Mark Cuban does 'The Apprentice', low-cost version

NBC’s “The Apprentice

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NBC’s “The Apprentice” is billed as “the reality show series in which candidates compete to get hired by famously tough executives Martha Stewart and Donald Trump.”

Mark Cuban, at his “blog maverick,” is trying the low-cost, direct route to find new “talent.”

In his post yesterday, “The Movie Business Challenge,” Cuban puts forth an open “job” call:

This is an open challenge. You come up with a solution, you get a job. Seriously.

This is the problem that consumes me more than what Free Agent we are going to sign. How to get the NBA to get their act together. Which 7-11 Im going to run by to get a sandwich. Its that important.

Only HDNet takes more time out my day than trying to solve this problem. Its the holy grail of the movie business. How do you get people out of the house to see your movie without spending a fortune. How can you convince 5 million people to give up their weekend and go to a theater to see a specific movie without spending 60mm dollars.

So far, Cuban has received 77 publicly posted “solutions” to his HDNet marketing dilemma.

In his open solicitation for marketing ideas, Cuban says he is “for real”:

So if you want a job, and have a great idea on how to market movies in a completely different way. If your idea works for any and all kinds of movies. If it changes the dynamics and the economics of promoting movies, email it or post it. If its new and unique, i want to hear about it. If its a different way of doing the same thing you have seen before, it probably wont get you a job, but feel free to try.

So go for it. Come up with a great idea that i want to use and I will come up with a job for you to make that idea happen.

for real.

While Cuban may or may not hire one of the dozens of posters putting forth their movie marketing prowess, he has succeeded in gaining free business development advice.

Among the publicly posted recommendations for marketing HDNet Cuban received at no-cost:

Posted Jul 23, 2006, 10:43 PM ET by Mitchell
OK, how about movie credit points of some range to qualify for a free season pass or single tickets to the Mavs games or other sporting events or valuable discounts to local businesses in the neighborhood? Also, allowing local business to lease a section of the lobby area to sell their products with huge discounts to the movie watchers?

Posted Jul 23, 2006, 10:48 PM ET by Thomas Parker
Give people a 20% off voucher for buying the movie's DVD when it comes out if they go see it at the theater. And, use some of my music in one of your movies...

Posted Jul 24, 2006, 12:33 AM ET by John Smith
Growing up in Pittsburgh, my fondest movie memories occurred at drive in movie theaters. Of course, with land values so high nowadays, drive in theaters have vanished. I can't help but notice huge parking lots at darkened stores everywhere--all that empty space when Walmart, Target, Tom Thumb are closed. If the locations are near nightclubs or heavily trafficked night spots, they are charging 5 bucks for folks to park there. Why not create a Drive In movie night at some of these huge parking lots? Portable screens, close circuit radio broadcasts for audio, have a sponsorship area for food, beverages, and booze. You can affiliate with a large nationwide sponsor..Target Presents...Independent Film Drive In Movie Night at select Target stores across the country..

Posted Jul 24, 2006, 2:49 AM ET by Jackie
1 - Make the whole movie experience more enjoyable. Noisy people ruin movies because you miss things that are said, right? Eliminate that by putting tiny speakers in the back of each seat. The sound will be directed at the person and they won't miss what is said just because the rude jackass next to them is talking on their cell phone.
2 - Make adult only, say 25 an over, theaters that show movies aimed at the same demographic. Make the seats a little more plush, further apart so you don't have to bump elbows, maybe a tiny table between each instead of those stupid cup holders that you hit with your knee nearly flipping your drink out on your neighbor. Make reclining seats with a headrest and an actual foot rest on the back of the seat ahead of you. Even at 35, I still have to fight the urge to put my feet on the seat infront of me. Instead of putting an age limit on the theater, you could just put an age limit on times/nights. Another idea is to create a lounge-type area with extra comfortable seating, it's own surround sound and a waiter/waitress and sell the tickets for those seats at a higher price. Make it a sunken area that can be surrounded by a partition to separate it from the general audience.
3 - Make something worth watching. Rarely do I see a movie I would watch more than once.
4 - Buying advanced tickets online at a discount is a great idea. Selling a complete package such as tickets and concessions together or maybe a family package is another idea.

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