When I saw Amazon’s A9 Local yellow pages feature, the first thing I thought of was Ed Ruscha’s 1966 artist book, Every Building on The Sunset Strip. It was the first Ruscha book I bought, and it makes me laugh to remember how I thought I paid too much for it way back when (it’s easily 10 times as expensive now).
Anyway, using Mikel Maron’s A9 whole-street-grabbing script, I tried all through that weekend to re-create Ruscha’s Sunset Strip. The result was a lot of technical annoyance.
First, starting from a given address, Maron’s script grabs an entire street–a damn big proposition in the case of Sunset Blvd. (Technically, The Strip itself is only a fragment, the section from Doheny to Crescent Heights, from Gil’s Liquors to the Virgin Megastore.)
Trying to save the giant series created some odd results: one seemingly random image would intersperse itself all the way along. After trying to edit this one out, the resulting series were suddenly non-continuous. Something odd was happening when I saved the series and then reconstituted it.
I hadn’t yet cropped the image series at the appropriate intersections, so I didn’t get to try knitting them together into two long panoramas. Actually, I found the A9 images’ redundancy kind of nice; the periodic picture-taking indirectly revealed the (non)movement of the traffic along the Strip.
Anyway, then I saw Jason pointing to Eric Etheridge’s discussion of Every Building, and I think, better to throw this out to the lazyweb and see if someone can tell me how to figure this out, or just do it and make their own selves net-famous.
“Damn you!” campaign results (source: Google Adwords)
The low number of searches/impressions for Varda and Maysles was surprising, as was the high rate (2x) of Wes Anderson searches vs PT Anderson and Soderbergh. And this was a week when PT Anderson had a movie debuting at Cannes. It could be that the high quality of search results for Soderbergh and PT Anderson (both of which lead with eponymous and actively updated fansites, Soderbergh.net and PTAnderson.com, respectively) may lead to faster search “resolution” than for Wes.
The ads were generally effective, with clickthrough rates falling within–and in some cases, on the high end of– ranges reported for online ads.
It is heartening to see that the two directors who inspired me most have the highest clickthrough rates. The “greg.org factor” is a subjective ranking of “most inspirational,” I guess. To date, both Varda and Soderbergh have three explicit mentions/discussions on the site. Varda was an inspiration to get going, and Soderbergh was critical to getting through production and editing. Maysles is hugely important, too, but frankly, more for the documentary project that launched the site than for Souvenir. The Magnificent Andersons are inspiring more for their ability to pursue and realize their singular visions at such an early stage in their careers. (Some people call that ability “final cut,” like in Guardian interview with Paul Thomas Anderson aboutMagnolia.) (Oh, and we called straight-on, centered, camera angles “Andersons” after Full Frontal, which has it’s own behind-the-cameras website. (Although it’s not in real time; the film’s sliding release date means that “Week 3” lasts for months on the site.) Interesting to you? Interesting to me.
The greg.org “Damn you!” ad campaign on Google is just about half-over, and the results are rather interesting. (The launch is mentioned in this post.)
The campaign appears on searches for the names of directors who inspired/influenced me, either stylistically or professionally (or both). Since all these directors have turned up here during the making of Souvenir November 2001, I figured ads using their names wouldn’t be gratuituous, but relevant. In addition, I figured someone who searches for a director’s name (especially one of these directors) would be a nice audience for the site and the movie; they’re presumably interested not only in independent film, but in the filmmaking process, too. And if we share interest in these directors specifically, well… Here’s an example of the ads:
Damn you, Wes Anderson!
You made me want to make a movie,
so I did. click to read about it.
I spent $10 for each name/ad combination, which, bought about 7-800 impressions (at the retail $15CPM). With this spending cap, the duration of each ad was determined by the frequency of Google searches for each director’s name. Next: results data and analysis for the campaign.
All that Adwords talk got me thinking, so I climbed in bed with Google myself (or went into the alley behind a dumpster with it, anyway). I launched a small campaign, titled “Damn you!” to promote the movie. In it, I faux-curse some of the directors whose work/example inspired/encouraged me to get off my butt and make a movie.
Each ad starts out, “Damn you, < insert director's name here >!” which is not a reference to Happy Gilmore, or even to Homer Simpson, although you’re getting close. It fell from the lips of God’s (and the NRA’s) anointed, Charlton Heston, in the last scene of Planet of the Apes.
Testing my campaign, I found this article on Apple’s site about the production of Steven Soderbergh’s new film, Full Frontal.
Full Frontal, as you can read, was made with nearly the same level of equipment (DV and Final Cut Pro) as Souvenir November 2001. And in just four months. 18 days of shooting. $2 million budget. With Julia Roberts, David Duchovny, David Hyde Pierce and Catherine Keener. There’s a website that documents the production of the film, week by week.
Now, if you have trouble telling the difference between Souvenir and Full Frontal, just remember: Full Frontal‘s shot in PAL with DAT sound. Souvenir was shot in NTSC with MD sound.
Poetry using Google Adwords: One more non-traditional (at least by contemporary standards) medium for creative expression (besides ebay and amazon reviews, which I mentioned last week.) The difference with adwords, of course, is that it costs you money ($15/thousand views these days). This guy did it in April. I did it in February. 2001.
There are two creative elements of an ad on google, of course: the ad itself, and the keywords it appears on. To drive a little traffic to my site (and to amuse myself, really) I set an ad to appear on searches for “haiku.” It wasn’t that the site that has anything to do with haiku, it was Google’s adword format–which had launched at the end of 2000–which clearly resembled haiku:
to my cluster of sites
through keyword purchase
While editing this post, I found an interesting article from the Online Journalism Review on the emergence of text ads.