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Keeping production secrets in the Information Age

Discussion in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' started by Pobody's Nerfect, Jul 12, 2015.

  1. Pobody's Nerfect

    Pobody's Nerfect Jedi General

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    Suppose it's 1979. You loved the original Star Wars movie two years back and wanted to know everything about the upcoming sequel, The Empire Strikes Back.

    What would you do?

    You could fly a drone over the set to get some photos, except there weren't any drones back in 1978. Come to think of it, you wouldn't even know where the set was. There wasn't any Internet back then. If you wanted to know where Empire was being filmed, you'd probably have to have an inside source. Or maybe you could call Lucasfilm pretending you're catering lunch and need directions.

    But let's make this easy and assume you've found the set. Maybe you could just snap a few pictures with your cell phone. Wait, there weren't cell phones back then. Today people would look at you weird if you didn't have a phone on you, but if you were carrying a camera in 1978 the obvious conclusion would be you were there to take pictures. In short, carrying a cell phone with a camera doesn't raise suspicions like it did in 1979. A caterer with a cell phone camera might be asked to hand over his phone while on the set today. A caterer with a camera on set in 1979 would not be allowed anywhere near the set.

    Getting your own set photos seems hard, so let's assume a friend shares some with you. Remember there weren't Star Wars fan web sites back then. There wasn't IRL firends vs. online friends. A few people had pen pals in 1979, but most of us never had a friend we hadn't physically met. A person's friends were defined primarily by their shared location, not their shared interests. So if you've got a @Viral Hide type person in your neighborhood, chances are your neighborhood includes a movie set. And since the few leaks could only be spread among real life friends, how could you collaborate or debunk any spoilers you had? Sure, there's always @Kyle or some other person with an inside source, but what are the chances that you could find multiple sources of spoiler leaks without the Internet?

    Actually, I think I can answer that. How much would you know about The Force Awakens if you didn't have Internet today?

    What I want to say is this - Kennedy and Abrams have kept this amazingly quiet in a day and age when secrets are much, much harder to keep. I don't know how they've done it, but it's impressive.

    Most impressive.
     
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  2. Luuke22

    Luuke22 1030th Lieutenant (Jr Mod)

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    NDA's; NDA's for everyone. All the actors, all the crew, anyone who visited the set, every pizza guy who may have delivered, anyone living withing a 10 square-mile radius of filming had to sign NDA's. It's not the only trick they have up their sleeve, but it's certainly one of the most effective. It's why I take every "leak" with a heaping spoonful of salt unless it came straight from the Mouse's mouth.

    I'll second this though; most major tentpole films have NDA's for everyone involved and still the whole film ends up spoiled. The cast and crew for TFA must really love what their doing and realize how special this movie is to have kept such a tight lid on everything so far.
     
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  3. Wayne

    Wayne Rebel Official

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    Great post! I was thinking about this recently and back in the day we were entirely dependant on tabloid exposés and TV/radio news reports.

    Somehow, that was plenty though.

    The reason I was thinking this was because I recently found a scrapbook in a box stored at my parents filled with magazine and newspaper clippings collected in the run-up to the release of Empire Strikes Back. It was a treasured possession pre-EpV-release. Still is, I guess.... :)
     
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  4. It's a Trap

    It's a Trap Rebel Official

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    I was watching some TPM featurettes and was blown away by the sheer number of people working on that film. The extras working as Theed palace guards had checklists that they had to stamp everytime that they took and returned any costume or prop, and not just "costume" or "prop" in general but literally belts and socks and boots and gloves. Every individual piece of every single costume was handcrafted and designed by hundreds of people. So take that and multiply it by every single department over the course of a year of preproduction, 4 or 5 months of principle shooting' and another year of postproduction, and it's a miracle that these things don't get spoiled from day 1! These people have families that they talk to, and those people talk to other people, and food is catered to the set and helicopters and flown and hundreds of people construct ships and environments and yet somehow we still barely know anything about this movie. It is simply amazing to me, and I think it all stems from the tremendous amount of reverence and respect everyone has for this movie. An NDA is a piece of paper... Someone could go out, get drunk, forget they signed it and forget about the consequences and spill the beans, but they don't. Amazing people are working on this movie, and I feel that although we know SOME things about the movie, it's just becaus those are the things they want us to know.
     
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  5. JayBiggS

    JayBiggS Rebel Official

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    I would say they've done a good job but we know so much of the plot(in my opinion).

    They've done well to make sure they aren't revealing anything we didn't already know at least(aside from some character/planet/location names). They are kind of forced to use that tactic though.

    I do wish I was unspoiled but it was inevitable. :p Hopefully they iron out the security kinks for the next films and we know even less about them leading up to their releases.
     
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  6. Luuke22

    Luuke22 1030th Lieutenant (Jr Mod)

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    I think that's one of the biggest differences between this and the prequels: whereas by this time with the prequels there was information being thrown at us left and right about the films, everyone on TFA is keeping as much as close to the chest as possible. We keep expecting it to be marketed like the prequels were (lots of official spoilers, trailers that give away the plot, the crawl being handed to us ahead of time), but I expect the secrecy will be maintained up until the December release. Even "Force Friday" will only likely give us toys and merchandise with things we've already seen, and any new stories will only reveal things that happened between RotJ and TFA instead of anything about the movie itself. I think we're all in for one special movie and everyone in the cast, crew, and marketing teams knows it :).
     
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  7. Cyber Dyne 1000

    Cyber Dyne 1000 Rebel Official

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    the marketing people of TFA = smart
    the "by the numbers" marketing people of spoiler trailers = not smart
     
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