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28 April 2017

Update on the fan campaign to get the Ghost in the Shell film score released.[More:]

This has to be the most successful outreach campaign I've worked on as a personal project, so I am kinda documenting it on a meta level here.

So in our previous episode (I don't seem to be able to link it; it's at we were 5 days in, at about 400 signatures.

At that point, I had:

* Made a petition
* Posted the petition to the GITS subreddit
* Posted the petition, or the music score clip, or even just a screenshot to various subreddits and then commented about the petition in the thread
* Replied to people talking about the score on Twitter with a link to the petition
* Talked about the petition on forums, a GITS facebook group, and in Youtube comments
* Started a dedicated Twitter for the campaign: @gitsost
* Emailed the label asking for comment

Now we're a couple weeks in with nearly 1000 signatures. We got a response from an actor in the movie, a retweet from the composer, and a response from the record label PR. Details:

I saw someone tweet to an actor involved with the film, and quote-tweeted it thanking him for his work, asking him to check out our campaign. I got a response! He said he'd do his best and ask the director[1].

I applied the same tactic to other people talking on Twitter about having worked on GITS (mostly art and graphics people) but haven't had a lot of success. A retweet here, a reply or like there. I thought this strategy would work better than it has so far, but the actor is definitely high profile and it's good we got a response from him.

I made a Facebook group[2] and an Instagram[3] for the campaign which have been working well. In a week we've added about 50 members to the FB group and 20 followers on Instagram.

I've been making images featuring quotes from people who signed the petition, to post on Twitter & Instagram.

On Tuesday I wrote a quick article[4] about the situation, and it got featured on the front page of the social website Hacker News. The article has about 10k views, and on that day we got triple the usual daily number of signatures on the petition.

I got banned from the /r/inthenews subreddit for posting my article there, but it's funny cause I wasn't trying to drive traffic to my writing, I was trying to raise awareness of the soundtrack, which has nothing to do with me! lol.

I think my posts got removed as spam from a couple more subreddits without any explicit notification. It's just a gamble I guess, depending on the rules and moderators' feelings in various subreddits. It definitely puts a damper in my mood to be "banned as spammer!11" but I understand I'm pushing the limits by posting links to my petition, my article, my youtube video. Nobody else is talking about this soundtrack situation (outside of tweets, forums) so I can only link to my own content for now. In general, even if I wasn't promoting this campaign but promoting an app I'd made or something, you do need a thick skin to undertake a marketing role, there's a lot of risk of rejection when you reach out to people trying to get them to check out your project.

One epiphany I had is to try to be friendly to the people we're tagging on Twitter. I tweeted about one of the composers' new work and got a retweet from him[5]. I congratulated the other composer on an award nomation and didn't get a response, but this other composer is not talking about GITS at all so who knows what his deal is.

Another epiphany I had is that I'm kinda creating an unofficial community of GITS fans. After all, the official Ghost in the Shell movie twitter stopped updating weeks ago, and on our twitter we're posting and growing every day. So besides just posting relentlessly about the score I started posting things like clips from the movie, or asking the audience questions about their favorite music from the GITS universe, etc. I feel this approach of cultivating a general fan community, rather than fixating on the petition, will also help if we have to dig in for many weeks before getting any response from the powers-that-be about this album.

I asked someone who runs a soundtrack site how they'd got comment about the album because I haven't heard back from the record label. They said they'd talked to the label's publicist. I emailed the publicist and got back a message around 12 hours later. It said, "Thank you for writing. I have received this and passed it along to the appropriate parties at Lakeshore. Unfortunately I donít have any answers to give as I donít know the status at this time." So not much of an update but at least some response. [6]

I had the idea of making a Youtube video to drive traffic to the petition. I made a montage of the 90 second snippet we have from the Ghost in the Shell OST looped over scenes from Blade Runner, Robocop, The Matrix, Ex Machina and Westworld[7].

Then I had another idea, just a few hours ago. I decided to comment on the highest-viewed GITS video (the trailer) and asked people from the campaign Twitter and FB group to go to the comment and hit Thumbs-Up[8]. They came through, it has 26 thumbs-up.

(Ronan Farrow 'liked' the tweet in which we asked people to upvote the youtube video comment. I was tempted to ask him to retweet our petition, since he's our only celebrity follower, but decided against it cause looking at his timeline he doesn't RT random things, he's mostly focused on politics.)

So no breakthroughs yet, but we're almost at 1,000 signatures and the campaign is coming along.

I've been racking my brains trying to get this to the next level. Because I do think that with something like petition "if it's not growing, it's dying." That is to say, we need to get our petition in front of new people all the time to not just fade out. So I've been mulling how can we get this to 10,000 signatures. Stay tuned!


[1] Response from the actor: Tweet

[2] Facebook group

[3] Instagram: @gitsostcampaign

[4] My article: Something happened to the Ghost in the Shell soundtrack, and thousands of fans want answers

[5] Tweet to composer that was retweeted by him: link

[6] Email response from record label PR: tweet

[7] Film scene montage: youtube

[8] This is the Youtube comment. Thumbs-Up or comment on it if you can, please! Thanks. It should show up as the first comment under the video once you click the link. comment link.
Oh and I forgot to link the main thing: the petition. Still got 18 signatures left to go to 1k.
posted by Firas 28 April | 23:48
Forgot to add something else. Okay for context, this movie was controversial on social media for casting ScarJo instead of an Asian actress (GITS is Japanese manga/anime), then when it come out the critic reviews were pretty mixed, and then it lost a lot of money at the box office (it made around $160m worldwide but not enough to make back the production/marketing budget.)

So the funniest response I've seen now that the soundtrack is shelved is someone commenting on my article in the cyberpunk subreddit: "Is this movie just trying to disappoint everybody, all the time?"
posted by Firas 29 April | 06:43
Your dedication is highly impressive. If you ever need an example about good implementation if skills for a job interview, you're going to have so many examples here; everything from concept, persistence, creative approach and team building.

Cool! You rock.

(I don't know anything about the movie but did sign your petition. )
posted by mightshould 30 April | 04:41
I agree with mightshould. Very cool.

The movie or its score didn't do too much for me personally. So I wasn't quite sure what to say.
posted by jouke 30 April | 07:19
Thanks, mightshould and jouke, that's very kind.

One of the composers has come out openly in support of our campaign, so that's encouraging.

Now we just need the dummies in Hollywood to get a clue! lol. Hey Paramount, nobody wants your next movie "Baywatch" and as much as we want you to finish releasing the Ghost in the Shell OST!

There was supposed to be an official novelization for GITS that was cancelled too. Why cancel things that are already done? The music was finished, the book probably was as well. Just put them on the internetz!

Good thing we got this The Art of Ghost in the Shell book already or it would have been cancelled too. One thing nobody can deny is that, whatever this movie's faults, in terms of visuals it's is a labor of love.
posted by Firas 01 May | 05:30
Norovirus sucks. || Joke Time!