Raising an Army
With a successful world premiere now behind us, we begin to execute plans that have long been on the drawing board. But like a military campaign there are always adjustments. Whether these be for time, commitment, resources or opportunity, marketing and releasing a film is all about, in my view, calculation. Short of it, where are we likely to have the most success and impact on an audience and revenue front.
First and foremost you need your supporters. With over two hundred people involved in Justice Is Mind, there is a dedicated team that wants to see the film succeed. Moving on that front, we look to theatres to engage audiences to spread the word. With four theatres screening Justice over the next few months (and more on the horizon), the purpose is clear – develop support and awareness of the film. As the majority of our group is based in the Northeast screenings in Massachusetts, New York, Vermont and Maine have been secured. While the theatrical “engagement” is moving forward, our screenings at science fiction conventions and law schools in North America will commence in October.
And like a military campaign, there are those “confidential” conversations that go on behind closed doors. When do we do this? What do we need? How much will that cost? I had a conference call this week with a company that is widely popular (for now) in a particular area of the industry. While there may be a “cool” factor working with them I will admit going it alone in this area may make more sense. Why? Because we are making it work on our own without any “red tape”. Suffice to say, I have some documents and licensing agreements to read.
One area I have been widely supportive of since the technology came together is VOD (Video on Demand) and streaming media in general. Put simply, these platforms work great for independent filmmakers. First “day and date release” strategies are almost de rigueur with independent films nowadays. That being said, it won’t be too long before I can announce that Justice Is Mind is heading to a particular digital platform(s). Consider the logic in the strategy. Someone goes to a screening of Justice Is Mind in a theatre, convention or law school. They like the film and tell their friends, co-workers and family. Some of them do a search and see that the film is available on Amazon, Vudu, Xbox, etc. A few clicks and presto instant audience. Why am I so supportive of this technology? Because filmmakers make money. I still receive a monthly deposit from Amazon for First World. And then there were the remittances from Hulu when that film ran on their platform for a couple of years.
With our next screening on September 16 at The Strand Theatre in Clinton, MA followed by September 28 at The Leavitt Theatre in Ogunquit, ME, this will be a particularly busy month. I will say bringing an oversized Justice Is Mind poster to The Strand Theatre was exciting. Let’s be honest, what filmmaker doesn’t want to see their film poster in the window and then screen in an actual theatre! Even better, we screened the short film at The Strand in 2012 so it’s like going home. As for Ogunquit? That Maine resort town has been my favorite for decades. Screening a film in Ogunquit is truly an honor. But even more importantly, we need to support these independent theatres. With the industry converting to digital projection, the cost factor to convert can be a high mountain for these theatres to climb so every ticket sale helps!
September 28 will be what I call a full day. I’m pleased to announce that Becki Dennis, who runs Talent Tools, has asked me to host a workshop titled Independent Filmmaking: Script to Screen as part of her Back to School for Actors program. I look forward working with her troops.
Finally, I’m sure you’ve noticed my speaking in quasi-military terms as part of this post. With my next screenplay being a political thriller, let’s just say world military deployment research has been front and center.
Captain on the bridge.