Monday, July 11, 2005

Product placement business, small and big...

Soon after graduating from college, I landed a job as a production coordinator on the small, unpaid crew of the no-budget debut feature of an ambitious filmmaker. The film was to be shot in 35mm Cinemascope, had a very accomplished DP, production designer and first assistant director, but the lack of budget was a major hurdle to getting the film in the can and finished in time for its scheduled debut at the Florida Film Festival. The film had its premiere, and although it was not exactly a winner, it helped to further many high-profile careers -- and it established my reputation in Orlando's emerging film industry as a person who gets things done.

For ten days of production, I was able to feed our cast and crew of 50+, including meals and craft services. I secured moving trucks, a semi, minivans, computers -- even a refrigerator for storing film -- all through product placement and screen credit. Aspiring filmmakers should never underestimate the show business aspirations of businesspeople -- or their general willingness to make a reasonable investment into something that seems like a sensational, winning proposition. On the other side of the fence, even low-budget filmmakers can offer shrewd marketers far-reaching benefits. Product placement is clearly big business, and the fascinating feature on brandchannel entitled "brandcameo - brands" provides updated snapshots you can check out to track the latest brand appearances on the world's silver screens.