Movie Marketing Madness: Skateland

Movies about that *one* summer or that *one* night that turned out to be pivotal in the lives of the characters in it are nothing new. Notable examples are, of course, American Graffiti and Dazed and Confused, both of which show a group of friends and others on a single night where decisions need to be made and future plans made that will insure that nothing is quite the same in their world.

Following in that tradition now is Skateland. The movie follows four friends – everykid Ritchie, charmer and bad boy Kenny and brother and sister Brent and Michelle – as they realize that their adolescent lives in 1983 are about to end and they must decide in what manner they are going to grow up.

Their choices are paralleled by the closing of the local roller rink, the most popular hang out spot in their rural suburban town.

The Posters

The movie’s first poster is pretty simple but it’s effective in establishing the time period the movie takes place in (that feathery hair can only belong in the late 70′s or early 80′s) as well as, seemingly, what the movie is *about.* Showing the two main characters lying next to each other, with Fernandez looking off into space conveys pretty clearly that we’re dealing with a movie about teenagers trying to figure out what to do with their lives. It’s also clear that it’s the male figure here that’s doing the pondering while it’s his (presumably) girlfriend who’s trying to tell him to get on the horse. Again, a simple design but it conveys at least a couple key elements of the movie.

A second poster was released later on that used a photo of the four main characters standing in front of a car as its central image, but nicely split up that photo so that you see the upper parts of their bodies at the bottom and their feet and the grill of the car at the top, with the title and credits and such in the middle. Simple but nicely done. It also more clearly conveys that we’re dealing with a group of friends here at some pivotal time in their life.

The Trailer

We start off in the trailer by meeting the two main characters, who are living the summer life by hanging out and working part time jobs as they’re trying to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives. But then we see there’s conflict between them as she realizes it’s time for them to grow up but he still feels like it’s time to party and there’s more time to work on a long-term plan. There are fights, there are beers that are consumed and so on.

I like this trailer a lot for the way it gives a general overview of the conflicts and struggles that it will put the characters through without giving a ton of details away. We certainly get the time period it takes place in and the sense that we’re going to meet an extended group of friends, some of whom are good influences on our main characters and some of whom who aren’t. It comes off as more than a little similar in vibe to movies like American Graffiti and Dazed and Confused so it will be interesting to see if the movie itself comes anywhere close to reaching those aspirational highs.

Online

The minimalist website opens with a nicely subdued image of the main characters behind the title. You can choose to just View the Trailer or Enter the Website here.

Choosing the latter the first sections the “Synopsis” which gives you a good look at what the movie’s going to be about and who the characters in it are. After that is a very cool section called “Film Notes” that contains personal notes from writer Brendan Freeman and director Anthony Burns about what they were trying to do with the story and the movie and the how they went about contracting this world.

The “Cast” and “Crew” sections have good, if brief (largely because we’re dealing with young actors without a ton of history) backgrounds on the talent involved in the movie.

“Photos” has 15 stills from the film and the “Trailer” just lets you play the trailer. “Events” has a history of where the movie has appeared at film festivals and other gatherings and “Theater Locations” will let you know if the movie is or will be soon playing near you.

The movie’s Facebook and Twitter pages have updates on the reviews of the movie and the activities of the cast and crew as they try to promote the film. The Facebook page of course has a bit more multimedia in the form of pictures, videos and more.

Advertising and Cross Promotions

Nothing here, I’m afraid.

Media and Publicity

The movie has been bouncing around for a while now, having debuted over a year ago at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, an appearance that resulted in decent buzz and reviews. Director Anthony Burns racked up some press there, talking about how he shot the period movie on a small budget and what decisions he had to make when it came time to go into the editing room.

It later had an additional screening at SXSW 2010 where some of the focus was on Green. An initial trailer (really more of a promotional reel) was released right around then but I can no longer find a copy of that online.

Overall

This is by no means a huge or enormously successful campaign. But it works more often than it doesn’t and, more than anything, remains true to what it is. The trailer and posters are good vehicles for conveying the story of the film and present an attractive film to anyone who’s paying attention and is interested in these sorts of coming-of-age tales. It’s clear from the campaign that we’re greatly reliant on how charming and relatable the actors and their characters are to the audience. A nice effort for a movie that may very well be worth checking out.