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Blogging the Best Picture Marathon 2009

Like last year (and the year before), I'll be seeing all five Best Picture nominees back-to-back tomorrow! But this year, I get to liveblog it!

For the past two years, I’ve enjoyed AMC’s Best Pic­ture Show­case. For an expla­na­tion, I’ll quote from my entry from last year:

For those of you not in the US (or even if you are in the US, if you haven’t heard about this before), this is what is becom­ing an annual tra­di­tion from AMC, where essen­tially, the day before Oscar night, movie fans have the chance to watch all five Best Pic­ture nom­i­nated films back-to-back in one after­noon. For $30 you get unlim­ited pop­corn and a ticket to each movie — plus you can come and go as you please. Sit­ting in a movie the­ater for 12 hours, watch­ing five movies back-to-back = bliss!

This will be the third year that my mom and I will be attend­ing the Show­case, how­ever, this year there are a few changes. First, Grant will be com­ing with us. It was sweet of my mom to include us in what has tra­di­tion­ally been “our” thing — but we know he’ll enjoy it. Sec­ond, this year I get to live­blog the whole expe­ri­ence! AMC’s PR peo­ple con­tacted me a cou­ple of weeks ago and asked if I would be inter­ested in live blogging/tweeting/flickring the event, in exchange for two free passes. Since I would have done all that any­way, I jumped at the chance. I haven’t quite fig­ured out how I’m going to parse all the info (my thought is that I’ll have an RSS feed tomor­row for a post that shows my tweets, flickr stuff and other thoughts — or I might just try to blog from my Black­Berry.

I’ll def­i­nitely be tweet­ing about the event and upload­ing pho­tos to a Flickr group that @giannii cre­ated. All of the blog­gers attend­ing the Best Pic­ture Show­case through­out the coun­try will be using the #amcbps hash-tag so you can fol­low that feed to stay up to date (or to contribute).

I really think AMC totally went about pro­mot­ing the even this year the right way. In years past, Enter­tain­ment Weekly has men­tioned the event (that was how I found out about it the first year), and there has been some news­pa­per cov­er­age or ad space, but this year they really did a good job of get­ting the word out using social media. A lot of this is because AMC had the fore­sight to hire @jpgardner as their Social Media Man­ager. I’ve been fol­low­ing Justin on Twit­ter for I don’t know how long (feels like for­ever in Twit­ter time) and he has a real han­dle on how to com­mu­nity engage­ment the right way.

Let’s look at how and why AMC Enter­tain­ment has succeeded:

  • They approached blog­gers and Twit­ter users with both an inter­est in film and with com­mu­nity con­nec­tions I don’t know if I was approached because of my Twit­ter fol­low­ing or because I blogged about the Best Pic­ture Show­case last year, but the fact that they con­tacted me shows that they were doing their home­work. I’m a nobody, but a nobody who loves film and who inter­acts with a lot of other film fans.
  • They really focussed on the excite­ment of the event The rea­son my mom and I will be doing this for the third year in a row (and the rea­son Grant is com­ing with us), is because this is one of the most fun movie going expe­ri­ences you can have. If you’re a movie fan, there’s noth­ing bet­ter. Even if you are the type of per­son that can’t imag­ine spend­ing 12 hours in a the­ater, this is still a great event. You’d be sur­prised how much time flies when you are see­ing really qual­ity flicks back to back. Plus, the AMC staff has always been incred­i­bly great at accom­mo­dat­ing patrons and mak­ing the expe­ri­ence as much fun as pos­si­ble. That level of fun and excite­ment came through with the social media campaign.
  • It’s clearly not (just) about the money A lot of com­pa­nies fail at social or inter­ac­tive mar­ket­ing and com­mu­nity out­reach because it is clear they just want peo­ple to shill for their stuff. This isn’t the case here. Sure, part of the cam­paign was to raise inter­est in the event through word of mouth and online chan­nels, but it was clearly about more than that. The focus on tweet­ing dur­ing the event, tak­ing pho­tos, blog­ging, really mak­ing it a fun expe­ri­ence that you can share with your friends all over the place — makes it clear this is just about money. If it were just about money, why encour­age peo­ple to inter­act when the event has already started? No, by doing this, not only does AMC make it clear that they aren’t want­ing peo­ple to just shill for their event, they are show­ing that they under­stand that engage­ment is what keeps peo­ple com­ing back. I’ll say this — even before being approached this year, there was no doubt in my mind that I’d be doing the Best Pic­ture Show­case this year. None. The expe­ri­ence has been so great in years past, it was a given. Not only that, but the expe­ri­ence has only increased my brand loy­alty to AMC. I can’t always go to AMC because the the­ater down the street is a Regal and the indie the­ater down the street is a Land­mark, but when I do have the choice, I’ve always pre­ferred AMC. The fact that they do events like this and really try to makes stuff spe­cial only cements that loyalty.
  • The price is right  As with years past, the price of a ticket is only $30 ($25 if you are a Movie Watcher card mem­ber and you buy at the box office). Five movies and unlim­ited pop­corn for $30 is unheard of. You can get a soda with unlim­ited refills for about $4, and that makes the whole thing that much bet­ter. I’ll be at the newly ren­o­vated Buck­head Fork and Screen (for­merly the Buck­head Back­lot, also known as the place I lost my awe­some Diesel hat and the place I left my cell phone in 2001 — got back the phone, not the hat :(), where they serve alco­hol (beer, wine) and actual food — so my expe­ri­ence will be even nicer than it was in the past. In this econ­omy, $30 for a day of enter­tain­ment is a really great value. Not to men­tion, it’s a great way for movie lovers on a bud­get (and that includes me — I just moved into a big­ger place and got engaged, our going to the movies bud­get took a back­seat to new fur­ni­ture, the new TV and my beau­ti­ful engage­ment ring). Plus, it’s an awe­some way to get geared up about the Oscar’s the fol­low­ing night.

All in all, this is one of those movie events I look for­ward to the entire year. Save see­ing Ver­tigo fol­lowed by Psy­cho in glo­ri­ous 70mm at the Fox The­ater on Hitchcock’s 100th birth­day, it is my favorite movie expe­ri­ence ever. To quote Fer­ris Bueller, “If you have the means, I highly rec­om­mend pick­ing one up.”


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February 2009
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Linda Sher­man - Gravatar

Linda Sher­man said:

I am in the USA but appar­ently under a rock (I was not fol­low­ing @jpgardner, now I am) because I didn’t hear about this till I saw your tweet today. I am going to see if I can still get in. I work for Sin­gu­lar Mag­a­zine I won­der if they reached out to the press?

Posted on: February 20, 2009 at 6:59 pmQuote this Comment