Some filmmakers are content to submit their work to film festivals and wait…and wait…and wait. But unless you have an in with a programmer, hit that screener just the right way after they’ve watched over 100+ films or have a major marketing push from a studio, the chances of getting accepted to a festival are slim. Yes, quality still counts in the festival market, but we also know that there’s no accounting for taste when we see some of the selections festivals accept. More to the point, the length of time between submission and screen can be months if not up to a year. And let’s not even talk about the cost to submit a film. While I have included festivals in the Justice Is Mind: Evidence marketing mix, anyone even remotely connected to this project or have worked with me in the past on other ventures, knows full well that I don’t sit around and wait for the world to come to me—you have to push your project to the world.
On Thursday, February 2 at 8 PM EST, I am delighted to announce that Justice Is Mind: Evidence will have its world online premiere on Constellation.TV What’s unique about this method of screening films is not so much the online component (I love my Hulu!), but the social media aspect. When you sign up to watch Evidence you can save $1 off the $2.99 fee just by sharing Constellation.TV on Facebook while you invite your online friends to join you. And during the screening (and after) the director (in this case me) hosts via webcam to interact with audiences through chat. This is a great platform for filmmakers to connect with their audience. We all talk about films with our friends and family when we leave a theatre. Constellation.TV just brings this online and goes one better by adding the filmmakers into the mix.
I’ll never forget when I was starting to read about this new online “thing” called Hulu and then saw its capabilities and what this platform would obviously do for TV and film. My race to find a distributor that worked with them brought me to IndieFlix who was able to get my first film, First World, on to that platform from 2009-2011. And let me tell you, seeing commercials run during your movie feels great…trust me…ka-ching.
I learned about Constellation.TV through a December article in the Wall Street Journal and immediately made the pitch. When they accepted to screen Evidence I couldn’t have been more elated. The efforts of over 20 people are going to be seen…again. And isn’t this what filmmaking is all about—getting your work seen by the widest audience possible?
Being a filmmaker is not easy and it is certainly not for the faint at heart. If you bruise easy emotionally, are scared of your own shadow, hate hearing the word “no” or want a quick return on your investment, this is not the industry for you. But if you enjoy creating, seeing a written word turn into a visual presentation, working with teams of highly creative people and can be patient on the financial front (which can yield great returns), the process of making a film can be the most rewarding experience you’ll ever have.
But the reward of a finished film for cast, crew and audiences does not magically happen. Yes, this is where I plug our IndieGoGo campaign. As of this writing, we have had 3,289 views and 992 referrals. And while according to IndieGoGo our “GoGo” factor is up, we now need to turn these views and referrals into funders. Not sure yet about the quality of the motion picture we can deliver for $30,000? Check out Justice Is Mind: Evidence on Constellation.TV on February 2 at 8 PM EST. You’ll be glad you did.
To quote Jessie Landis in North by Northwest, “Roger, pay the $2.”
There is something imminently satisfying about seeing a motion picture you were involved in come to life on the big screen. While I watched Justice Is Mind: Evidence unfurl on January 20 at the Strand Theatre in Clinton, MA to a house of over 150, I was reflecting on the journey to reach this point.
Proud and honored doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about being associated with such a talented group of actors and crew. To bring a film to the big screen requires an unwavering amount of teamwork and commitment from those that are passionate about the craft of filmmaking. As a writer, watching actors breath life into your characters is truly something to be seen. The subtle nuances they bring from character inflection to living in a moment that will pass as soon as they hear the word “cut”, is a testament to the skill of an actor.
But just as important as the actors on screen, it is the team behind the lens that truly brings a production to its maximum potential. From the photographer that “pictures” the film, to the assistant director keeping the production on track, to the gaffers that light, to the make-up artist that brings out the best, to scoring the film for mood, to the mix and balance of sound to the creation of the special effects all of this tied to the folks that really make the magic…the editors—for it is a film editor who stitches the fabrics of these efforts together into a seamless tapestry of work.
As we prepare to announce the details of our world online premiere on Feburary 2 and to secure additional theatrical presentations of Justice Is Mind: Evidence, our work begins in earnest as we raise the necessary capital to produce the feature this summer. If you haven’t done so yet, take a visit over to our campaign on IndieGoGo to see some of our offerings. And for a real taste of the excitement that follows a world premiere, take a visit over to our Facebook page for an additional 75 photos for your review.
Two months of pre-production, four days of production and three months in post-production, the world premiere of Justice Is Mind: Evidence will take place at the historic Strand Theatre in Clinton, Massachusetts on January 20. For those of you that are interested in attending, please visit our press release at this link for more information.
For me, it feels like I’m going home. In addition to my mother working in Clinton for several years, I also produced a commercial at the Strand Theatre for Scene magazine back in 2005. If you visit this link you’ll see the exterior of the Strand towards the end. Adam Starr, who did the visual effects for Evidence, produced that commercial with me and created the effects. During our production, my family and friends participated as attendees to the premiere of The Marginal Way all with a digitized marquee and spotlights. Another interesting factoid from that production – we never actually walked into the theatre. The entire production was shot outside.
But on January 20 I will be proudly walking inside with the outstanding cast and crew that made it all possible. Our premiere at the Strand could not be more ideal. Not only will Evidence be shown to audiences right after the feature J. Edgar, but there is a certain irony in our short following this particular film. In Justice Is Mind government agencies are directly involved in the new FVMRI brain scans when it comes to forcibly mind reading terrorists. To quote the character of John Darrow in Justice Is Mind, Henri Miller’s defense attorney brilliantly played by Alexander Cook in Evidence, “Have any of these FVMRI machines been shipped by Reincar Scientific to any domestic and international intelligence agencies?” As for the response by the individual he’s questioning during the trial? You’ll have to wait until Justice Is Mind is produced.
I am also pleased to report that our crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo is gaining traction and a following. We all know that Rome wasn’t built in a day, but with 1,215 views and 249 referrals, our traffic is building and funders are starting to contribute. We’ve all read one story after another about how easy it is to communicate in the world of social media, but that brings new challenges – standing out from the rest and making, what I call “social noise.” To those of you that have Liked our page so it shows up on Facebook, retweeted my Tweets and taken the time to discuss this project online, I could not be more grateful. Not to repeat myself, but if it’s good enough for PBS, it’s good enough for me.
“We still need your support. So please, visit Justice Is Mind’s crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo and contribute what you can. By supporting independent film production, not only will you be supporting the arts but you’ll have a direct hand in creating the programming you want to see.”
Hmm…maybe it’s time to start making some pledge videos?
It gives me great pleasure to announce the crowdfunding campaign for Justice Is Mind!
When I first started to hear about this thing called crowdfunding I initially was pretty skeptical. Who would just donate money to a project without some sort of financial return? But it didn’t take long to dawn on me that my prior work in magazine publishing was pretty much the same thing. Customers buy magazines just like they buy films. What’s circulation to one industry is crowdfunding to another. But in the case of crowdfunding, a customer now has the wonderful opportunity to participate in the process of bringing a new product to market.
Being an independent filmmaker is no different than being a stand alone magazine publisher. Absent studio/venture backing, you turn to your audience. When I was publishing International Figure Skating magazine years ago, it still surprised people to learn that the majority of our revenue was from circulation not advertising. In plain numbers, International Figure Skating magazine grossed $1.2 million a year with better than $900,000 being circulation revenue. The key, I discovered, was having a quality product to sell at an attractive price.
As you will see on our IndieGoGo campaign, there is something for everyone with perks ranging from $10 to $2,000. Personally, I think the real value is in the $30 perk and $1,000 and $2,000 levels. For $30 not only do you get a FREE copy of the short film Evidence and the feature Justice Is Mind, you are also publicly thanked on our web site and Facebook page and you receive a subscription to our email newsletter to keep up with the production. I’d say that’s worth $30. But it’s at the higher levels in which you receive producer related credits and the opportunity to be on-camera in some of the scenes. In fact, those that opt for the $2,000 perk have the opportunity to be a member of the jury! Having been involved in the entertainment industry for years, and spent well more than that along the way, not only will you see the process of filmmaking first hand but you don’t have to audition.
Yes, even in feature films extras and featured extras have to go through some sort of audition process. I remember when I was living in Los Angeles and they were casting for extras in Star Trek. You all know how much I love science fiction and, in particular, Trek. Dear lord when I arrived at the audition location and saw literally three hundred plus people in line I couldn’t believe it. Needless to say I didn’t wait. But I would have paid for the opportunity if I could have. While Justice Is Mind isn’t Star Trek, it does have distribution in place and gives anyone the opportunity to learn from an experienced cast and crew. And in the end, it’s a great time.
I think this is where I need to sound like a PBS commercial.
“We need your support. So please, visit Justice Is Mind’s crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo. Your support today brings production for tomorrow.”
P.S. In addition to our crowdfunding campaign, we are also pursuing direct investment. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.