Saturday, March 03, 2012
Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, co-authors of the Game Change book, gave a 55-minute interview to C-SPAN that aired on Wednesday. The video is not embeddable, so you’ll have to go there. The authors have talked about the book on C-SPAN before, but with the HBO movie premiering in a week, it’s very much back in the news.
If you are mostly interested in the juicy Palin bits, as the screen adapters were, skip to 33:00 or so. The whole interview is good, though, and is supplemented by several clips from the 2008 campaign. I enjoyed the book, and think it made sense for HBO to focus on just one of the storylines from it. If it had been a mini series, that would have been a different matter, but for a two-hour movie, some honing in seems appropriate. Of course Palin fans are outraged that HBO had the nerve to adapt only a part of the book. Apparently that particular creative choice should not be allowed.
Get ready for a packed week of promotion running up to the March 20 debut. Heilemann was on Bill Maher’s panel last night. Howard Kurtz will do a panel about the movie on Sunday.
- Here a take on the movie from David Frum, every liberal’s favorite conservative. He will be on Kurtz’s Reliable Sources program on CNN too, not sure if it will be to talk about Game Change or Limbaugh. He’d be a likely candidate for either or both segments. I shouldn’t link to this dumb Reliable Sources show page. CNN doesn’t have a page of RS video that I can find on its otherwise decent news site.
- New York Times article by Brian Stelter, who addresses HBO’s choice to focus only the Palin story
- Blog post by Time magazine TV watcher, James Poniewozik. He thinks Game Change is a bad movie but counters Palin’s assertion that it is based on a false narrative by saying he “doubt[s] that every reporter who’s covered the McCain-Palin campaign has falsified things.”
How about post-premiere scraps for the internet crowd, HBO? Have you thought about trying something special online—like organizing a watch and chat event? (After the Saturday night debut, please; first-time viewers will want to give it their full attention.) Or how about allowing embeds of selected longer scenes, so bloggers can offer teasers as entertainment, not just your promotional trailers?
HBO can tend to the clumsy and greedy in its social media tactics. A few months ago I tried the “Tweet this” feature from the excellent HBO Go iPad app, and was horrified and embarrassed to see that I’d tweeted not a pointer to the program I was watching but a pitch to my followers to download the app. I’m sure I was expecting to send a friendly GetGlue sort of message like “I’m watching [so and so].” But that’s how brands learn what not to do in social, because they will get loud and instant feedback about missteps. Then there’s that all-Flash site of theirs. And pointers from iOS devices take you to the mobile home page—not to the specific page you were trying to read.
But I adore HBO, generally, as TV, honestly I do. It brought me The Wire (David Simon gave it to me), and that’s impacted my life as much as my passion for Jane Austen and George Eliot books, which is considerable.
You have to wonder if HBO is planning for the inevitable pirating of the movie by people who don’t subscribe but really want to see this movie. I hope they’ll go easy on the thieves, realizing they will be mostly extremely interested viewers and prospective subscribers, not resellers. We can’t all afford premium channels, though a lot of us 99ers scrimp in other ways to compensate for the luxury. Scheduling a free access period while the movie is in heavy rotation would serve the channel’s image best in the long run—far better than meting out punishment, or even considering black avenger countermeasures.