Sunday, August 27, 2006

Unashamed Hero Worship

I sat next to Oscar Kightley on Friday. Or how about this, I had lunch with Oscar Kightley on Friday.

And about a few hundred other people.

We were at the Marketing Association's Northern Luncheon where we heard Oscar, along with Elizabeth Mitchell, creator of Bro'Town, and her brother Tim talk about product placement.

Bro'Town has an amazing backstory. Basically New Zealand On Air - which funds the vast majority of NZ television - wouldn't give them initial funding, so they had to think of other options. This is where Tim's expertise in investment came in - he developed a proprietary plan for product placement.

In America, product placement is very familiar. In New Zealand, it's kind of a new thing, particularly for fiction (reality shows have a bit of contra deals going on). So it's really exciting to see a pioneer in this industry take such an integrated approach.

The story creators, the producers and the advertisers work together to create something that works well for everyone. None of the adversarial stuff you hear about in the US. Great story.

Anyway, I actually was sitting next to Oscar, and was trying to think of something really insightful to ask him.

I came up with:

Me: "Do you miss being a journalist?" (Oscar and Elizabeth met while working at the now-defunct Auckland Star newspaper)

Oscar: "No. But I'm glad I did it; it helped me to write succinctly."

And this:

Me: "So I guess you'll be doing the old Joseph Campbell three act thing? Must be a big adjustment from doing half-hour episodes" (They're making a Bro'Town movie)

Oscar: "Yes, it's basically starting from scratch. It's a big difference."

So cool to talk with Oscar. He's a bit of a role model as a Samoan, even though I'm only Samoan by marriage... still, someone who has broken through a lot of barriers to become very well-known - and still very humble. Most of all, someone who does what he loves for a living.

Really good to meet Elizabeth and Tim, too. At last I will know some other people when I go to the Writer's Room on Tuesday! :)


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