HOW TO CREATE WORD OF MOUTH (AND PROMOTE “THE MYTH OF THE AMERICAN SLEEPOVER”
I’m posting an email I received from producer Adele Romanski here (with permission) for a couple of reasons. The first is that I completely endorse the message, which is trying to get everyone to go see David Robert Mitchell’s Myth of the American Sleepover (pictured) when it opens July 22. The film is a gem — visual, expressive and fresh, with the screen loving its young actors. Mitchell gently guides his ensemble tale of young summertime love and impending adulthood through, in places, the intimate crevices of a European art film without any trace of pretension. The film has an effortless quality, never trying to be hip while never being less than honest.
I thought James Ponsoldt nailed it in his intro to his interview with Mitchell, Romanski and their team in our Spring issue
How well do you remember what it felt like to be a teenager?
The loneliness, the intoxicating surges of horniness, the longing to be noticed, the anxiety of… being noticed too much?
Most films don’t manage a decent approximation of that experience — the emotional, the tactile, the olfactory. Really: what smell do you recall most vividly from age 15? Can you remember?
Films about growing up usually lapse into cliche in their snarkiness, in their reduction of youth to a series of cruel put-downs, clever (and perhaps even meaner) comebacks, well-defined cliques, and frogs in thick-rimmed “nerd” glasses magically transforming into homecoming kings and queens.
But that’s film reality: one-liners for a trailer, tag lines on a poster.
The Myth of the American Sleepover, David Robert Mitchell’s elegant and introspective first feature about a night of teenage wandering and wonderment, isn’t sarcastic, caustic, or loud. In fact, the film has a rare quality — it’s so quiet that it seems to listen to you.
Okay, so Filmmaker would like you to see the movie on its opening weekend. That’s the first reason. The second is that Adele’s letter below is a great example of how to create word-of-mouth on a film. She does the usual things — asks you to come opening weekend and to post about it on your Facebook and Twitter. But then she goes a step further and asks you to actually talk about it. To not only your friends but also your co-workers and even the cashiers at Trader Joe’s. She’s even given you a few conversation starters.
So see the movie but also consider priming the word of mouth on your own film a couple of weeks before it opens.
Dear everyone I’ve ever met,
Forgive the mass email, but I’m writing in regards to a project I’ve spent the last five years working on so if there was ever a time, it’s now.
On July 22nd, THE MYTH OF THE AMERICAN SLEEPOVER will begin its domestic release when it opens in New York. We’ve spent the past five years pouring all of our time, money (gulp) & passion into making this film the very best it can be; we’ve done everything we could to give this film the best life it can have — once it opens in theaters, it will be out of our hands. Needless to say, this is a very awesome and also scary time for us.
I know you’ve all heard this before, but how well ‘Myth’ does opening weekend really will impact the life of the film. I’ll be attending the opening weekends in NY, LA & Detroit and would love to see each of you there. I’d also like to ask you to help spread the word about our little film.
Beyond the usual facebook posts & twitter tweets, I’d like to be so bold as to ask each of you to introduce the film in conversation to someone over the course of the next two weeks. We believe that word of mouth will go a long way and it would mean everything if each of you could help make folks aware of the film & its release. Use it as fodder for small talk at a party. Or bring it up around the iconic water cooler. Or perhaps mention it to the cashier at Trader Joes — those guys always seem eager to chat. Whoever you choose to share with, here are a few fun insider tidbits with which to get the conversation going:
“Did you know they (the crew) slept on air mattresses in an unfurnished house & used cardboard boxes for end tables?”
“Apparently their boom op was a 17 year old high school track star”
“One night while they were filming a scene in which one of the main characters gets egged by his friends, a group of kids — unaffiliated with the shoot- drove by and egged the cast & crew (they narrowly missed the camera)”
“David Mitchell is allergic to cats. Whenever they filmed in a house that had cats, they either had to run tap outside for David or he had to wear a gas mask”
Or, just keep it simple & share the facts, which are:
the film opens in theaters:
July 22nd/NYC @ The Angelika
July 29th/LA @ The Nuart
August 5th/Detroit @ The Main Art
the film is available nationwide on demand July 27th!
We’ve got a cool new website up where you can find press quotes & reviews, complete festival lists & awards. Please check it out:
And if you truly are most comfortable interacting with people on an internet-based only level, the usual methods are in play. The new trailer has posted on apple trailers. Please check it out & if you’re so inclined, post it on facebook/twittter/tumbler, et al. The film also has a facebook page you can ‘like’. Or you can follow director David Mitchell’s twitter feed.
Thank you all for the support you’ve shown thus far & thank you in advance for continuing to support the film. It is so amazing and rewarding that we have come this far with it. thank you thank you thank you-