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June 23, 2008

How mobile movie stars are born

GLOBAL – Nokia’s involvement with movies isn’t just about promotional hook ups. Seeing the phone as the fourth screen (after Cinema, TV and PC) makes working with movies not just relevant, but essential.

Giles Pocock is Nokia’s man in the director’s chair with responsibility for
ensuring Nokia devices are in the right movies. We caught up with him recently to find out how it all works.

Giles’ job starts with the script, where he’ll work with a specialist agency to ensure the right devices are used in the right roles. Given that movies go into production well before they come out (typically up to 12 months in advance) Giles has to know what products will be out when the movie comes out. This probably makes him one of the most knowledgeable people in Nokia when it comes to up coming products. Using his relationships with product managers, Giles is one of the first to get a heads up on next gen kit.

Every now and then roles crop up for devices that don’t yet exist. That’s when Giles takes a trip to the R&D department to get his hands on an early prototype. Remember the N93i in Transformers? Well that was still in development when the movie went into production. Nokia might have been mistaken for a Japanese company when the phone appeared in the Movie (before being swiftly corrected in the same scene) but the N93i transforming into a Decepticon made this one of Nokia’s most memorable screen appearances.

Getting the right phone into the right roll takes time though. Reading the script to understand the roll, and the movie, and then working closely with the props manager ensures the right device is actually used. Giles also works with the crew to ensure they have the right kit available on set.

Not every movie is up for grabs though, after all, nobody wants to be involved in a straight-to-DVD failure. Giles works closely with his Hollywood contacts and agencies to ensure Nokia is involved with the
right films. This isn’t just about picking the obvious blockbusters. Risks are taken too, but only if the script, cast and director are right. Picking winners takes years of experience and good insider knowledge. More than anything, it has to be a natural fit and Giles “likes the device to supplement the story line, not be the story line”. It doesn’t always work that way though and sometimes over zealous props managers make more of it than they should.

For The Dark Knight, Nokia is an official movie partner and a worldwide deal has been put in place to make most of the partnership. This starts with the 6205 on Verizon, and a range of other activity
will be appearing as the movie is released around the globe. This August will see the launch of The Dark Knight on N-Gage whilst some Nokia devices have been used in the viral game leading up to the release next month.

We’ll have more from Giles over the next couple of days.