Nicole Hansen sets up story with Forbes Entertainment writer, Rob Salkowitz.
Forbes editors watch in amazement as MPCA/Brad Krevoy Television’s devoted fans knock out coverage of DEADPOOL and The Grammys to take first position as Forbes top story of the day.
Fans aren’t just for edgy genre content anymore. Meet the super-engaged community at the heart of one of the most successful scripted series on cable.
Read entire article at source: ‘Hearties’ Mobilize To Drive Hallmark’s Top-Rated Show – Forbes
Heading digital media for client MPCA/Brad Krevoy Television at the first ever fan-con for their hit Hallmark Channel series When Calls The Heart was both a challenge and a joy
By Nicole Hansen, President, GGE and Founder of eBrandgelize Digital
Last June, while setting up branded social media pages for our newest web design and online branding client, MPCA/Brad Krevoy Television, I checked to see if anyone was tweeting about one of its produced shows that was airing that night called When Calls the Heart. I noticed something I had never seen before from clients who had live events happening on Twitter: people were not only tweeting about the show, but they were having conversations. These fans calling themselves #Hearties were so actively working to get the show to trend that I made a point to mention it to Brad Krevoy the next time we spoke. He credited the #Hearties with getting the show a second season. He also tasked me with getting to know them and to find a way to give back.
Over the following months, I worked on behalf of Brad Krevoy with Brian Bird, the show’s executive producer and fan ambassador, as he brought me up to speed on how the fans were creating their own #HeartiesParties. He explained that a group of Hearties were creating a Heartie-Con, a fan convention for a hundred or so of the 31,000 members of the private Facebook group “Fans of Hallmark Chanel’s When Calls the Heart.” When Brian announced the event to the group, I saw that a single email address was given for people to register — not an easy way to manage an event. Brian connected me with the organizers and we suggested setting up an EventBrite page, courtesy of MPCA. The advantages included e-tickets, mass messaging of guests, and an easy to manage registration process.
During the planning process, I was blown away by the planning committee’s resourcefulness. The event sold out in an hour at $100/ticket. The ladies on the event committee made gift bags and swag by hand, using the show as inspiration. I shouldn’t have been surprised; I was tasked by Brian and Brad to transport fan-made woven blankets and personalized doilies to deliver to the stars on the set from one amazing fan. It seems many of these ladies, aged 16-75, were inspired by the show to produce their own 1910’s-era arts and crafts, so the homemade swag were definitely on-brand for this event. On MPCA/BKTV’s behalf, GGE created more tech-driven goodies, including Hallmark Channel-Hearties-branded flash drives, loaded with deleted scenes, family-friendly coloring pages commissioned from a popular #HeartieArt creator, Brie Schmida, and 10 social media marketing action items that the fans can do to bring in new viewers for season 3.
Leading up to the event, many fans voiced their desire for MPCA/BKTV to run a Periscope live stream for them. After weeks of promising that @MPCA_Film would be periscoping from #HFR2016, I had to out myself as the person who would be hosting the broadcasts. When I got to the first event in Vancouver, the Hycroft House High Tea, I did a brief introduction on my own Periscope of walking into Hycroft as a fellow Heartie (yes, I’ve been converted) and meeting the Hearties admins and event planners in person for the first time. Viewers then stayed tuned to @MPCA_Film for more periscopes of the event. Whenever I streamed stars meeting and speaking to the fans and on the broadcasts, you could hear the chirps, as attending Hearties were notified that MPCA/BKTV was streaming. We watched the hearts (likes) grow from only 1 to over 55,000 by the end of the weekend.
Before the event, we were tasked with lending technical and design support to the developer of the #Hearties fan website, to help make the site mobile-ready from the outset, with more social network integration for all things #Hearties. At the event, it was so gratifying to receive hugs and thanks for both the website upgrade and our online Twitter conversations with Hearties. They were also grateful for likes and retweets of fans’ posts, and especially for the Periscope streaming. Their Hearties friends who could not attend were thrilled to be meeting the attendees via the broadcasts! It was pure love for MPCA/BKTV to be supporting and appreciating their fans and meant the world to us. We also conducted video interviews of fans and produced a video interview (in collaboration with Edify Media) of the executive producers as assets for future stories in the press and on social media.
All in all, the entire event was like attending a real family reunion. People I was introduced to from a distance, over digital media, came to the event from all over. It was like being surrounded by distant relatives from all around the world: my cousins, aunts, uncles and even a family representing with 3 generations from infants to grandparents. Spending time with the matriarch of all things Hearties, best-selling author Janette Oke, who wrote the books that inspired the series When Calls the Heart, reminded me why I loved my own churchgoing, humble and hard-working grandmother so much. They were all just good people coming together and supporting family-friendly entertainment, which in a world of violence and superheroes on TV put me right back to be a little girl watching Little House on the Prairie and then pretending I was Laura Ingalls Wilder. These fans just wanted to go back to a simpler time, and did it by supporting their show and connecting both online and at this amazing event.
Even a teenager can see how important it is for a working-mom to value herself.
When my 18-year-old son looked at the title of my #WomenGameChangers keynote the night before I was going to speak, “Acknowledging Your Worth: How to Work with Social Enterprises and Non-Profits Without Becoming a Charity Case,” he said, “Mom, that’s something you know a lot about!”
How does he know so much about how important it is for a woman to acknowledge her worth? Well this boy knows plenty. He’s seen me do anything to make his dreams come to fruition. Green Galaxy was founded eight years ago as his production company, to produce his global warming commercial Save It. He said I had to help him get it made, and I did! But after we succeeded, and his PSA was out there, people started coming to me and asking me to help them as well. The only problem was they weren’t offering me anything in return for my expertise. All of these people expected me to give to their companies and their causes what I have given to my kids: my connections, my ability to be a cheerleader and the skills to bring everything together and make dreams a reality.
My 18 year old saw that I so overwhelmed, it was hard for me pay full attention to him and his autistic brother, because I was too busy trying to save the world that they care so much about. I was so busy nurturing everyone else that I had forgotten to make sure I was taking care of myself, first. Luckily, I have some amazing mentors, including men. One successful entrepreneur took me aside and told me to read the fable “The Richest Man in Babylon.” It made me realize that as an entrepreneur, and especially a social entrepreneur, you must pay yourself first and then pay everyone else. You need to put 10% off to the side, because otherwise you’ll never have anything to fall back on, nor will you be able to keep yourself from being a burden to your children once you’re too old to work.
My brother, who helps run The Center for Entrepreneurship in Moscow, also taught me to take stock of my skills and tools: my visual storytelling, my gung-ho attitude and my networking abilities, and to monetize them. My tools included creating pitch presentations, doing social-media marketing, designing websites and initiating strategic partnerships, but I needed to get paid for those services. I started empowering myself to ask for my piece of the pie, charging for my time, and taking producing fees off the back-end if that’s what it took. I had a client who had huge dreams to build her brand into a transmedia universe of books, games, events, media and charitable programs. I realized that it was humanly impossible for me to do on my own. So I put a budget together and made a proposal to get the work done, and had to empower myself to ask her to pay for it, which I’ve never been very good at, and guess what? My client approved that budget and we were off to the races. I could pay myself, my expenses, my subcontractors and put that 10% aside!
Finally, the most important lesson I’ve learned from one of my mentors was how to negotiate a contract for myself. When I started off my life in Hollywood, I made more money in my 20s as a working actress than most lawyers do coming out of law school. But that’s the thing: I had agents and lawyers negotiating my contracts. I just trusted their expertise, expecting that my union would take care of enforcing those contracts. But companies fail and file for bankruptcy, and I was left without any residuals to rely on. So my legal advisers taught me how to write and enforce my contracts: to be sure I only offer what I know I can deliver, and to only work once I receive a retainer upfront. This is because once I do start working, I give my clients my all! I take care of them as if they are my children and that sort of attention makes me great at what I do: building their business profile and cheering them on in every media outlet.
As women, our nature is to nurture. But as they tell you during the safety instructions on an airplane, when the plane is losing altitude and you’re traveling with a small child, “Put the oxygen mask on yourself first. Then help the child put on their mask.” In the business world, if you pass out from lack of funding, you’ll be no good at helping your client or your contractors. You need to build a team you can depend on, but make sure your team can depend on you first. That’s how we’ve been able to build websites, build brands and build partnerships with the entertainment industry successfully for so many of our clients. Because I’m able to acknowledge my worth, my business is healthy enough to help others.
Mainstage PR brings in GGE for Emmy Awards “Awareness Campaign” via social media for client, Aujanue Ellis star of, The Book of Negroes
With less than two weeks before ballots were to be cast for for the 2015 Emmy Awards Nominations, Mainstage PR’s Craig Bankey contacted Nicole Hansen of GGE to help his client Aunjanue Ellis with her social media. Ms. Ellis had starred in the BET limited series, The Book of Negroes. She had already been nominated for a People’s Choice Award and was now a contender for a nomination for an Emmy for Best Actress in a Limited Series alongside the likes of actresses Jessica Lang, Frances McDormand and Emma Thompson.
Ms. Ellis’ Twitter page was unrecognizable as herself since her profile and background photos were of flowers and her bio had no description of her work. GGE set out to “brand” her page so as to be recognizable to her fans. We also set up a facebook page, curated followers, content, retweets and shares. We were thrilled to have the “Top Tweet” three days in a row for our #FYC #EmmyAwards campaign on behalf of our client, Aunjanue Ellis and Book of Negroes limited series on BET and eOne TV.
Our team consulted with Ms. Ellis on continuing to post her social activism thoughts and when her Op-Ed was published by TIME magazine about the tragedy that occurred in Charleston, SC we made sure it was published and shared on social media immediately. Proudly, Ms. Ellis’ twitter profile blossomed in the two weeks we worked with her and we even reached the goal of getting a coveted “VERIFIED” blue check mark. It was a wonderful and exhilarating opportunity and we look forward to seeing Aunjanue this fall when she stars in ABC’s Quanitco.
Producing Green Soldiers to Lighten The Burden
“At the very first Produced By Conference in 2009, I was surprised to see a panelist in a US Army uniform. Speaking on the topic of green productions, there was Dr. Kevin Geiss, then the head of the US Army’s Energy Security program. In his opening statement, Dr. Geiss mentioned that many of the American soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq had died while guarding fuel convoys and not in combat. The news was dispiriting, but left me wondering what it had to do with green production…”
Top 10 Reasons to Join the Producers Guild – Hint: It begins and ends with David Fincher
Why all producers should make the effort to become a member of the Producers Guild of America.
Baywatch Creator on Indie TV: A Producer’s Guide to Avoiding the Upfront Madness
NH: CAN YOU EXPLAIN TO OUR READERS HOW INDIE-TV PRODUCTIONS DIFFER FROM BROADCAST PRODUCTIONS?
GB: So where the network has to spend a lot of money, let’s just talk about “Crises” (NBC); it’s a good example because they just canceled it. It’s a show where they put together a bunch of really great actors and a really expensive production, with a huge network investment. They advertised the hell out of it and now it’s gone and I think it’s “Believe” that’s gone too because network TV is so competitive, and their advertisers want to be on their hit shows.
Our show is not like that. We have a 52-week commitment guaranteed, 20 episodes on the air — that’s the model. You buy 20 episodes; you put them on the air for 52 weeks. So I’m not worried about being cancelled. No one can cancel the show. We’re on Sunday nights, 7:00 for 52 weeks. Now when that happens year after year after year like “Baywatch” did for 12 years — pretty soon people go, “Oh, it must be good.” Well maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Maybe it’s just spinach. But you’ve acquired a taste. Nothing is objectionable. There’s no sex, its romance. There’s no violence, its action. So you can appeal to a broad, worldwide audience in any timeslot. Noon in Japan is the toughest place because it’s family programming. 5:45 pm in the UK, you want to be there, and here, primetime Sunday night, 7:00. It’s tough; you can’t be too violent. You’ve got to be the right thing. So after you’re on the air for two or three years, product integration starts to come into play big because they see 52 weeks per year, you’re not going to get cancelled.
But now, nobody knows what “SAF 3” is, because we haven’t come out looking for money. And when people realize it’s been on the air since September, pretty soon they’ll realize it’s the only thing left they haven’t seen and everything else they have seen is reruns — so that’s when the audience comes to us.
NH: WELL THAT BECOMES A PRETTY GOOD MARKETING TOOL. YOU HAVE DISTRIBUTION AND YOU HAVE EYEBALLS AND PRETTY SOON THE ADVERTISERS KNOW THEIR PRODUCTS WILL BE SEEN.
GB: Yes. It’s the only way to compete, and when they hear we’re doing a second year — just on that — they go, “Well it must be good”, and the truth is, it doesn’t have to be good, it just has to stay on the air. There are a lot of really good shows that are canceled a lot because they don’t have a chance to pick up an audience or the right time-slots.
NH: SO HOW DIFFERENT ARE YOU FROM PRODUCERS WHO MUST SHOOT PILOTS FOR THE NETWORKS?
GB: We’re not spending any money on the pilot. We don’t make the pilot. The pilots have killed themselves really, because they spend arguably at least five times the money that they would spend on an episode. Now there are a lot of reasons why it costs more, but admittedly they spend three times more, the reason being is they’re hiring people one-off instead of for multiple episodes. So you’re building a set for one time, one show, instead of building the same set for 20 episodes and dividing the costs by 20.
So a pilot costs more for that reason, but it’s also that one person has written it (“SAF3”) who has maybe written it for a year, so we’ve got someone who’s been writing the scripts for 6 months, so the scripts aren’t going to compare. The director who does a network pilot is never going to direct another episode, and all the scripts are being written by a staff on a network show, and you lose your location since the pilot is never shot in the same location where you are going to end up shooting the series…so it’s a whole bad idea.
If you want an indication of what the series is going to look like, do what I do: I give you the first 10 scripts, here are the casts, here’s the production crew and here’s the executive who’s going to do it, here’s the schedule we are going to do it on. A smart executive is going to look at all that stuff and know at least as much after reading it all than he will after seeing a pilot that’s not going to resemble the series anyway.
NH: IS THIS THE SAME MODEL YOU USED WHEN YOU DID “BAYWATCH”?
GB: Not this advanced, but yes. Baywatch was easier because we did an NBC year. We were cancelled. So I had 22 episodes off of NBC. The most famous cancelation in history and we came back and did eleven more years. But I had 22 episodes to show people.
NH: AND YOU GOT TO KEEP THE RIGHTS?
GB: I bought the rights back for $10 from Grant Tinker. Grant was my mentor and he had started a big company called GTG. He had just finished five years of running NBC. He had the one of the biggest companies, MTM, (you know, with Mary Tyler Moore)? They did “Lou Grant”, “Rhoda”, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”; the shows he did were spectacular. Then he went to run NBC, then he went to his own company and that’s when I went to work with him.
He did “Baywatch”; he was like the “studio”. It was canceled, and even though he lost a lot of money, he didn’t like that it was canceled either. So unknown to me at the time, he was going out of business. I didn’t know it but he loved that I might be able to get it back together. So when I asked him for the show back, I expected to have to pay millions of dollars, because I know how much he had lost. And he said, “I can’t give you the show back, you have to buy it from me. Write me a check right now for $10 and you can have it back.”So I wrote him the check, which, by the way, he gave me back about ten years later; he’d never cashed it. He’d had it framed and gave it back to me on the 250th episode anniversary of “Baywatch”. So he was a wonderful guy. And then we took those 22 episodes around the world and people had their “notes” and told me, “We like this, we don’t like that” or “If we buy it, will you do this?” and I said, “Yeah, if you like this and buy it I will” and then they asked, “Well, don’t you have to check with somebody?” and I said, “I don’t think so. There’s no network, there’s no studio, I’m going to do this myself.” And they said, “Oh, okay and you’ll deliver these episodes? “And I said, “Yes”, so I needed to bond it and get a bank. You see the studio is the bank and the network is the distributor. That’s really all they are, they’re really no more than that so if you can do your own banking — which I do at City National Bank — and you can do your own distribution, which I can do through independent distributors, what do you need to gamble with a studio for?
NH: AND THEN YOU GET TO RETAIN THE RIGHTS TO YOUR PROGRAM?
GB: Yes! I only have me, so it’s a great model. But you can see how hard it is. So if I label myself as the “David against the Goliath” it really is a true concept. But “Baywatch” did not make all that much money. It just did not cost that much money because we didn’t have to pay anybody off. So the net proceeds to us were more than any show in history, because we owed no one any money. So when it was all over, we realized that’s what this model is built on. If we actually fail in this model, no one will lose money. If we succeed in this model, a lot of people will make money because I don’t own it all, but I give pieces away to a lot of people. Because why not?
So that’s the way I get people to come onboard and work for less money. Or, I give them opportunity. Like our best editor is one of the best editors in Hollywood; he does all the pilots, he does everything but he can’t get anybody to give him a chance to direct. Nobody. So he’s a director and he’s spectacular, and I just do the same thing now with a lot of people who want a shot because I can’t afford to go buy really expensive people so I look for young talent or older talent that wants to move on and grow. So that’s how you can compete with the networks; you don’t have to pay somebody an enormous amount if you’re giving them an opportunity that they’ve been dying to get for a really, really long time, and you treat them fair with respect and you’re done. Even if we end up in South Africa.
NH: DID I READ THAT YOU’RE SHOOTING “SAF3” IN SOUTH AFRICA? I HAD HEARD THAT YOU WERE GOING TO SHOOT IN NORTH CAROLINA.
GB: Here’s a good lesson. Maybe this is the business lesson for us all. I’m an American born and bred. I’ve taken a lot of shows all around the world. I spent 10 years in documentaries and I’ve been making shows in North Africa and Saudi Arabia. I’ve been everywhere. “Baywatch” was the first thing that I’ve done here and I really liked it. So when I couldn’t afford to keep it (“SAF3”) in L.A. because of the unions — the Writers Guild the Directors Guild the Screen Actors Guild the IA and the teamsters — I don’t want to leave anybody out, they’re all at fault, equally at fault…
When I realized that it was an absolutely ridiculous scenario here, I went to North Carolina, and North Carolina has a rebate and a bunch of really great people. Great people here (in L.A.) too. Just not willing to change. And they have to change. You have to look it up but there were 28 pilots shot last year and there was something like only two of them shot here in L.A. Something’s wrong.
NH: DO YOU THINK THE NEW PROPOSED TAX INCENTIVES WILL HELP AT ALL IF THEY PASS THEM IN SACRAMENTO?
GB: No. It’s a joke. It’s the wrong bill. If they want to pass a bill in California, just go use North Carolina’s or Florida’s or Alabama’s or Louisiana’s or New York’s or Minnesota’s. They’re all great bills. Read our bill and read their bills, HUGE difference.
GB: Yes! The two bills that California and New York have don’t even resemble each other. One is black and one is white. One is smart and one is dumb.NH: BUT YOU CAN’T SHOOT A BEACH SHOW IN NEW YORK. SO WHAT HAPPENED IN NORTH CAROLINA WITH YOUR SHOW?
GB: Well we were all ready to shoot in North Carolina and they were all ready to help, but the unions there were pretty strong in flexing their muscles. And when I left town I got a letter from one of the unions stating, “We understand that you’re getting a rebate for coming here — 25% — it’s very well known, but we want half of your rebate back.” So I just couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t afford to do it. And, they were flexing their muscles and no network, no studio small fry guy who was in town there. They basically kicked me out. So I went to South Africa. I had met a really great bunch of guys in North Carolina who were doing another show there, and they were helping me out and showing me the ropes and how they do things, and we’re all from L.A. but were working in North Carolina. Well those guys ended up moving to South Africa this year. Guess which show they’re on? “Homeland”. So “Homeland” is now moving from North Carolina to South Africa. So it’s very simple math; you look around and see how far your dollar goes.
I don’t think anybody likes spending more money than they have to spend. Even if it’s in America. So we went to South Africa and this is the lesson: they’re spectacular. The crews are as good or better than Americans. They’re as smart or smarter than Americans. So it’s not like we’re losing anything. We might even be upping a little.
NH: DO YOU THINK IT’S BECAUSE THEY’RE MORE MOTIVATED?
GB: Absolutely. We are entitled here. We think we deserve the business. They don’t think they’ll be as good in South Africa. But guess what? I’ll probably never be back. So the lesson is, “Don’t let business go because that business may never be back.” And other people may follow that person that left and you may end up with a whole business model that it turns out is now basically gone. Now I find that fascinating just from a raw business point of view.
NH: DO YOU VIEW YOUR SHOWS AS BEING BROADCAST/CABLE OR WILL THEY SOMEDAY BE STREAMED?
GB: Oh yeah, they could end up being on Netflix. Yes that’s a real wave of the future. And I know that content is important so producing shows that have value to see over and over again will always have significant value. That’s an absolute area that we are open to for sale.
NH: MY LAST QUESTION: DID I HEAR THAT THERE IS GOING TO BE A NEW “BAYWATCH” MOVIE?
GB: A movie is in the works but you can scoop this, there will probably be another series. You’re the first person I’ve told that to. We’re probably going to do another series, before the movie. Which would most likely take that movie off the table, because nobody wants to do the movie when a series is already on the table…which for streaming would make the old “Baywatch” series way more valuable.
By Nicole Hansen for Box Office Insider on IndieWIRE
In “Belle”, Racism Rings True In Past And Present
Guest Blogger, Nicole Hansen For Box Office Insider on IndieWIRE
Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions hosted a private screening of “When the Game Stands Tall” Wednesday night and the teenage girls were all a flutter for photos with young heartthrob co-star Alexander Ludwig who was in attendance along with actor Micheal Chiklis. Jim Caviezel stars as the head coach, Bob Ladouceur in this inspiring story based on the De La Salle High School Spartans football team that held longest winning streak ever in the game.
“When the Game Stands Tall” was Produced by Mandalay Pictures with Affirm Films and will be distributed through Tri-Star Pictures on August 22, 2014.
via GRAB YOUR POM-POMS FOR “WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL” | Box Office Insider. Guest Blogger, Nicole Hansen