Red State Review: Smapital Runs Red
I fear God. You better believe I fear God.
And so it came, the faithful day on which we finally got to lay our eyes upon Kevin Smith’s latest flick and social media marketing experiment, “Red State”
It’s clear that Smith loves this film, he live tweets during the screening and relishes in the audiences reactions, musing on how one crowd is more “bloodthirsty” then another and expressing awe over his actor’s work.
It wasn’t far into “Red State” that we understood the source of Smith’s pride. This is his best film, a step far outside his box that he managed to knock out of the cinematic park.
The script, the cinematography, the pacing, the performances (Michael Parks gives an acting clinic) all come together to form this wonderful brew of tension, disgust and humor.
Some reviews of the film mark it as unbalanced and inconsistent. Smith will be the first to admit that this is intentional and meant to keep the audience on edge. By and far this method works. Several turns in the film serve to keep the momentum charged and the audience guessing what will happen next.
Smith describes the film as a “Tarantino film by way of the Coen’s” A lofty description, but one that is valid and appropriate considering the caliber of this film. As the credit’s rolled we found ourselves wanting to see it again just reabsorb all the little moments of brilliance.
The worst part about “Red State” is it’s status as Smith’s second to last film prior to hanging up the director’s hat, just as he’s exploring his range as a filmmaker.
Smith’s social media experiment is working, both in it’s goal to finance the film’s budget and to push the boundaries of how a filmmaker can interact with their audience. When’s the last time you sat down and watched a film while the director live tweeted a commentary?
Kevin Smith and the Social Media Solution
Kevin Smith is one of those public figures who inspires people to feel strongly. Love him or hate him, if you know his name, you usually have a strong emotional response to the man.
No matter what you feel about the filmmaker/actor/writer you cannot deny the man has found the social media solution.
Smith, over the course of several years, has built an empire out of his Smodcast brand, which in May will grow to include S.I.R (Smodcast Internet Radio) which will run 24 hours a day and will feature both live shows and archive programs. Aside from Smodcast, Smith is an avid Twitter user and has used the format to operate an ongoing Q&A with his fans and foes alike.
You may remember the Southwest Airlines incident in which Smith was thrown off a flight due to alleged safety issues in relation to his weight. Smith used the event to spark a social media war against Southwest and in the process demonstrated just how powerful a social media solution could be.
This month, Smith kicked off his Red State U.S.A Tour which will take his new film Red State across the States for screenings and Q&A’s with Smith. The film will be released in October in theaters, but with no paid marketing i.e: no T.V ads, no billboards, no newspaper spots.
Smith is preaching a solution to the overpriced studio marketing plan, a plan which can sometimes spend more on marketing then the cost of the film’s production. The answer is the social media solution, build a fanbase and community by offering interesting and consistent content (in Smith’s case the Smodcast Network) and communication with the audience (Twitter and Q&A’s).
Smith’s social media solution is an extension of what he’s been doing for years, creating a brand through characters and style. However, what Smith is doing is something that should be implemented by every company regardless of what there selling. At his core, Smith is a showman and salesman, he knows how to put himself out there to an audience and bring them into the conversation. Even when people react negative to Smith, he has them talking.
A social media solution exists for every company, it’s simply a matter of defining a strategy to connect. The tool are available and are ready to be used. Smith has already made back the budget of Red State, 4 million, meaning that come October and for the rest of the movie’s tour he is making strictly profit. All this without traditional marketing practices.
The solution seams to be working.
Check out http://smodcast.com/