Sunday 22 December 2013

What kind of show is the The Space Show?

Days ago I was talking about Summer Wars and Welcome to the Space Show, and I talked about how the box art for the former could be said to be pretty misleading, while the box art for the latter was far more accurate in the leading that it did. I was getting my digital chat on, and apparently this is (close to) a poster for the film in actual cinemas.

Is this a Japanese thing? This poster could be for a film about a group of kids who stare up at the night sky and imagine a life beyond the isolation of their rural upbringing. They'd talk about characters who had moved out of the area, and wonder who might be next. There would be a bunch of stuff about the impact of an economic downturn on farming communities as understood from the point of view of children and adolescents. I would probably see that movie too, but it isn't the movie they're advertising here.

I don't think it is a Japanese thing. I could be wrong. That happens. I'm not ashamed of it. I seem to remember some Japanese trailers basically walking you through all of the major plot points to some films. That might not be a Japanese thing either. It's probably dangerous territory to start getting involved in the racial stereotyping of film promotion techniques, so I might stop what I'm doing right here.

The film itself gets to the point right away by opening with a scene that has far more in common with what is actually gong to be happening in the movie. Summer Wars went the other way. You're kind of pushed in the direction of what is going on, but you're still kind of lead to believe something else is happening.

I like the idea of this approach. There is trust involved. Or risk. It's risk. You don't know what kind of movie you're really going to see. I suppose you trust that it is going to be okay, but in the end it is a blind date, which is risky. Don't do blind dates. It's the opposite of what goes on in Flight of the Navigator where they throw a handful of red herrings at you that only work if you have a certain amount of information going in, which is an approach that makes more sense given the way we consume pre-media these days. It knows that you have turned up to watch a movie with a kid and a spaceship. The film is fully sentient and it's got your number buddy, and it's out to fuck with you.

Anchor Man 2 has an interesting thing going on in this regard, because there are things in the ads that aren't in the film. Watch the trailers and then see the film. I'm not citing any sources on this, because I want you to find out for yourself. It's a thing.

This sort of thing comes under the same category as putting the hero in peril on TV shows. You're basically writing in a vacuum, which is dumb. The show isn't going to air in a vacuum. We know. We're savvy. Well, 'savvy' might be too strong a word. we're not completely idiotic. You aren't going to kill the main character halfway through the season, because we know he hasn't left the show, because we know those things now. That's all common knowledge.

There is a trick there. You have to write for lots of audiences now. You can't control that anymore. I'm not sure how much you could control it in the past, but you're basically screwed now. There are people who know nothing going in, there are people who know some of what's drifting about in the ether, and then there's the ones that religiously update the yourstorypedia.

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