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06 January 2018

We (kinda) did it! Last year I made a couple Mecha posts about how I was organizing fans online to get a movie's soundtrack released[More:]

Specifically, the OST to Ghost in the Shell. Previous editions:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Someone unexpected happened a few months into our campaign: one of the two main composers started sharing tracks from the OST on Youtube.

And on New Years he shared the HQ tracks for download on Facebook and Twitter (Wow!)

Honestly, although this going to be hard to explain to people, this campaign is probably the biggest thing I've ever done in terms of real-world impact. I may write about the outcome as a quick blog post or something...

I wondered whether to declare victory and close our petition but when I asked the community on Twitter & Facebook they said no, they want us to continue until there is an official album release. I figure alright, it costs me nothing, I can keep the petition/Twitter/FB group going for years... but the road so far has been like a 'journey' for me--it took energy, time, angst, dealing with haters, being appreciative of compatriots, all of that--and I'm glad it had a positive outcome. It was sheer dumb luck that the composer ended up being so generous and supportive of the fans.
Oh, and... here's something interesting. What I realized while I was trying to get signatures on the petition is that whenever I attempt a new 'thing'--whether it's making an app, sharing an article I've written, or this fan campaign--I'm always in need of a 'platform' or audience. It just seems like a general thing that's needed across projects. In business terms we could call this 'distribution', the way Facebook or Youtube have incredible distribution to an audience. And this also explains why brands pay celebs to wear things on Instagram etc.

Now at this point I kinda have a very small but still highly engaged platform. Like: our @gitsost Twitter only 477 followers but it has a bonkers levels of engagement compared to my personal Twitter. And I can send an email to around 5,000 people anytime I want through the petition software (minus anyone who unsubscribed).

It's an interesting phenomenon. Like Neill Blomkamp (director of District 9, Elysium etc.) said he's going to crowdfund a movie and I replied that we're gonna share the crowdfunding campaign with our community on social media. So I can do that kinda thing, whereas back in April when I started the petition it was just me alone, wondering if I can get to even 100 signatures.

I guess this phenomenon generalizes, like in terms of politics, Bernie Sanders and his fans didn't win the primary but they have far bigger platforms and profiles now. So even though they didn't achieve a specific goal, the struggle helps create momentum for future ventures.
posted by Firas 07 January | 13:23
So pleased for you! You've done a service for a group of people by creating a community, plus you've learned so very much in the process. Sometimes the journey IS really important.
posted by mightshould 08 January | 06:28
Thanks, mightshould! And thanks for your support on my ramblings about this in my previous posts. You rock.


It's funny how there's always something going on for me to post to the 'GITS fans' social media. Like someone designs a new fan-made cover for the album, or the movie gets on an Oscar shortlist, or I just retweet various people with opinions about the movie. I also sometimes post things that I wouldn't ever post on my personal twitter ('happy birthday scarlett johansson'!) and the likes roll in...

Just yesterday we had something huge happen: the other composer on the movie (whose parts of the score are still unreleased) acknowledged us after studiously ignoring our tweets for 8 months. I wished him a happy birthday and said we hold out hope that one day he'll talk to us, and he wrote back with a couple emojis and 'thank you and thanks for the support'. (link). I left it at that rather than pushing my luck by talking about the OST haha. Hopefully this breakthrough can be followed by more interactions off and on...


If you guys will indulge me, this kinda dovetails with something else I've been thinking about:

A couple months into this campaign, both concerned friends and random Reddit haters were being negative about the time I was spending on this. But the reason I kept going is that I sensed the 'growth'. Like, as the signatures kept piling up, and people read my articles, and we gained followers on social media, I was like---I don't know what's going to happen in the future but, having worked on some other personal projects in the past, I know how rare it can be for anyone to care about something you put on the internet at all. So when dozens or hundreds or later thousands of people care? And people from Hollywood, the news biz, and other insiders care? Why the heck would I not keep going?

Since this worked out in a positive way, it coincides with other things I've been thinking about in life. Like when I make an app it doesn't need to have a 20-page business plan. Let me just put something out there and see if there is any growth.

Or, for example, I've been trying to learn about Bitcoin and blockchain technologies just because it's 'hot' in the market and I probably won't regret it if I can find some work in that category. While everyone else is speculating on the coins, why not ride the wave as a software professional.

Growth might not be a great answer to everything (for example, maybe we shouldn't make all national-level policy decisions based on GDP growth) but in general I'm thinking it is a good guide to where to focus your energies.
posted by Firas 08 January | 13:37
So cool to see this!
posted by chrismear 08 January | 17:46
I'm not sure why people still want an official album release but well done. It's cool to see that you have picked up some lessons along the way too.
posted by arse_hat 08 January | 19:41
Thanks chrismear and arse_hat!

arse_hat--as far as why people want an official album release:

1) Missing music: There's a practical issue, which is that the other composer hasn't released his part of the score and until just a couple days ago (as described in my previous comment) never even acknowledged us. So that's like 20% of the full score still missing.

2) Credit and support: Also the fans want everyone who worked on the movie to be fully appreciated and credited, and they feel that an official album available on iTunes, Spotify etc. is part of that. In fact I had an exchange with the composer who has released his part of the score and he also indicated that this was (part of?) his motivation, that hundreds of musicians from all over the world worked on this. I can imagine it was a sprawling project--the movie budget for Ghost in the Shell was over $100million.

3) Feeling aggrieved: There is a sense of abandonment, that Paramount has neglected this movie after it bombed at the box office. The non-release of the score, then the non-publishing of the novelization (which later did come out!), and then the fact that there is no deleted scenes or extended edition blu-ray makes people feel Paramount is letting the fans down. I don't know how accurate this feeling is but I kinda share it... how hard can it be to resolve whatever issues are holding back the OST? And perhaps publish a few extra scenes on Blu-ray that were cut from the theatrical release, as is common with many movies?

What's funny is everything Paramount has done in 2017 after GITS has also been weak. Their summer movies like Baywatch and Transformers under-performed, then their 'prestige' movies like 'Mother', 'Downsizing', 'Suburbicon' also didn't really make waves... I tweeted that this is the curse of GITS, haha.

I get that businesses are always looking forward, but damn. There haven't been a bunch of Baywatch fans clamoring all year for an extended edition. The GITS fan community is very loyal, and it can bring in some revenue to cater to them.
posted by Firas 09 January | 13:35
"There haven't been a bunch of Baywatch fans clamoring all year for an extended edition." That's a hopeful sign for the human race.
posted by arse_hat 09 January | 13:56
Librarian Action Figure Nancy Pearl! || for the love of god, montresor