“We’re doing a sequel
That’s what we do in Hollywood
And everybody knows that the sequel’s never quite as good!”

So sings Kermit and friends in the latest instalment of the Muppets movie.

Why is it that movie sequels have such a bad rap and infuriate movie critics so?

There’s a sneering attitude of looking down upon a sequel as simply a Hollywood big-budget cash-in with little integrity and honesty. Originality is king in the world of the movie critic, so for these haughty pen-pushers returning to the scene of the crime is bad news.

Upon reports a movie is to receive the sequel treatment (or worse, a reboot), the web is alight with pre-emptive eulogies and howls of derision for the studio, actors and everyone who dares to be involved in the rape and pillage of a now-tainted concept.

Of course, the critics are so completely, totally and utterly wrong.

(And I should know, because I was one.)

We also know that because sequels draw even greater audiences to the theater than the original movie and generate millions upon millions more dollars in revenue.

I’m with the hoi polloi. I love a sequel. There’s nothing better I enjoy that picking up a story from where it left off to discover the hero or heroine did next.

I can’t wait to see which new and convoluted way John Connor is trying to stop Judgement Day.

I squeal with excitement when Jason comes back, again. And again. And again.

And, yes, I’m the one guy who liked Indiana Jones And The Crystal Skull.

And even better than sequels are franchises – the Holy Grail of Hollywood studios – James Bond, Star Wars, Marvel, ‘Arry Potter. The longer, the better.

What makes a sequel such a bankable proposition?

Sequels aren’t about new plot devices. Sequels are character-driven. Bringing back a character or cast of characters who have resonated with audiences and showing them in a new light.

It’s depth.

It’s all about deepening your relationship with a favorite character even further.

The original movie introduced your eponymous hero. You’ve flirted with them, enjoyed a brief peak into who they are and their life… and now you crave to discover more. A sequel allows you the privilege.

Sequels allow the development of relationships. They make for a finer rendering of our picture of the protagonist as they’re thrust into fresh conflicts and new situations. Sequels help peel off another layer and see a little deeper into their psyche and character and throw up surprises, challenging our previous understanding.

And because sequels can do all this without any need for time-consuming introduction and set-up, you’re launched straight into the thick of the action.

For all the critics’… er… criticism of the sequel, one sequel most universally agreed is the stronger of its trilogy is The Empire Strikes Back. As a follow-on to the first Star Wars movie, A New Hope, its beauty lies in revealing new sides to both heroes and villains (“Luke, I am your father”) or uncovering backstory which changes your perception of them.

Harnessing the storytelling power of the sequel makes your marketing stickier for your prospects. Your email marketing is a series of sequels with you as the central character, revealing more of yourself as your audience follows.

Use the techniques and narrative tricks Hollywood leans on. Bring suspense and intrigue into your email campaigns. Reveal elements of your own backstory which challenges your reader’s perceptions and keeps them on their toes (and more, importantly, engaged).

Your story forms a bridge between you and you reader and the longer they ‘watch’ the more they’re invested in you. They have to know what happens next and as long as you supply sequel after sequel, they’ll be there watching, popcorn in hand and rooting for you.


Discover more strategies, like the Hollywood Sequel technique, to engage your ideal customer at www.jodyraynsford.com

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