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About backstories

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About backstories building sustainable story franchises Marcus John Henry Brown www.marcusjohnhenrybrown.com


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5 Reasons for a backstory There are five main reasons for creating a backstory for characters and stories. Although these reasons are business driven they ensure that the overall story remains interesting for audiences.


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Why a backstory matters The very first Star Wars film featured a character called Darth Vader. He was the villain of the story and at the end of the film is defeated by the good guys. $775,398,007 Worldwide box office revenues Had George Lucas not written extensive backstories for all of the Star Wars characters the story would have stopped at the first film. Darth Vader would have had no where to go. Source: Forbes, Lucasfilms - Research Date: 1.1.2014 Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope


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the backstory Why a backstory matters Driving additional revenues by extending the story $775,398,007 Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope Additional Box Office revenues created by extending the Star Wars Story. Source: Forbes, Lucasfilms - Research Date: 1.1.2014 George Lucas had written an extensive backstory though. Between 1977 and 1983 used it to create three amazing films.


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Why a backstory matters Driving additional revenues by revealing the backstory $775,398,007 Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope $538,375,067 Star Wars Episode v: The Empire Strikes back $475,106,177 Star Wars Episode v1: return of the jedi Additional Box-Office revenues created by filming the backstory. $924,317,558 Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menance $649,398,328 Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the clones $848,754,768 Star Wars Episode III: revenge of the sith Source: Forbes, Lucasfilms - Research Date: 1.1.2014 So extensive was the Star Wars story universe that, between 1999 and 2005, Lucas Film went on to create an additional set of three films that focused completely on the backstory - answering questions such as: who was Darth Vader, where did he come from and how to he become evil? They weren’t as amazing as the first three films.


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Why a backstory matters Driving additional revenues by creating brand extensions Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the clones Star Wars Episode III: revenge of the sith STAR WARS THE CLONE WARS The backstory made it possible to extend the Star Wars brand into other areas, such as animated films for television and computer games. Brand Extensions 2002 2005 2008 $68,282,844


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Why a backstory matters An audience always wants to know why things happen and why certain characters do certain things. When Star Wars was released in 1977 nobody knew how important Darth Vader was to the story and finding out why he was so important, was a key factor in the franchise’s success – that and LIGHTSABERS. $4,277,000,000 OVERALL Worldwide box office revenues The backstory feeds audience curiosity Source: Forbes, Lucasfilms - Research Date: 1.1.2014


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Why a backstory matters $27,000,000,000 Total Star wars franchise revenues Source: Forbes, Lucasfilms - Research Date: 1.1.2014 The backstory becomes a story franchise The success of Star Wars lies in its rich backstory with hundreds of interconnected characters, all of which have their own story to tell which then, in turn, become part of the story franchise. Story franchise


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Brands with backstories 172 Million Total Pokemon Units sold* Nintendo’s Pokemon Franchise has a total of 719 characters, each with their own set of characteristics, skills and backstories. 719 Characters *August 2013


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Backstories with meaning A complex & emotional charged backstory mythology The Poppy as a symbol of blood, loss and resurrection Symbol sympathy bonds application A final emotional discharge. Church. climax How the poppy appeal works Every autumn, the commonwealth states remember their fallen soldiers. Small paper poppies are sold, without a fixed price, and the money collected goes to support charities that look after elderly, disabled or injured servicemen and women.


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Backstories with meaning In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae 1915 In Flanders Fields Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/hennasabel/4761642512 Remembrance day & the poppy appeal – The mythology


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Backstories with meaning Remembrance day & the poppy appeal – The mythology 16 Million deaths 20 million casualties 1914 – 1918 – 1st world war 11th November at 11:00 hrs. 11.11.11 Armistice Day 15th May 1915 The funeral of Alexis Helmer


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Backstories with meaning Remembrance day & the poppy appeal – The Symbol Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/flintfamilyphotos/14299477616


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Backstories with meaning Remembrance day & the poppy appeal – The Symbol Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/paullikespics/3019811681


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Backstories with meaning Source: Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal. 350.000 volunteers 40 million poppies made 100.000 wreaths 750.000 Crosses Remembrance day & the poppy appeal – The application Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/howardlake/5123632604


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Backstories with meaning Source: Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal. Remembrance day & the poppy appeal – The application Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tadekk/2228754127


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Backstories with meaning Image source: poppyscotland.org.uk ?34,000,000 Total collected 2013 Source: Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal. Remembrance day & the poppy appeal – The application


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Backstories with meaning Remembrance day & the poppy appeal – The application You see them everywhere. The queen wears one, the princes, the prime minister, pop stars, weather presenters, your teachers and your neighbour. Poppy pressure Pressure campaign


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Backstories with meaning Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/defenceimages/8315146504 11.11.11 They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them. Ode to the fallen - Laurence Binyon Remembrance day & the poppy appeal – CLIMAX One minute of complete silence – throughout the country


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Backstories with meaning Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/defenceimages/5198189316 Remembrance day & the poppy appeal – CLIMAX


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Marcus john henry brown Managing director – creative director The backstory made it possible to extend the Star Wars brand into other areas, such as animated films for television and computer games. Contact details Marcus John Henry Brown UG (haftungsbeschrankt) Jahnstrasse 34c 80469 Munchen Email: mail@marcusjohnhenrybrown.com Telephone: +49 (0)89 2351 3330 Skype: Marcus.J.H.Brown Twitter: @MarcusJHBrown www.marcusjohnhenrybrown.com


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