Dawn Allen, Director, Film & TV of Variety speaks at UCLA Extension Entertainment Publicity Class

By Joy A. Kennelly

Director of Film & TV for Variety Magazine, Dawn Allen, came bearing gifts for Julian Myer’s entire Entertainment Publicity UCLA Extension Class the other night. Realizing you need to build your audience when they’re starting out, she gave us all t-shirts, caps, pens, magazines, and press kits to impress upon us the value of advertising in Variety.

Rapidly quoting prices of what a cover, an inside cover, a back cover, and inserts would cost, Dawn Allen explained how advertising works for the entertainment industry from her perspective which was very comprehensive given her tenure in the business.

At one point I was prompted to ask if anyone from Variety’s Board of Directors was involved in the Academy Oscars decision making because she and her company definitely benefit from all the restrictions the Oscars place on how people receive copies of films during awards season.

Due to the fact everyone must only send out plain, simple black encased copies of their films as screeners on their own, everyone can go crazy with visuals and creative ways of getting their movies and soundtracks noticed by 40,000 key decision makers in the entertainment industry when they advertise in Variety.

Granted it costs much more to advertise in Variety vs. doing a mass mailing, but which direct mail piece do you think will be read and remembered come Oscar time? Exactly. Variety, hands down.

According to Dawn, an Oscar has a financial impact on the film for the entire life of the film which is why people are willing to pay upwards to 3 million for a 3 month campaign. When I hear numbers like that I can only think of how many charities and good causes that money would help, but it’s not my budget, so it’s none of my business. Right now Dawn thinks that Juno might be the next Little Miss Sunshine.

(Side note, the Director, Jason Reitman, was part of my Short Pictures International Film Festival – SPIFF, and won an award even back then. I found him recently on Myspace and he remembered winning at my film festival which was nice. He’s extremely talented and I wish him much success.)

She also explained the various ways people can be persuaded to advertise giving Will Smith‘s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame as an example. She contacted his Business Manager, his Agent, and anyone else connected to him to see if they’d like to place an ad congratulating their client – who’s going to say no?

I think she’s extremely talented at figuring out the best way to market a film and if the entire Variety advertising revenue stream is $60 million dollars, I can only imagine her salary since she’s been with the company for so long.

But again, that’s none of my business, right?

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