Sociology and social media ““ those are the two main ingredients upon which fourth-year sociology student Matt Mosher has drawn in order to publicize the 2010 film “Brother’s Justice.”
Mosher said he first saw “Brother’s Justice” last spring, when he was invited to a small, private screening of the film, which his cousin Nate Tuck produced.
According to Mosher, who also plays first base on the UCLA baseball team, he was very excited about the film and found himself at the screening thinking about ways to make the movie accessible to a wider audience.
“Brother’s Justice” is a star-studded mockumentary about comedian Dax Shepard (known from television shows such as “Punk’d” and “Parenthood”) and his burning desire to become the next Chuck Norris.
In his quest to become a martial arts star, he tries to pitch a movie starring himself as the lead to possible producers and investors including Jon Favreau, Bradley Cooper and Ashton Kutcher among others, who all think he has gone crazy.
In May, a little over a year after the initial screening, Mosher received a phone call from Tuck, who asked him to help promote the film using social media.
“At that point, I was just going to focus on baseball and school,” Mosher said. “But this was such a great opportunity, I had to take it.”
According to Tuck, 38, the film was not generating as much buzz as desired, despite having big companies such as Tribeca Film and the public relations company ID behind it. Being a low-budget film, advertising funds were limited.
“It’s a very small, very funny movie, but also very hard for people to find,” Tuck said. “That’s why we had the idea to bring someone on with a lot of energy, a lot of brain and ingenuity.”
Mosher said he immediately started using all his spare time studying social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook in order to learn more about how to reach people.
“On Twitter, I studied big personalities such as Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon and Chad Ochocinco. I looked for what people would respond to,” Mosher said. “It turned out that it was all about participation ““ figuring out how to get people to interact.”
According to Mosher, nowadays it is important to create an entire universe around a product, which he has tried to do online via quotes, songs and snippets from the film. He said he has also encouraged his friends on Facebook and Twitter to talk about the film if they liked it.
“I would literally go from friend to friend in order to spread the word about the film,” Mosher said. “You could say I went door to door electronically.”
According to Mosher, since he took over the “Brother’s Justice” Facebook page, views have gone up by more than 345 percent.
“Advertising via social media is the way of now. You have to have a presence there, but you also need somebody with passion to drive that presence,” Tuck said. “(Mosher) has that.”
Mosher said the basis of his philosophy about how to promote the film comes from non-fiction writer Malcolm Gladwell, the author of “The Tipping Point.” In the book, which Mosher has studied as part of his sociology curriculum, Gladwell discusses the potentially massive implications of small-scale social happenings.
“Gladwell is fascinating to me and his theories are applicable as far as I’m concerned,” Mosher said. “It’s crazy to witness how, as soon as something reaches that crucial tipping point, it could potentially turn into something really big.”
Thomas Ambrus, a third-year political science student and one of Mosher’s Facebook friends, said he learned about the film through Facebook and was intrigued enough to watch the trailer.
“Matt has a bunch of friends on Facebook, and I think it was a very smart idea to go through him to draw more attention to the movie. I think the video on YouTube has gotten well over 30,000 hits now, so it’s starting to grow,” Ambrus said.
Ambrus, Mosher’s former roommate, said he has not yet seen the film, which is currently On Demand through Time Warner Cable, but that he plans to watch it when it comes out on Netflix in July.
Mosher will be interning this summer for a movie called “Outrun,” which includes many of the same cast and crew members as “Brother’s Justice” such as Dax Shepard and Bradley Cooper. He says that he is still not sure about what career path he will end up taking, but that he loves being part of a creative environment, which he experienced while promoting “Brother’s Justice.”
“I would love to act, and I write too,” Mosher said. “Basically, whether I am creative or not, and whether I am funny or not, I just love to create.”