Name: Louise Crawshaw
Role: Regional Marketing Executive
Location: United Kingdom
Notable Achievements: Worked for Warner Bros, ODEON,…
About Louise Crawshaw
Louise Crawshaw began her career in film at her local ODEON cinema before serving as a Regional Marketing Executive at Warner Bros. Pictures. She’s now started up her own business specialising in Business Development for both highly renowned as well as up and coming brands. Louise shares today, how she cut her uni degree short in order to continue working in film, what her role at Warner Bros. consisted of and talks about the future of her freelancing projects!
Can you tell us more about your journey and how you started working in the industry?
My love and passion for film was heavily influenced by my Dad who always had a film poster on the wall. Ever since my first experience walking through the cinema doors, smelling the popcorn, hearing the cinematic music in the foyer and seeing all the posters of exciting stories I could be part of, I knew this is where I wanted to be.
Through my youth I was mostly involved in performing arts but quickly became invested in the production element including stage lighting and running my own stage show with a couple of friends at college. After falling in love with the fancy gadgets that brought a story to life I started a degree in Media Production, which brought me to the doors of my local Odeon, I wanted to become a projectionist and work with the posters – little did I know I would be there much longer than a week’s work experience. I loved engaging with customers and creating communications that encouraged more people to be part of a magical experience.
Through my work at Odeon, I was in contact with the regional representatives for Universal Pictures and 20th Century Fox, which is where the opportunity opened to apply for the Midlands representative role at Fox, it was a maternity cover role which fitted perfectly with my studies – I postponed a year to take on this role and I never returned. Towards the end of my contract with 20th Century Fox, Searchlight recruitment got in touch to ask if I would be interested in applying for a Regional Representative role for Warner Bros Pictures, which was a new team they were building to compete with Universal Pictures, Disney and 20th Century Fox’s regional teams. This was a very exciting opportunity to take everything I had learnt from Fox to Warner Bros and begin a new role from scratch.
I actually left Warner Bros after two years, where I had two daughters and returned after three years out of the industry, I did dip my toe in other industries, but the truth is there is nothing comparable to the cinema industry and the people in it.
Can you give us a little bit of insight about your role as Regional Marketing Executive at Warner Bros?
My role was an extension of the head office theatrical marketing team, we coordinated, managed and nurtured regional cinema relationships. We ensured cinemas were equipped with official resources such as POS, digital assets and brand guidelines all to encourage promotion of Warner Bros films over our competitors.
Originally, we were brought in to complement the service delivery and display of POS, but over time we expanded the role and started to source local marketing opportunities to extend any planned marketing activities made by the national team.
When presenting the theatrical slate to exhibitors, how did you sell the films to them? What did that process consist of?!
I’d say this varies cinema to cinema. As part of my role, we spent a lot of time regularly meeting with individual teams, where we would get to know and understand the driving force behind their decisions when it came to the films they focused to promote internally at a local level.
I would like to say my selling techniques are a blend of science and art. The science behind box office numbers, comparing previous films success to upcoming films and what we anticipate, but also the art of story-telling and placing the cinema as the hero in that story and the benefits their business would gain by promoting our movies. Their success is our success and visa versa.
Did you work only with big cinema brands or did you also work with independent cinemas?
We focused on every cinema brand, including the indies. Our contact would vary between each cinema depending on the film released at that time or by the national theatrical promotions taking place. Our team also regularly attended the UKCA regional meetings managed by Phil Clapp and his team. These meetings were highly valuable for our team, we were able to meet with independent exhibitor’s that we would not have been able to network with otherwise.
What are the benefits for Warner Bros. when it comes to working with independent cinemas?
Independent cinemas allowed Warner Bros the ability to offer our films to audiences that may not have been able travel to a multiplex in a large city centre or pay for higher costs attached to visiting a multi-plex. They also allowed us to reach audiences that benefited our event-based releases or even films that would benefit regionally.
Did you get involved in organising events or even premieres?!
I have certainly been down a few red carpets laid out across Leicester Square as a guest, however my role included the involvement of regional events, cinema openings or events attached to a brand partnership.
Promotion can also make or break a film, the anticipation starts with the hype before the film is even released! How does a Regional Marketing Executive role sit in the bigger picture of the film industry?
Good question! A regional marketing team adds the icing to the cake on any theatrical campaign. A theatrical campaign is a two-way effort between the distributor and an exhibitor. Where my role came in was elevate the distributors support by offering cinema’s resources that would illuminate our films at a local level and dominate competitor’s films in the foyer and locally. We also provided valuable insights from regular auditing processes that would support the improvement of Warner Bros’ future theatrical strategies.
What’s a typical week like, for a Regional Marketing Executive?
Monday to Thursday I would spend travelling between UK cinemas, usually 3 cinemas a day where we would discuss upcoming films, local marketing opportunities and any other business concerns. If possible, I would meet with 3-4 regional partners a week such as Heart FM, a Shopping Centre or local press contacts etc. As I was field based, I would stay in hotels for 1-2 nights a week, I really enjoyed time away from home to knuckle down and focus on projects. Friday would be spent catching up on reports and admin duties.
How has the pandemic affected you and your job?
Unfortunately, cinemas are not allowing contractors on site unless for emergency reasons, which has terminated the regional executive role.
I remain upbeat and positive; this time has allowed space for self-development and a way to advance my marketing skill set. I have taken up several freelance projects and started to work on setting up a business.
Looks like you found resources and strengths to overcome the job situation! Can you tell us more about your upcoming projects?!
I have several projects on the go, I’m doing freelance business development for a 3PL Film specialist firm, also marketing consultancy for a well-established comic con business, and marketing consultancy for an online product launch.
However, the most exciting part is the creation of a business I am working on with an industry colleague. We hope to offer a unique service that bridges the gap between distributors and regional exhibitors. Essentially a business that replaces and modernises the role I was doing for Warner Bros – watch this space!
Do you have any advice from someone who is looking at joining the industry? What skills are essential to have?
Do not be afraid to start at the bottom if you graft and network with an upbeat and can-do attitude you will flourish. This industry is infectious, I’d like to think we are like one big family, we look out for each other and the industry is very good at nurturing and progressing talent. As for skills, I believe this is something you must stay on top of and continually develop, we are in a forward thinking creative industry in the midst of a digital era, data – if not already – is going to continue playing a large element in the way we market and advertise films.