AMORY – Brothers Shawn and Jason Brannon signed their company, Deadbolt Mystery Society’s, first Hollywood deal in December, which materialized through the release of the Amazon Prime thriller series, “Tell Me Your Secrets” last month.
They were asked if they’d be interested in developing a promotional mystery box to send to influencers, actors and others to market the television series. The boxes are filled with clues and brainteasers to solve a mystery.
“We had no idea we were on their radar. Of course, it’s gotten us in front of more people. When we get to share this stuff with our current customer base, it gives them more confidence that a company like that reached out to us about a project. I think the results are behind the scenes. We could have gotten in front of somebody and six months down the road, they remember us and think about us for a project,” Shawn said.
The series was originally made for TNT but sold to Amazon Prime after the network passed on it.
Deadbolt Mystery Society fit the bill for what the show’s executives were looking for to help market it.
“The show has a suspense-type thriller vibe to it, which matches what we are doing so they thought it would be a good fit. They needed someone with subscription box production experience and how to put one together. That was the component they didn’t know much about,” Jason said.
Deadbolt Mystery Society has been approached by movie studios in the past, but some of the discussions have been impacted by COVID-19 playing havoc on the film industry.
“I feel like this is a resume-builder for us because when we get into these conversations in the future and they’re wanting to know what all we’ve done, we can say we did a project for Amazon. It helps our credibility when we’re talking to these really big companies,” Jason said.
The show’s stars were among those who received boxes.
“Probably the biggest celebrity was Amy Brenneman, who was on ‘Judging Amy.’ She’s very recognizable,” Jason said. “We got some other influencers to tag us in Instagram posts because they wanted to let people know we were behind the content they received. Anytime someone like that does that, we’re in front of their followers, as well as our own.”
On the flip side of the pandemic, Jason said Deadbolt has been in fact-finding discussions with several companies.
“I think the longer that this part of the world is in the state it’s in, the more we’ll be in contact with these companies looking for different ways to get their brand and product in front of customers,” he said.
Explaining the process
Executives with the series wanted a story-based narrative, so the Brannons were sent links in December to watch the full season to develop ideas.
“We had to sign a non-disclosure agreement where we wouldn’t talk about it with people that we were working on the project. It was secretive,” Jason said.
Shawn added for a time they couldn’t even discuss it with their own employees.
“Us getting the gig, we provided them a proposal of how we thought things should work so we went back and forth with them, and it seemed like we were having two or three calls a week with them at least. We did bring on two of our other staff members to help with this. There ended up being four of us on this project.
“We’d have a call with them, and they’d have to go back to get approval from executive producers before we could make the next steps. They would either sign off on something or we’d have to change something and get approval again,” Shawn said.
Jason said it was difficult to write a storyline about an existing story.
“The people approving it had basically written show. We had to match the vision or idea we had to what they had already done and make those two things agree and have them sign off on it,” he said.
The process of developing the mystery box, which took between six to eight weeks, coincided with Deadbolt’s Christmas season, which was already a hectic time because of fulfilling orders.
“The show went live on Prime on Feb. 19, so that was a hard deadline. We had to have all of our stuff finalized and to the supplier who was going to print these things and put them together,” Shawn said.
Jason said they were determined to meet the obligation and work with Amazon Prime.
“That’s something every small company wants the opportunity to do so we were determined we were going to make it work. It got a lot more stressful when it really came down to the wire,” he said.