New Orleans Jazz and classical Hollywood Musical mashup

Artist interview - Filmmaker Michael C. Perry

Musical films are an enduring and endearing genre that really connects with its audience on an emotional level. Michael C. Perry is a director working in Musical Film and he has some great advice for promoting your work on social media.

Michael’s latest work is called – 
"The Carnival Kid" I’ve always been fascinated with the classic MGM/Technicolor type musical, the Golden Age of cinema. There seems to be a sophisticated innocence about the genre that continually leaves the viewer hopeful, encouraged.

The Carnival Kid musical film poster

How did this project come about?
When writer Joey Fama came to me with a script written around Jour Majesty’s song “Carnival Kid”, I was intrigued, because the song is a blend of New Orleans jazz and a classical Hollywood musical. After reading the script, I was instantly sold on the project. The story contains all the classic elements I love about early cinema, yet with a light touch of modernity. Fama’s writing blends a complex, yet simple story of Travis, a dreamer and flawed romantic, as he becomes adoringly enthralled with his coworker, Adelaide.

What sets this project apart from previous films that you’ve worked on?
Because the story glowed classic cinema, I wanted to film the project using traditional cinematic technique. This is a far departure from my past projects. My earlier films, let’s say, were basically not filmed classically. They were radically infused with nothing but CGI and effects. For Carnival Kid, I wanted only set and stage elements, no green screen, no computer manipulation, no explosions, just two performers and a camera. Oh, and we wanted to film the dance sequence without any edits, one single shot. Not an easy assignment.

Lane Nipper choreographer for The Carnival Kid

Wow, that sounds challenging! Did it turn out the way you envisioned it?
With the help of two outstanding, and impeccably prepared, New York City based actor/dancers, Cooper Flanagan and Matt Wiercinski, along with Lane Napper’s choreography— yes this is the same Lane Napper that is on the hit TV show Victorious—and a lot of work from my Los Angeles based crew, The Carnival Kid was born. What an honor to gently glimpse and touch a piece of our filmic past. I wanted to capture the innocence and hope of the era. I believe we accomplished the task. I hope you enjoy the piece as much as I did in the creation. I am better for it. The film will be running the film festival circuit beginning later this year.

Is there a quality that unifies your work? 
Our musical films always revolve around a storyline. We normally enter film festivals in the category of Music Video. Yet our films are a combination of music video embedded into a short film. The film's narrative and dialogue combine with the lyrics of the song to tell the story. 

How do people find out about your work? Do you promote it on social media?
Yes, we promote heavily on social media. Because we produce the music and the films we separate the musical artist and the specific film's promotion into two distinct social media outlets then cross promote both. We are currently on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+.

Cooper Flanagan stars in The Carnival Kid

What is your most popular platform?
For our films, we have good luck with the Facebook page. We normally take a Facebook ad out to build the page likes and list our film awards and showings throughout the festival run. We do not promote the films on Twitter. It never seemed to work out well. As for the music (artist albums), we promote on Facebook and Twitter. For example our artist, Jour Majesty has over 18,000 Twitter followers and does well with the platform. So instead of a specific film Twitter account, we use the musician accounts to cross promote the films. Seems to work well.

You mentioned Facebook Ads. How do you create a successful Facebook campaign?
We have really great luck with Facebook Ads. We can normally get about 10 page likes a day for about 50 cents per like. We go through normally 4-5 draft ads we run for one day until we find an ad that works. As for our musical artists on twitter, we begin by the technique of following people with similar interests and then they follow back. 

Matt Wiercinski stars in The Carnival Kid

What’s working for you across all the platforms at the moment?
We find a quality picture is the most important for Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. We try and keep the dialogue to a minimum and always hashtag the film or music the same on each platform and include a link to the website.

Where do you make sales for your films?
Ok, good question. We make almost no actual sales via online stores in either film or music. Yet we do make streaming royalties on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Vevo, and Facebook. Our website and social media usually point to one of those outlets to give the audience a chance to view or listen to our art form.

What sort of philosophy underpins your work on social media?
We do not worry about numbers (amount of followers etc.). We promote our art one fan at a time. Each fan or viewer is extremely important. It is better to have 10 fans than 1000 fake followers. Build your audience one listener or viewer at a time. Don't worry so much about numbers of followers, views, streams. You are not going to have as many streams as a popular artist. At the beginning, we made the mistake of buying followers to try and look bigger than we were and to extend our egos. It did nothing but waste money. We now only organically grow our fans, a much better outcome.

Are there any tools you recommend or use to help you manage your social media?
For Twitter we use Tweepi. Tweepi is extremely useful in finding the right followers and unfollowing inactive users. For Facebook along with Twitter, Google+, and Instagram we use Socialoomph. The program allows us to schedule repeats of certain posts. For example, it will repeat a popular post once a month, or whatever is scheduled. Very useful to have an active social media presence.

The Carnival Kid is currently touring film festivals. Michael C Perry and The Carnival Kid can be found on Facebook. Alternatively, take a look at their website.

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