Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Finding Connection Lost

A week before Valentine’s Day, my MIT friend and playwright Vladimir Zelevinsky let me know he’d written a Web series called Connection Lost: A Love Story, described as a thriller-romance.

Always excited to support a fellow MIT artist, I mentioned the show’s premiere on my blog and watched each new episode leading up to the Valentine’s Day finale.

It was pretty great! Solid dialogue, good cliffhangers, and an Ocean’s Eleven-worthy twist at the end. And their sponsor – Equal Exchange fair trade chocolate bars – was integrated smoothly into the series. There was even a contest – find the coupon code among the footage and win free chocolate! (I found the code and won two fantastic chocolate bars – you know I couldn’t miss that opportunity...)

What was most impressive was the number of views for the Boston-based series – over 50,000 for the first episode alone! And that’s without any big name stars!

I reached out to Anna Callahan, Executive Producer and Director of Connection Lost, to learn more about the project.
Tell me about yourself.

I was a jazz trumpet player for about 10 years in LA, then came to Boston and became a software developer. I now run a startup company called CrewTide -- we match independent filmmakers with brands that want episodic, narrative video.

What do you think was the most effective part of your marketing plan?

Two things were very effective: Facebook and YouTube SEO. In our title, keywords, and description, we had popular and relevant phrases. I think "Valentine's Day" in particular helped us a lot.

How did you connect with Equal Exchange to sponsor Connection Lost?

I couldn't get any chocolate companies to answer my phone calls or emails, so I picked a local one and drove down to their office and waited in their lobby till someone came out to talk to me. Sales is hard!

Why did you choose to produce a Web series for them instead of a short film or feature?

Series are much better for viewer engagement. We would never have reached 150,000 views in a week if we'd only had one video. I also prefer Web series to shorts or features as both a viewer and director. There's just more time to explore character development, relationships, philosophical ideas...everything.

Dream lunch date?

I don't really think much about famous people. I have a dream lunch date every time I eat lunch with my sweetie. :)
Watch the first episode of Connection Lost below!

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