Loose lips might sink ships. This forbidding adage was used during World War II to remind service members, family, and even regular citizens that a word spoken in the wrong place at the wrong time could potentially provide the enemy with the information to bring down a battleship. Though the consequences aren’t quite as dire, the same idea can and should be applied when dealing with any film project.
One of the reasons the audience goes to see a movie is the joy of watching the story unfold, being surprised at the plot twists and character developments. It seems much of that is being given away nowadays in the trailers, but there are also leaks from actors and crew members. Especially during interviews and social media posts. You have to go out of your way to keep secrets a secret. In the digital age of today, it is almost impossible to keep things under wraps, because we are always in search of information, but there are ways to do so. And these are extremely important to keep the element of surprise for your film.
Keep the idea forefront and center in your mind that you must say as little as possible. This is the first and best way to keep a secret from slipping out. Everyone will ask you questions. Your best friend, your family, fellow actors, the media. Only give them enough to intrigue them. Pique their curiosity and answer their pleas for more details with a wry smile and a simple declaration that they’ll have to watch to find out.
Post nothing on social media that hasn’t been approved by someone over you. That innocent SnapChat you took on set might reveal an essential prop in the background you weren’t even aware of. The Tweet you sent out with that cool line of dialogue could point at the death of a character for the discerning reader. Post. Nothing. That. Is. Not. Approved. Social media is where secrets go to die. Don’t be the one that helps shove the knife into the heart of your project.
Answer questions like a politician. Yes, this may sound a little shady, but those politicians sure do know how to not answer a question they don’t wont to answer. Just listen to any interviews or watch any of the recent debates. When asked about their stance on foreign policy, any candidate will give such a roundabout response and throw so many buzz words into their convoluted answer that the original question will be lost in a mire of deception and smiles. This is what you must do. Be a politician and don’t answer those questions. Give them the answer you want to give, not the answer they want.
Always keep these ideas in your mind as you answer questions about your project. Yes, you want to create buzz and interest. You want to drive the disinterested into a raving fan, but you can’t do it at the expense of the story. More than anything, more than great camera work, amazing acting, or stellar graphics, the story is what makes people interested in the project. Let them come to the viewing as unsullied as possible. No spoilers, please.