This is the amount of time it takes in a job interview for the interviewer to make their mind up on whether they’re going to employ you or not.
Think about it – twelve seconds. If your handshake is too limp, or your opening “wotcha” isn’t delivered with the requisite amount of panache, or you’ve chosen the wrong Mr Man on your tie, it’s all over. Everything else is window dressing, as the job owner struggles to crowbar whatever follows into justifying his initial gut feeling.
And it seems highly likely that distributors and sales agents operate on a similar timescale. Probably less, if anything – they’re not worried about the quality of the movie as much as they are in whether it’ll fly off a shelf in Asda.
So, it’s all about the first impressions. I see five days in a suit in the hot Cannes sunshine in my immediate future. *sigh*.
And this is where the key art is so important; possibly the most important thing. We need to show them something awesome and arresting that resembles a DVD cover. Quickly. We don’t get twelve seconds of glance time to work with in a busy supermarket as our prospective DVD purchaser scans the array of available titles looking for something mildly diverting for a gory Saturday night in.
Enter Amo – graphic designer extraordinaire. Using only a bunch of Rob’s stills from the set, can he sort us out a poster?
Er, yeah… we’re not sure quite what we’re after just yet… can you, you know, have a think and come up with some ideas? I mean, the Zombie Diaries covers were quite nice, and clearly worked well enough to shift a bunch of copies of the film. You know… so like that. But not exactly like that. Please.
Ah – how creative professionals love tight briefs. I think that’s why most of them see themselves as super-heroes.
Well, whatever we said seems to have paid off. Yesterday, Amo-the-pictures delivered the final spin of the key art to us, and Jake and I have been dancing circles around the office ever since. Add a couple of juicy quotes from some of the more visceral fan-site reactions to the original trailer and we’re in business (I mean, any DVD that has “a truly sick zombie flick” on the cover has already won me over), and we are in business.
I mean, how good does that look? Direct from the deliciously dark sickness at the heart of the brooding psyche of sweet Amo-the-pictures; you’ve done a man’s work, sir.
Now if there was only a Mr Dead to screen-print onto some ties we’d be home and dry; sort it out, Hargreaves. Arrested.