is no trifling group--at the moment she has over 816,000 fans on Twitter. She's currently using the space to promote her film Drinking Buddies, an indie film co-starring Anna Kendrick, Jake Johnson and Ron Livingston that previewed at SXSW. But she's also using it to plug causes she cares for, like International Women's Day and accessible and affordable access to birth control.
"I've never been interested in having the most followers, I'm interested in having people that trust what I'm tweeting is worthwhile," she said, adding that she's witnessed a sea change recently in the entertainment community with regards to Twitter. "People are slowly understanding that you have to embrace it. There was initially a reaction that was, Why would I give away my life? But then there was a reaction that you can speak for yourself in an environment where so much is being said for you. People said, Wait a minute, this is the one place where I can have control. That was very attractive to the entertainment community."
Wilde was joined on the panel by Jason Janego, who is the co-president of the Radius division of The Weinstein Company. Janego's first high profile project for TWC was Bachelorette, the Kirsten Dunst vehicle that was eventually distributed through Video On Demand. Janego noted that social media is key to marketing VOD projects, particularly because of its simplicity and directness.
"What doesn't work well in the ultra VOD space is nuance," Janego said. "Because you have a moment when it comes to everything digital, you have a very brief moment to capture someone's attention . . . The films that have been working really well in that space are the ones where you know what it is. Bachelorette is quintessentially one of those movies. " In other words, movies that succeed on VOD are ones that can be explained simply and quickly--on a cable menu, or, say, in 140 characters on Twitter.
"Kirsten Dunst, who is amazing on Twitter, was great for the film," Janego said. "One of the Tweets that was re-Tweeted the most was when she said she was doing a red carpet premiere of Bachelorette at home with her mother when it came out on iTunes."
Krista Smith's other guests on the panel were Natalie Bruss, the VP of digital strategy at ID PR, and Matt Jacobson, the head of market development for Facebook. The group spent the rest of the panel discussing the powers and limitations of social media marketing for films.
"When the film is not embraced by the critics that's a space where digital and social media has the chance to rise up," noted Bruss. "Fans feel like they've spent years building up a relationship with [an actor or producer] and they want you to succeed."
"Social builds that second and third weekend [for a film]," Jacobson added. "It's such a lemming business. It happens with a couple of films, and then everyone wants in on it."
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