As I drove to the Strand Theatre in Clinton on Monday, I was wondering just how many people would show. At our premiere in Albany at the Palace a few weeks earlier the audience was largely “friends and family” so there was an immediate comfort level. And that was a good thing to launch Justice Is Mind.
I arrived in Clinton at 5 PM and drove past the Strand. And there it was on the marquee all by itself Justice Is Mind. Yes, I saw it running on the marquee in Albany, but we were part of a festival there. Here, it was only for us, only for Justice. A film I first started alone at my desk that has now swelled to over two hundred was playing at a theatre. And earlier that day when our IMDB listing reflected the showing, it somehow felt like we arrived.
Walking through the lobby I saw our poster included with other film memorabilia and first run feature films. For me, I have dreamed of this since childhood – a film of mine was playing in a theatre. After I met with owners Rob and Bill and gave them the DVD, I met with our photographer and started going over the evening. Yes, ever the producer and director!
And then the audiences started to arrive. A nice amount of familiar faces including several key actors with the film. A special thank you to actors Vernon Aldershoff, Mary Wexler, Michele Mortensen, Kim Merriam, Shannon McNamara and Bob Leveillee. Not only where there friends, family and location partners that turned out, but regular theatre goers who wanted to see what Justice Is Mind was all about. In total, we had 150 attend the Massachusetts premiere and I couldn’t have been more pleased. The verdict? Generally all positive comments and audiences seemed to genuinely enjoy the film. In my view, the postings on social media pages spoke for themselves.
Not one to rest (much), I was up in Ogunquit, ME on Wednesday promoting our next screening on September 28 at the Leavitt Theatre. Walking to just over 30 hotels and businesses with a film poster and press release in my hand, I presented Justice to as many people as I could. Yes, it was boots on the ground (OK, Nike) as I told complete strangers about a film of mine that was having its Maine premiere in their town. They were all welcoming and I had some great conversations with so many. While social media is great to pitch the masses, there is nothing like a face to face presentation.
After walking my legs off (like Mildred Pierce did in the movie of the same name), I met up with a filmmaker friend of mine for coffee. Shortly after, we went to the Leavitt to test run Justice. My friend made the introduction and got us the deal. What I thought was going to just be a 10 minute test turned into an hour. Both of them enjoyed what they saw on the big screen. If it wasn’t for dinner plans they both had, I think we would have had a complete test run of Justice!
Yes, this week was a good one. But for all the good, you sometimes have to deal with the not so good. I’m not one that deals with negative people very well, in fact I avoid it whenever possible. There are great challenges in any business, particularly in this industry. As I start to work on my Independent Filmmaking: Script to Screen presentation next weekend for Talent Tools “Back to School for Actors” program one thing I will encourage for all attendees is to never give up, hold your head up high and rise above those that don’t share your vision and passion. At the end of the day I have a film to either write, make or promote and if you’re in my way I promise you I will just run you over.
Next stop – Ogunquit!