Watch: First Look at Zac Efron’s ‘We Are Your Friends’

Zac Efron Jersey Boys
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Series of video updates could pay off at the box office and provide filmmakers with an example of how to speak to younger moviegoers

“Catfish” co-host Max Joseph is looking for more friends to support his directorial debut starring Zac Efron.

The director has launched the first in what will be a series of videos that provide a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film, lensing now in and around Los Angeles.

In a charmingly self-deprecating manner, Joseph invites viewers to follow the production process. And if it pays off at the box office, the strategy could provide an innovative way for filmmakers to take a little more control in the way they market their own movies.

Joseph, who also co-wrote the film, has launched a YouTube page on which he will “be posting weekly updates from the set, rare peeks into the filmmaking process and some intimate moments with our cast and crew,” he said.

The first post introduces Joseph and provides a quick glimpse at the production.

The video posts are a smart move for a smaller-budgeted film that boasts a big star but little awareness — especially if it casually invites a young audience to observe the process of making the movie. Getting audiences interested early could prove especially beneficial at the box office when it’s released in 2015.

In the age of social media and content-hungry blogs, the videos are designed to be easily shareable, guaranteeing “We Are Your Friends” considerable exposure.

Yet the tone in which Joseph speaks to his potential audience will be key in getting them viewed and widely distributed. Simply giving them soundbites or throwing traditional marketing materials at them won’t work; making them feel invested in the project will be crucial.

If Joseph’s strategy works, it could easily be borrowed by other filmmakers, especially those with projects that don’t boast the mega-marketing budgets of summer tentpoles.

Efron already is throwing his support behind Joseph’s effort, enthusiastically posting the video on his Twitter and Instagram feeds, for example.

The film, in which Efron plays a young DJ hoping to launch his first hit track, also stars Jonny Weston, Shiloh Fernandez and Emily Ratajkowski.

Joseph, who co-wrote “We Are Your Friends” with Meaghan Oppenheimer, is familiar with the electronic dance music space, having directed the documentary “DFA Records: Too Old to Be New, Too New to Be Classic,” the music label for LCD Soundsystem, Holy Ghost! and Hot Chip.

Working Title is producing the film that Studio Canal is financing. A 2015 release is planned.

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