A Vacation, A Delay, A Facebook Ad, And A Prometheus.

Firstly and most excitingly (for me), I will be out of town on a Mediterranean Cruise until July 11th. The partnership of Business and Brain is effectively shutting down until then. What that means for ALPHASHOCK is that the third episode will be released in late July instead of the middle of the month—anyone looking forward to the next installment will have to wait a couple extra weeks. Sorry! Hopefully in my absence the spambots don’t come crawling out of the walls of my website to leave me with a few thousand comments about products I never searched the internet for in the first place, let alone care about. How do they target their advertising, anyway? Shotgun approach?

SEGWAY!

Speaking of advertising, Facebook sent me a free $50 ad voucher since I looked into it a couple months ago but never ended up pulling the trigger. They found out I was interested and followed up with something that makes it pretty much impossible to ignore. That’s why Facebook is Facebook, I suppose.

Anyway, here is the little snippet that I slapped together:

AlphaShock Facebook Ad

There should obviously be a period after “Series”, but they only give you so many words. Tiny picture space, too. Explaining PPC (pay-per-click) advertising is a whole different post unto itself so I won’t bore you with the details. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it myself so I wouldn’t be much help anyway, but the bottom line is you pay Facebook a certain amount every time someone clicks on your ad (i.e., is exposed to your work). My ad has been running since 10pm last night, and the total I have “paid” Facebook is $31.14 for 80 clicks. I only make 35¢ per sale of ALPHASHOCK Episode 1. So to recoup that $31.14 (soon to be $50), I have to sell more than 89 copies. Since only 80 clicks have been made, and since only a tiny percentage of clickers go on to be buyers, this type of advertising is absolutely not worth it with a 35¢ profit on each sale (unless you can drop your click cost below 35¢, which prompts Facebook to greatly lower the ad’s visibility). If you were selling an ebook at the 70% royalty rate (as opposed to the 30% ALPHASHOCK gets from being priced below $2.99) and were taking in at least $2 per sale, it would be worth throwing a few bucks at Facebook to see if you could get lucky.

Too much about business.

On to PROMETHEUS.

Being of an age where I can say I’m a life-long fan of the ALIEN franchise (literally—the first one came out 2 years before I was born), my excitement leading up to the most recent offering was akin to taking one of those little walking wind-up toys, holding its legs in place, and turning that knob until the toy almost exploded from built-up energy.

I saw it in 3D Imax, which is something I don’t do unless the movie was filmed with 3D technology (I tend to lean on the side of “gimmick” in post-conversion scenarios). The film wasn’t playing in just plain old Imax, so the 3D was a necessary evil.

Or, maybe it wasn’t.

I was blown away by the visuals and my bones nearly shattered from the audio. It’s been a long time since I’ve walked out of a theater after paying $17 for a ticket where I didn’t feel cheated on a molecular level. Paying DVD-price for watching PROMETHEUS was 100% worth it.

The script left a lot to be desired and there were a couple other minor glitches. A red flag went up when I watched the trailer and noticed almost everyone in the cast looked like they stepped out of a magazine advertisement. Granted, it isn’t a bunch of truckers in space (R.I.P. Yaphet Kotto), and they threw in a token homely person (besides Weyland) just to tip the scales a little. However, realism went straight out the window—which is surprising given the amount of effort they devoted to it everywhere else—with a supporting cast filled mostly with potential FINAL DESTINATION actors. It took the focus off the story (maybe that’s a good thing?).

At least the cinematography, effects, and sound more than pushed the film over into positive territory. I won’t speak to the plot (beyond putting my finger on a major problem, which was every character stating their own description straight from the script: “I’ll stop anything bad from getting to Earth!”; “I’ll do whatever I can to see that this mission succeeds!”…those are traits that are better to show, not outright tell (perfect example of the right way to do it: the character “Mace” in SUNSHINE)), but I will say that the ship design was incredible and that the few moments of true awe will make me re-watch it again and again on bluray (David standing in the star map, anyone?). Those moments added a real sense of discovery, which is something that’s been missing from science fiction films for a long time.

An aside: here’s a cool article that tries to explain some of the unanswered questions posed in PROMETHEUS.

Phew.

Wrote way more than I originally intended. See you in July!

—Sam

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