If you haven’t already seen this there’s a small indie film being launched across the UK this Friday called Northern Soul. I admit I’ve already tried to get tickets, but it is sold out!
So you may ask why has this film, which has been made by a generally unknown director, with young unknown actors and enthusiastic but amateur dancers been such a rip roaring success? Especially when the film industry is so firmly controlled by the big studios and distribution channels.
Well its success is largely down to massive traction for the project on various social media platforms including Facebook!
Making a film is an expensive business. It is a niche industry and in most cases it is vital to get significant backing from investors before getting the film made. The UK has some very generous tax incentives for investors, and so the “punt” is worth it for some already wealthy people.
However, in the case of Northern Soul the director (Elaine Constantine) couldn’t get the finance she required, so her and her husband sold their house to pay for it. Using Facebook, Elaine also gathered together keen dancers, and let them practice at various venues over a few months with a view to them being extras in the film in due course. After a few months the Facebook page had 30,000 fans, many of them buying the music they’d danced to. The film sound track is now available via Amazon.
As the film was made Constantine used young up and coming actors for key roles; although the film does have some notable performances with Lisa Stansfield and Steve Coogan. Once the film was made and ready to launch at a handful of cinemas, another on-line platform weighed in with its consumer power. Ourscreen is an on-line platform a bit like the Kickstarter type platform in which users tell cinemas what they want to see. That’s a big move away from the big movie distributors telling the public what THEY think they should see, and controlling the distribution and viewing of films. Northern Soul soon became an in demand film and before they knew it the film makers found mass demand nationwide.
The film is being shown in around 125 cinemas from this Friday. I understand that it will almost immediately follow on DVD for those of us who can’t get to see it.
So you see social media can work in all kinds of ways. Trip Advisor, Crowd Funding Facebook, Ourscreen, Twitter, Instagram, and others have transformed the way business is done. Social media does make the customer king of buying decisions. Good or bad reviews on social media can make or ruin some businesses.