HOW MUCH DOES AN ARTIST NEED TO THINK ABOUT MARKETING WHEN SHE/HE’S CREATING?
None. That’s the answer. While one is creating it’s best to be completely involved in the creation process. The process of creation itself is fairly complicated. Just the structuring of your idea, testing if it has enough meat in its PREMISE to be a 200+ page book or a 12+ page script is a big deal. You’ll also be grappling with insecurities like what producers will think? will you find an actor? will anyone believe in it other than you? So at this point to think of marketing is like thinking about your child’s education while your wife is pregnant and you’re both going through the months of pregnancy.[pullquote_right]Why does Aamir Khan, at his level also need to have each and every waiter serving popcorn or across the counter during the release of Ghajini have a hairdo exactly like him in the film? Because Shah Rukh Khan’s film is running in all other shows and these Aamir Khan lookalikes will be there during even the SRK film intervals. Its a marvellous idea.[/pullquote_right]
But once you’ve helped deliver your child its a good idea to think about the marketing. Lets take Delhi Belly for example. An Aamir Khan sits on it once it’s made for a while trying to figure out what’s the best way to market it. How does one roll up the essence of the film in the dish of marketing itself and feed it to potential viewers, readers at the same time making it seem cool enough to come check out. To be able to arouse curiosity in a genuine way is a tough job. The answer in this case was D.K. Bose and the bad word formed out of repeating it. The song caught on, aroused curiosity made people take opposing stands, made the youth stand on one side, the adults and supposed guardians of society on the other and suddenly the youth wanted to see the film.
Why does Aamir Khan, at his level also need to have each and every waiter serving popcorn or across the counter during the release of Ghajini have a hairdo exactly like him in the film? Because Shah Rukh Khan’s film is running in all other shows and these Aamir Khan lookalikes will be there during even the SRK film intervals. Its a marvellous idea.
Its a good thing to understand how packaging, getting the right reviews for your film/book, the right imaging, the right platforms, the right voices supporting it, can help your work of art.
The only time marketing goes wrong is when it interferes with creation. The way I see Chetan Bhagat’s books perfectly timed and created to service a trend. At the time of IIT and IIMs – five Point Someone (Which was a good book mind you), at the time of Call centres – One night at a call centre, at the time of the Anna Hazare a pre release of a book titled REVOLUTION 2020. The problem with letting marketing ENTER the domain of creation is that it pushes you away from the very reason you have chosen a career of CREATION. The only reason I believe one should be in a career of creation is to express oneself. To put out stories that embody what you believe, what you feel about things, issues, relations, to put yourself out there in a story. And if marketing begins to tell you which stories to write its a shame. Then you may as well continue to do a finance job, or a banking job or anything else where the emphasis isn’t on creativity.
No ONE Can second guess WHAT MASSES WANT! this is a fact. Which is why when an Arindham Choudhary puts out a Bombay Times headline saying ‘This film cannot fail’ for Rok Sako Toh Rok Lo which had every form of market research done for it, the films tanks like the TITANIC. the whole film industry is full of people trying to guess what audiences want. But very very very few are trying to put our stories they GENUINELY believe in and feel mirrors their own voice and beliefs. And the only stories which work are ones where people have gone deep within themselves and brought out their own fears and insecurities and imbued their scripts and books with them and this then makes EVERYONE feel for it. There is a certain ring of truth to something which is very very personal. And it makes people stand up and take notice. remember that.
[box_download]So my two bits: Leave marketing completely out of the creation process but once you’re done, embrace it like a friend. Thats the perfect combination![/box_download]