Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Film is Good? No, there is risk!

When it comes to the film industry, people always regard it as a brilliant, high earned and safe career. Is that true? Days ago, my friend and I talked about this topic. I answered her questions about the relationship between the film industry and the PR jobs. Below are our conversations.

Q: Is there any risk when promoting a film?
A: Yes, there is, absolutely. Every industry has its own weakness including the seemingly brilliant film industry. The risks come from many different areas. The most serious one is the regulation. In the US, there is the movie rating system that can severely affect the scale of audiences. In China, the State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT) highly control the theme, the story and the scenes of each film. The film can’t be shown publicly until it gets through the SARFT’s review. There are risks that you have done every promotion proposal ready well but hear that the film cannot be released. In addition, you have to notice what your competitors do. Sometimes, the company will change the releasing dates of some films, which may outgun your film in terms of word of mouth and box office. Plus, there are chances to encounter natural or manual disasters. 

Q: What is the best example of handling the risk management in the film industry?
A: I want to mention the thunderbolt in the premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” in 2012. In July, Warner Brothers planned a midnight show to firstly release the film “The Dark Knight Rises”. At that night, a crazed gunman murdered 12 innocent people and wounded 58 others. This tragedy forced Warner Brothers immediately reevaluate its PR plans for the movie. Luckily, it took a quick action and drew positive reviews. The studio, at the very first time, began to defer other major premieres, canceled all advertising and asked for the movie stars to comfort and support the victims. Also, the studio delayed the showing of “Gangster Squad” that depicted four men shooting up a movie theater.

Remembrance Book from Warner Brother
posted in the website of "The Dark Knight Rises"

Q: What’s your suggestion to best practice risk management?
A: Risk situations, although very rare to see, really exist. As PR people who protect the organizational reputation, we have to be ready to confront risks at any moment. We can’t treat potential risks slightly, assuming these would not befell our films due to low probability of happening. On the contrary, when we develop the PR plan, we have to consider some possible risk situations and come up with solutions to each risk. This prepared thinking can be written into a Risk Predicting Sheet to inform all the employees the proper action of handling risk communications. If the risk really comes, we have to be calm first and take right actions fast.

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