Filmmaking is a process that involves many fingerprints, arms and bodies. Whilst the theory of the auteur certainly holds some weight, the visions of the likes of Martin Scorsese, David Fincher and Quentin Tarantino ultimately depend on a team of hundreds of others. Whilst a film is developed in the pre-production phase and physically put together during filming, it is in the phase of post-production where the ingredients are assembled into a cohesive whole. While this certainly includes the technicalities of the edit and colour correction, it also involves the intricate art of marketing, which, when mishandled, can ruin the film altogether.
Take, for example, the 2007 independent horror marvel Paranormal Activity that reignited the found-footage sub-genre (for better or for worse) largely through an ingenious marketing ploy. Such involved the film’s director Oren Peli to encourage visitors to his website to “demand” where the low-budget film be shown next, catapulting a film that was only made for $15,000 to international acclaim and to the tune of $193million in returns.
Whilst David Fincher’s 2010 classic The Social Network may not have needed such special treatment considering the film’s already high-profile build-up, it was still treated to one of the finest trailers of all time, making the rounds online at the early peak of social media. Featuring the likes of Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake and detailing the life of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, the trailer caused a viral internet storm, perfectly toeing the line between an artistic preview and an informative one.
Punctuated by a choral rendition of ‘Creep’ by Radiohead, the song quite perfectly highlights the central themes of The Social Network, and indeed of the problems suffusing into contemporary culture thanks to Facebook. Quietly tip-toeing into the forefront, the song is joined by the strangely eerie images of social media accounts, whilst the trailer ponders: “I want to have control, I want a perfect body, I want a perfect soul”.
Rousing and perfectly edited, the film appropriately covers where the story may lead without giving away its conclusion. Instead, thanks to the background track, the film is imbued with an invigorating sense of importance and grandeur, well reflecting the frenetic pace at which the website itself ascended to magnificent importance.
The invention of social media is one of the most culturally significant moments in all of modern history, changing the way we communicate, interact with our own subconscious and express our own thoughts and feelings. Sacrificing friends, family and close relationships for the sheer pursuit of narcissistic economic gain, the rise of Mark Zuckerberg, both in reality and in David Fincher’s film, is one of the greatest or the most tragic illustrations of the American dream. It depends on how you perceive the concept.
How good is The Social Network, Quentin Tarantino said it was the “best film of the decade”.