Marketing Absentia

Perhaps one of the biggest debates in the current media landscape in Australia is the decline in TV and prominence of online streaming (AKA Foxtel & Netflix). Even though Netflix was only introduced to Australia earlier in the year, its success with the Australian bingewatchers have skyrocketed. This was something the team felt we needed to address in our series pitch.

The series as a product can attract a wide range of audience, from teenagers to potentially the Baby Boomer generation. Coupled with a variety of different genres and Melbourne as the backdrop of the series, Absentia would be a series that would satisfy a majority of varied age brackets and classes of society. Essentially, with its non-linearity, Absentia is a binge series that would be suitable to a medium such as Netflix. The ability for consumers to watch as many episodes as they want in any order possible was crucial to our initial series conception, that people wish to watch a series wherever and whenever they like. If set against a realistic pitch, however, we didn’t want to potentially lose an older audience that may not have access to such medium.

So the team decided to indulge this in our pitch. We created two greatly varying opening sequences fit for TV and online streaming – one that was shorter and more dynamic, the other lengthier and detailed. Whereas our most polished opening sequence, set against a sprightly musical score, appeals to a younger audience with a shorter attention span, our experimental (and I confess more boring) alternative predicts visual settings of future episodes, akin to the Wachowskis’ Sense8 series.

Screening these at yesterday’s presentation, it was amusing to see that our classmates, as prototype to a younger audience, were more intrigued by the potency of the opening sequence for Netflix. A noted drop of interest occurred when the alternative (and longer) sequence was displayed, which goes to show that even though the latter had more substance, shorter attention spans must always be taken into consideration.

I’m a Media graduate, get me out of here!

It’s been an interesting journey so far of ‘team leaders’ being throned and de-throned, transforming the group to a democracy. Though perhaps the most challenging aspect of the organisation process for me so far was the communication with the guests. Being professionals with their own itineraries and no particular incentive to join the seminar, it was initially difficult to get a commitment. I managed to lock down one within the first few weeks, Josh McNicol, to represent the “Communications” aspect of our course. Being a friend of mine was certainly a benefit, especially since Josh has had experience working with clients in Europe, North America and Asia.

Through intensive LinkedIn scouring I found Lee Rogers (Film & TV), whose education at UCLA led him to a career with ties in the States, the UK and Australia. He expressed some interest in the seminar, but would not commit. On my second email, I provided Lee with a rundown of the seminar, our background as soon-to-be graduates and photos from the TV seminar. Lee confirmed then, and proved to be a lesson for me in garnering trust from strangers and potential acquaintances by providing them with as much information as is available.

The third (initial) guest was Charles Crang, a digital media professional who worked in New York as an RMIT alumnus. The fact that he graduated from RMIT gave promise that he would be willing to help out. Utilising the same persuasion techniques as I did with Lee, with a side of flattery, Charles also gave his commitment. Unfortunately, he backed down three weeks before the seminar, with the promise of helping to find a replacement. The group, however, was quick to take action and invited Bernard Wee, a group member’s friend and emerging photographer from Singapore. Everything had worked out to a tee, and planning the logistics of the seminar kicked off.

A day into the seminar week, specifically last Monday, Charles got back to me and introduced Kate Collinson, a professional of the same calibre as himself. It was an opportunity that was too good to pass, not only covering four aspects of our Communications course but having both gender balance and racial diversity. After a quick consultation with Shelley and the steering committee, the group had to alter every aspect of the seminar including the structure, the questions, even the staging, to cater to four guests. Regardless of the last minute rush, having four guests in my opinion, was beneficial in making our seminar unique and attracting audience from outside RMIT.

My job doesn’t end there, however. Using what ‘connections’ I have, I reached out to friends and acquaintances from Melbourne and Monash University to help promote this “FREE and welcome to ALL” event. It’s now the night before the seminar and I am still promoting the event on Facebook, copywriting varieties of “Free event” and “Welcome to everyone”. I can only hope that tomorrow will go smoothly and that I will have enough energy to maintain a cool composure.

Presenting the Melbourne anthology

Last Thursday, PB & J Productions presented the anthology concept to the rest of Writing for Filming, Filming for Writing. The group members had the opportunity to share their characters and episodic plot lines. Here are some of the visuals that inspire Thanassis’ environment in the western suburbs of Melbourne;


Thanassis’ character is inspired by Manolis from Christos Tsiolkas’ The Slap.




Key visuals from inner-west Melbourne’s Yarraville

Short documentary The West inspiring the melancholic simplicity of Thanassis’ dramatic episode