For about the 100th time, I’m currently watching The Princess Bride on AMC (AMC rocks for old fun movies, BTW). While watching, I realized I really want to write one of those “What [Movie] Taught Me About [Life Point]” type of posts. Like “What The Princess Bride Taught Me About Being Social” or “How National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Helped Me Plan an Event”.
These types of articles tend to be funny, somewhat insightful, and a little outside the box. However, I don’t see a lot of instruction or help in them. Yes, they’re fun to read but do they really get you anywhere for long? In fact, do we really remember their point more than a week after we read them? And if you don’t really know the movie or subject matter, you miss the point altogether. Since my site is dedicated to teaching, I can’t in good conscience write one myself. However…
They DO get read. They DO get shared. They DO get comments.
In short…They Work!
Let’s try a formula for YOU to create such a post, whether it be on your website, in email, or on a social site. This will help your follower interest level but attract them in a new way.
Select Your Reference Source
Your movie or TV selection needs to be relevant in some manner to your organization or event. Once you settle on a movie, make sure it’s popular enough that people will understand your references. Picking an obscure documentary or an indie film probably won’t work here. A mainstream film or TV show would be best, but not one so new everyone might not have seen it yet (and might be annoyed at any “spoilers” you accidentally use). What I’ve seen work best is films or TV shows from the 80s and 90s, especially those that are a little campy or have a “cult” following.
Some example ideas:
- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and A Christmas Story are perfect fits for The Ugly Christmas Sweater Party – and they use them regularly!
- We Bought a Zoo would be an excellent source for The Kansas City Zoo or another animal-based organization.
- Horror movies, The Walking Dead or even the Harry Potter series might be good for a Halloween event.
- You might reference any kind of old family centered TV show like The Brady Bunch, Full House, or Family Ties for organizations that help families.
- Anything featuring superheroes, especially recent ones like The Avengers, Iron Man, or The Amazing Spider-Man lend themselves for use in nearly any situation with any organization or event (Anyone ever heard of or used “With great power, comes great responsibility”? That’s Spider-man my friend and it’s true of all your organizations!)
Once you have your movie, you’ll need to select references from the movie or show that people will get. If you were to use The Princess Bride for example, you’d almost have to use “Inconceivable” and/or “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” in some manner. If you used a Batman movie like The Dark Knight you’d have to use “Why so serious?” – seriously, you’d HAVE to use that!
Select references that will be understood by the masses but also tie in (however loosely) to your overall theme and ideas. If you’re sending an email or writing a blog post, I would stick to 5 to 10 references at the most. If you’re using them in social media, you can have as many as you want, just be sure to intersperse them with other posts so people don’t think you’re all about a movie.
Now you need to tie the references you’ve selected into your organization and event. These tie-ins have to make sense! Just because you post a picture or video piece of a movie or show does NOT mean people will make the connection. Oh, sure, SOME people will, but not many. As Tommy Lee Jones said in Men in Black, “A person is smart. People are dumb…and you know it.” So, you need to spell out the connection for people in some manner.
Notice my use of photos throughout this post? They’re relevant, cute, and just fun. People respond to images more than words. Plus they can Pin the images on Pinterest or reshare them on other social sites. Videos will get as much and sometimes more play than a picture (no pun intended). I will now share a video simply because it’s one of my favorite scenes from this movie and to hopefully show you how fun including one can be. Enjoy!
Check the Details!
Oh, you misquoted Batman and the Joker? You spelled Inconceivable wrong? You said Harry fought with a giant snake instead of calling it a Basilisk? No big deal, right? No one will notice?
Especially when you use a movie with a cult following, you better get your facts straight! Otherwise, your comment stream will be full of naysayers, fun-pickers and down-right rude people. Don’t believe me? Almost every movie video snippet posted on YouTube where something, anything, was written incorrectly had mean people come out of the woodwork to comment. CHECK YOUR FACTS!
Not sure where a quote came from or exactly what it was?
Type what you are sure about into a search engine. You’ll find lots of resources and more than likely get to the right one very quickly.
Best place to check your data for TV and movies?
In my opinion, that would IMDb.com (Internet Movie Database). This site will give you trivia, quotes and goofs. It will also give you the correct spelling for character and actor names, release dates, episode names, and production company. It’s also a good source of trailers, photos and a plethora of other details. If you’ve never used this site, I highly recommend it for this purpose and just for fun browsing (I’m a total movie geek so this is a happy past time for me…)
Let It Out Into The World!
That’s it…you’ve found a movie, picked references, tied it to the cause, found some wonderful visuals, checked and double-checked your facts. You’re good to go! Put it out there, share it where possible and see how it works. If you get a good response from a multi-reference email, try using the various reference individually in social media…or vice versa. Don’t be afraid to reuse popular pieces or test them at different days and times to see what gets the best response. In short, these types of references should be fun, engaging and sometimes just plain silly. So, enjoy it! And I’m going to go enjoy the end of the Princess Bride…