17 Marketing & Business Secrets You Can Learn From Hollywood - SubscribeMe.fm

17 Marketing & Business Secrets You Can Learn From Hollywood

By Ravi Jayagopal | Digital Creators

There is a lot we can learn from Hollywood. Especially about what NOT to do. But that's for a future show.

In this article, I'm going to keep it strictly about learning Business secrets, Marketing secrets, even Content Creation secrets, from Hollywood.

(You can listen to, or read, the full series below).


06/14/2022
SubscribeMe.fm by Ravi Jayagopal 17 Marketing & Business Secrets You Can Learn From Hollywood - Part 1 - 115 06/14/2022
00:00:00 00:00:00


08/05/2022
SubscribeMe.fm by Ravi Jayagopal Part 2: 17 Marketing & Business Secrets You Can Learn From Hollywood - 116 08/05/2022
00:00:00 00:00:00

(listen to the article below via the player above)

1) Storytelling


Movies and TV shows are all about stories, right? A story is a key element to a good movie, a good book, or a good speech.

And as a marketer, one of the most critical skills you need is storytelling.

Now, I myself have a newsletter - which you can sign up for at SubscribeMe.fm. Or just send me an email to Ravi_at_SubscribeMe.fm and I'll add you to the list and even give you a free copy of one of my eBooks.

I've been sending emails to my lists for over 25 years now. And my most successful email EVER, in terms of most opens, most read, and most clicked, had the subject line "I Came Home and the Dog Was Bald".

In that chapter, I talk about one of my favorite NLP techniques called Pattern Interrupt. And I talk about the story of a time when I mistakenly checked my email in the middle of the night right before going to bed, and opened one specific email from one of my favorite people, Roy H. Williams, aka the "Wizard Of Ads", read through it, started cracking up with laughter, and then ended up wide awake after that and couldn't go back to sleep for a while because my mind was racing with ideas.

It is an absolutely mesmerizing story and you'll regret not having heard it. So right after you finish this episode, be sure to check out the full episode, "I Came Home and the Dog Was Bald".

And I talk about how you can do the same in your videos, audio, website copy, podcasts, YouTube videos, content marketing, newsletters, webinars, and seminars.

You too are a born storyteller. We’re all storytellers – from telling stories to our siblings to our kids to our parents to friends at a party.

You may not have honed it well enough - yet, or thought about it enough and adapted it for your business, but storytelling is in our DNA, right from when primitive humans gathered around a fire at night and told each other stories.

There are so many frameworks and formulae for telling a story.
And, But, Therefore
One such storytelling formula is called ABT, developed by former scientist turned filmmaker Randy Olson. It stands for “And, But, Therefore.” Each of those is an act in the story. The first act is you use the “AND” and you come up with two pieces of information that describe the situation – basically your hook and a supporting sub-hook.

The second word, “But,” is for the conflict act of a story. “Therefore,” is the third act of a story, and ends with the resolution.

Comedians call it Setup, Twist, Punchline. A Three-act story.

There was a little girl on a farm in Kansas and her life was quite ordinary. But one day, Young Dorothy Gale and her dog are swept away by a tornado to a magical Land. Therefore, she has to find her way back home from a strange land filled with strange things. Get it? Sorry, no points for guessing the name of this movie: The Wizard of Oz.

Here’s another easy one: An innocent young boy grows up with a mean aunt, uncle, and cousin, and one day gets an invitation to a school of magic because he was born into a magical world of wizards and witches. But he discovers that his arch enemy is the one who murdered his parents and also happens to be the most powerful wizard. Therefore, the young wizard has to try and defeat the evil wizard with the help of his friends and teachers, before the evil wizard takes over the world.

Here’s a business example from coolerinsights.com(1): ABC Accounting Services (hypothetical): Mr. Tan is the boss of a Small and Medium Sized Enterprise (SME) in the car servicing business. Every day, he has to grow the business, hire and train staff, ensure that operations are running smoothly, and fix cars too (it’s a small business anyway). But because he is so busy and not financially trained, Mr. Tan has no idea how to keep his financial matters in order. Therefore, he needs the help of an accounting firm like ABC Accounting Services to take away his bookkeeping headaches, so that he can concentrate on growing his business.

>> Hook And Sub-hook But Knowledge Gap Therefore Your Solution
Hero’s Journey
This is another storytelling formula that’s divided into 3 parts:

The departure: The moment in which the hero starts his journey
The initiation: The course of the hero’s journeys, with the adventures and discoveries that emerge during the journey
The return to the point of departure, with the acquired powers and knowledge.

One of the most famous and easily identifiable examples: Finding Nemo, the animated movie from Pixar.

2) No amount of great marketing can make a bad product successful. So you’ve got to start with a great product.

The Adventures of Pluto Nash: Starring a peak Eddie Murphy.
Cost $100 million to make. Lost: $96 million

The Lone Ranger: From Disney! Starring a peak Johnny Depp after making insanely profitable Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
Cost: $225 million, Lost: $98 million

Waterworld, starring Kevin Costner.
Per Wikipedia, with a budget of $172 million, they spent $63 million on marketing and distribution, bringing the total cost to $235 million. The film earned a total of $264 million. So even with 63 million worth of marketing on TV and Radio and magazines and every imaginable channel, they barely broke even.

John Carter
Production budget: $263 million | Loss: $122 million

Oscar-winning Andrew Stanton (Wall-E, Finding Nemo) and the beloved and celebrated book, A Princess of Mars, written in 1912 by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Another massive Disney clunker.

Now, there are two things I would like to add:

Great marketing can sometimes make most non-Hollywood products successful. It’s different with movies because a lot of people will be watching a new movie in the theaters, in the same short time frame – like within the first few weeks. And word of mouth is incredibly strong for movies because whether you watch a great movie or a terrible movie, you’re probably telling everyone you know in real life and on social media. And there are websites like RottenTomatoes.com that give out ratings, and if a movie or show stinks, then it’s going to get terrible ratings, and that’ll discourage a lot of people from even checking it out.

But when it comes to real-life products, like a software product, or an online course, or your coaching program, you’re not going to get large numbers of people signing up for it – at least most people aren’t going to. And most of them are not immediately going to social media and posting about how terrible your product is. It takes time for the word to spread. That’s why in the short term, it’s easy for great marketing to get you a whole bunch of sales. Of course, if your product sucks, you’re going to get tons of refunds, and the bad reviews will slowly start piling up and eventually snowball, and you’ll lose your reputation.

So even the greatest product in the world will not be successful unless you promote it, that doesn’t mean you should throw money trying to promote a bad product, because, in the end, you’ll have a lot of unhappy customers, tons of refunds, and a terrible reputation to deal with.

3) Product placement 

Also known as “embedded marketing", or Contextual Ads.

FedEx – Cast Away
Wilson The Ball – Cast Away
Aston Martin – James Bond
Ray-Ban glasses – Top Gun

You can adopt this strategy as part of your content. In fact, I do this all the time on this very podcast. Whenever the topic of the show talks about a product or a book or a course, I promote either my own products – like my own coaching program, which you can check out at SubscribeMe.fm/coaching, or my 8th and latest book titled DOGPOO & DOSAA: 67 Proven & Implementable Truths, Tactics & Hacks To Create Better Content, Promote Your Products, Grow Your Audience and Make More Sales , which you can find on Amazon, or on my website at DogpooBook.com.

See what I did there?

You get the idea. Contextual ads are far more appreciated and accepted because they don’t take away from the main content.

And this is also why host-read ads are far more powerful because the ad is in the voice of the show’s host, instead of some random person of the opposite sex from the host, reading out a Geico ad that sounds like a radio commercial.

4) Who You Know

If you’re trying to make it as an actor or a technician in the movie industry, other than having a lot of skill and talent, WHO you know is more important than WHAT you know. It’s all about relationships.

You never know where your first break or your next gig will come from that could lead to a big break in the future. You’ve got to go to a million auditions, which means you have to have a great agent who can get you into key casting calls, you have to attend events that filmmakers, writers, and casting directors attend.

This means someone needs to hook you up with an invitation. Which means you have to know people. So to state the cliché, your network is your net worth. And that applies outside of Hollywood too.

That’s why Alumni groups can be so powerful, even more so if you went to the big Ivy League schools. A network of peers and colleagues who have gone on to do different things in life and have had achievements and accomplishments is a very powerful kind of network, which can get you into rooms and situations and deals that you probably couldn’t get otherwise.

Similarly, associations and clubs can be very influential in opening new doors. This is why you need to join meetups and local groups and associations and get to know people from your industry and even peripheral niches.

5) A Great Team

Get yourself a great team. Whether it’s the X-Men or the Avengers, or even a low-rent franchise like The Expendables, everyone needs a great team to be successful.

Heck, even a lone-wolf superhero like Batman or James Bond or Jack Bauer needs a team behind him to create cool gadgets, work the computers, do high-tech surveillance, help him with the hacking and information retrieval, and so on. So be sure to hire the right people, whether it’s full-time or contract work. Outsource stuff.

I myself use Upwork.com to hire people for both short-term and long-term contract work, and Fiverr.com to get the occasional odd jobs done – like creating a specific kind of image or creating custom audio.

If you’ve listened to my podcast before, you’ve heard my “Ooh What a Man” jingle. Let me play you a short clip of that song. And I’ll play the full clip at the end of this episode. This was created by someone on Fiverr. I paid $30 for lending the vocals. I had already picked out the song.

And there is a cool story about how I came to choose that particular song. Back in the 90s, I had a business back in India at the time. It was a Kinkos-like setup. And my wife was a senior member at a US-based IT firm with operations in India. So they asked her to go on a 6-month project in the US.

And since it was only a short-term project, she convinced me to join her. So she and I came to the US for 6 months. And I was literally on an extended vacation, no computer at home, a small 18″ second-hand Black & White TV that we bought from her friend who was going back to India. So I had a looooot of time on my hands.

And one of the things I was really fascinated by was daytime talk shows. And at the time, Oprah was the biggest name. But there was another show hosted by a man called Phil Donahue. And it aired at the perfect time for me, right around the time I was having breakfast and getting ready to go to the gym.

And Phil Donahue was once introduced with this amazing song. I can’t play the original due to possible copyright issues, but it’s a song called “Whatta Man” by the group Salt-n-Pepa.

For some reason, that song stuck in my head, and I always thought, wow, what a cool song that is to have as an intro. That’s it. Just one thought, That one time. And then I never ever thought about that song or Phil Donahue for the next 20 years. And then in 2015, when I was starting this podcast, I wanted a cool intro. And from the deepest recesses of my memory, out sprung the Phil Donahue Intro song. And I had to look up the song on Google because I didn’t know who had sung that.

I found the song and decided that it was going to be the jingle for my podcast. So I found a Karaoke version without the vocals, wrote my own lyrics to match the original rhythm, and I found this singer on Fiverr. She had an amazing voice. I messaged her and sent her the audio clip and the lyrics and asked her if she would sing the lead version. And she charged me $30 for that. And that’s how we got this audio clip that you’re about to hear. (listen to the podcast for the audio).

If you’ve heard my Liam Neeson clip, that too was created by a Liam Neeson impersonator on Fiverr. I might’ve paid about $50 for that. Here’s that clip. 
(listen to the podcast for the audio).

And then there’s the Morgan Freeman clip. 
(listen to the podcast for the audio).

So Fiverr doesn’t mean just Five bucks, and Fiverr certainly doesn’t mean low quality. Not any more.

6) Skill & Practice

AKA “The 10,000 Hour Rule” in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers: The Story of Success.

Many people end up thinking that practicing something will make you sound too robotic. They think the term “sounds too rehearsed” is a negative thing. On most occasions, it’s not a negative.

Whether it’s the nightly news, a stand-up routine by Dave Chappelle, or a state of the union address by the President, or Saturday Night Live, all of it involves scripting and rehearsing.

There’s this incredible scene in the movie Reservoir Dogs – directed by Quentin Tarantino. In this iconic sequence of scenes, Mr. Orange, aka the actor Tim Roth, tells the story of him walking into a bathroom with 4 cops.

The premise is that the character has to infiltrate this gang as an undercover cop. He has to be able to run into them, and part of him gaining the trust of the gang, is him telling them a story. There it is  again – storytelling. It works even for infiltrating a criminal gang!

Anyway, in the movie, Mr. Orange has to tell them the story so convincingly that the gang needs to believe it’s true, and hopefully that then gives him a way into becoming a part of the gang.

So another cop gives Tim Roth the script of a story of him walking into a bathroom that has 4 cops. And Tim Roth’s job is to memorize it, and live it and feel it, and make it his own so that when he narrates that story to the gang members, they should really believe the story and develop a connection with him.

Saturday Night Live takes ONE ENTIRE WEEK of practice, following a tight script, no improv allowed and is actually frowned upon, and in spite of all that, you can still see the actors reading off of a big sign off-camera, and they know that you can see that, and that’s OK with them.

Now on the flipside, Hollywood is all about retakes – getting the perfect shot without flubbing the lines, without screwing up the expression, the movement, or the lighting. Greatness takes practice. Great products take constant and multiple revisions to create and improve.

In the book, “Creativity, Inc.”, Ed Catmull, the founder of Pixar and president of Disney Animation, argues that every film starts out as an “ugly baby”, growing through countless changes into a graceful adult.

You’ve got to adopt the same mindset. It’s ok to not get it perfect in the first take. You may have to do multiple retakes. If things are not working, you may have to change the dialogues. Or the setting. Sometimes, you may even have to replace an actor!

Don’t be rigid. Be nimble. And also, don’t wait for perfection.

Better done than perfect.

I talked about Skills, Scripts, Practice, and Mr. Orange's "Commode Story" on this episode:

Put Your Pen Down, Script It And Rehearse It – 106
06/08/21
SubscribeMe.fm by Ravi Jayagopal Put Your Pen Down, Script It And Rehearse It - 106 06/08/21
00:00:00 00:00:00

Parts 3 and 4 of this series are coming soon.

Please subscribe to my podcast by searching for "SubscribeMe.fm" in your favorite podcast app. Or you can check out my home page for all podcast app links, including Spotify.
09/24/2022
SubscribeMe.fm: Making, Marketing & Monetizing Digital Content with Membership Sites, Online Courses & Recurring Subscriptions by Ravi Jayagopal Part 3: 17 Marketing & Business Secrets You Can Learn From Hollywood - 117 09/24/2022
00:00:00 00:00:00
08/05/2022
SubscribeMe.fm: Making, Marketing & Monetizing Digital Content with Membership Sites, Online Courses & Recurring Subscriptions by Ravi Jayagopal Part 2: 17 Marketing & Business Secrets You Can Learn From Hollywood - 116 08/05/2022
00:00:00 00:00:00
06/14/2022
SubscribeMe.fm: Making, Marketing & Monetizing Digital Content with Membership Sites, Online Courses & Recurring Subscriptions by Ravi Jayagopal 17 Marketing & Business Secrets You Can Learn From Hollywood - Part 1 - 115 06/14/2022
00:00:00 00:00:00
05/06/2022
SubscribeMe.fm: Making, Marketing & Monetizing Digital Content with Membership Sites, Online Courses & Recurring Subscriptions by Ravi Jayagopal How to Reverse Engineer Your Website, Products and Services - 114 05/06/2022
00:00:00 00:00:00
02/10/2022
SubscribeMe.fm: Making, Marketing & Monetizing Digital Content with Membership Sites, Online Courses & Recurring Subscriptions by Ravi Jayagopal Urgency, Scarcity and Exclusivity (USE) - 113 02/10/2022
00:00:00 00:00:00
12/25/2021
SubscribeMe.fm: Making, Marketing & Monetizing Digital Content with Membership Sites, Online Courses & Recurring Subscriptions by Ravi Jayagopal Part 3: Takeaways From My Book Launch: Audiobook and Paperback - 112 12/25/2021
00:00:00 00:00:00
11/11/2021
SubscribeMe.fm: Making, Marketing & Monetizing Digital Content with Membership Sites, Online Courses & Recurring Subscriptions by Ravi Jayagopal Part 2: Takeaways From My Book Launch: The Offer - 111 11/11/2021
00:00:00 00:00:00
10/22/2021
SubscribeMe.fm: Making, Marketing & Monetizing Digital Content with Membership Sites, Online Courses & Recurring Subscriptions by Ravi Jayagopal Part 1: Takeaways From My Book Launch: Launch On Your Website, Not On Amazon - 110 10/22/2021
00:00:00 00:00:00
09/13/2021
SubscribeMe.fm: Making, Marketing & Monetizing Digital Content with Membership Sites, Online Courses & Recurring Subscriptions by Ravi Jayagopal Sell First, Create Later - 109 09/13/2021
00:00:00 00:00:00
06/28/2021
SubscribeMe.fm: Making, Marketing & Monetizing Digital Content with Membership Sites, Online Courses & Recurring Subscriptions by Ravi Jayagopal No Such Thing As Too Long, Only Too Boring - 108 06/28/2021
00:00:00 00:00:00
06/16/2021
SubscribeMe.fm: Making, Marketing & Monetizing Digital Content with Membership Sites, Online Courses & Recurring Subscriptions by Ravi Jayagopal I Came Home and the Dog Was Bald - 107 06/16/2021
00:00:00 00:00:00
06/08/2021
SubscribeMe.fm: Making, Marketing & Monetizing Digital Content with Membership Sites, Online Courses & Recurring Subscriptions by Ravi Jayagopal Put Your Pen Down, Script It And Rehearse It - 106 06/08/2021
00:00:00 00:00:00
04/10/2021
SubscribeMe.fm: Making, Marketing & Monetizing Digital Content with Membership Sites, Online Courses & Recurring Subscriptions by Ravi Jayagopal Podcasting with WordPress: The Do's and Don'ts of Creating and Hosting Your Podcast Feed and Audio - 105 04/10/2021
00:00:00 00:00:00
01/23/2021
SubscribeMe.fm: Making, Marketing & Monetizing Digital Content with Membership Sites, Online Courses & Recurring Subscriptions by Ravi Jayagopal Part 3: 25 Video Tips For Video Course Creators and Premium Content Creators - 104 01/23/2021
00:00:00 00:00:00
12/10/2020
SubscribeMe.fm: Making, Marketing & Monetizing Digital Content with Membership Sites, Online Courses & Recurring Subscriptions by Ravi Jayagopal Part 2: 25 Video Course Creation Tips For Online Course Creators and Membership Site Owners - 103 12/10/2020
00:00:00 00:00:00
11/23/2020
SubscribeMe.fm: Making, Marketing & Monetizing Digital Content with Membership Sites, Online Courses & Recurring Subscriptions by Ravi Jayagopal 25 Video Course Creation Tips For Online Course and Digital Creators - Part 1 - 102 11/23/2020
00:00:00 00:00:00
10/14/2020
SubscribeMe.fm: Making, Marketing & Monetizing Digital Content with Membership Sites, Online Courses & Recurring Subscriptions by Ravi Jayagopal Waterfall Method, If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It and Junior Developers - Part 4 - 101 10/14/2020
00:00:00 00:00:00
09/10/2020
SubscribeMe.fm: Making, Marketing & Monetizing Digital Content with Membership Sites, Online Courses & Recurring Subscriptions by Ravi Jayagopal Repeatability, Scalability and WORA: What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Programmers - Part 3 - 100 09/10/2020
00:00:00 00:00:00
08/10/2020
SubscribeMe.fm: Making, Marketing & Monetizing Digital Content with Membership Sites, Online Courses & Recurring Subscriptions by Ravi Jayagopal Design Big, Implement Small, Algorithms and Rapid Prototyping: What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Programmers - Part 2 - 99 08/10/2020
00:00:00 00:00:00
07/27/2020
SubscribeMe.fm: Making, Marketing & Monetizing Digital Content with Membership Sites, Online Courses & Recurring Subscriptions by Ravi Jayagopal 17 Things Entrepreneurs Like You Can learn from a Programmer - Part 1 - 98 07/27/2020
00:00:00 00:00:00
06/21/2020
SubscribeMe.fm: Making, Marketing & Monetizing Digital Content with Membership Sites, Online Courses & Recurring Subscriptions by Ravi Jayagopal Part 5: Greatest Free and Freemium Tools - 97 06/21/2020
00:00:00 00:00:00
04/19/2020
SubscribeMe.fm: Making, Marketing & Monetizing Digital Content with Membership Sites, Online Courses & Recurring Subscriptions by Ravi Jayagopal Part 4: Greatest Free and Freemium Tools - 96 04/19/2020
00:00:00 00:00:00
01/30/2020
SubscribeMe.fm: Making, Marketing & Monetizing Digital Content with Membership Sites, Online Courses & Recurring Subscriptions by Ravi Jayagopal Part 3: Greatest Free and Freemium Tools - LastPass - Ep 95 01/30/2020
00:00:00 00:00:00