Sunday, May 13, 2012

Superhero Content Planning

This movie was so awesome that even my mom, who rarely comes with us to the movie house, saw it twice.

What I thought was pretty remarkable was how the story was so well-paced even if there are so many main characters to keep track of, the entire Avenger team of Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow and Hawkeye, plus Nick Fury, Phil and bad guy Loki.

In other ensemble films with so many backstories to establish (Valentine's Day, anyone?) character development usually suffers. But Avengers pulled it off without a hitch and the film was able to focus on the task at hand - a story of different super-personalities coming together to form a team.

This was executed flawlessly through good screenwriting in this film, but more importantly through careful content planning that was several years in the making.

Iron Man (2008) was the first Marvel film in this set (I mean those with characters that they included in this Avengers movie), with Nick Fury making a cameo at the end to ask Iron Man to consider "The Avengers Initiative".

Shortly after the release of Iron Man 2 in 2012 producers announced the entire Avengers cast, but it took two years to release the first film installment.

During that time producers were busy establishing the other team members - Black Widow had already made her debut in Iron Man 2, and in 2011 Captain America and Thor (along with Hawkeye) were launched in their own films. That left only Hulk to be introduced in Avengers, and the end-result was an awesome ensemble film.

Even if it isn't exactly the same as branding, there are good principles we can draw from this in terms of Content Planning: Some stories are best told from different points of view. It's ok to spread content in a non-linear fashion, and over different executions - and content can be crafted so that viewers enjoy even the "setup" bits.

Mostly, this shows how much it helps to have the end in mind - what story ultimately needs to be told and what is the best way to get there. To give us a clue how far ahead producers are planning, Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury contract is for nine films (not counting the first Iron Man), which means we've got five more to go!


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