I’m pleased to announce that Justice Is Mind will screen on March 24 at Cinemagic in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. As some of you may remember we worked with Cinemagic on our New Hampshire premiere last December. I could not be more appreciative and thankful for their support of Justice and independent film.
Whenever we announce a screening it is a mobilization of the army of supporters that have made all our screenings possible, from our cast and crew to the numerous enthusiasts we have been building over the last year. No sooner did I announce the screening than friends of mine in Sturbridge sent notice to their friends and so on. Simply put the marketing and exhibition of a feature film is not a one person show. So with our press release out and our Facebook event page set up, the process now begins to present the screening to the media and local businesses.
Today also marks another milestone. I finished the business plan for SOS United States. Thus, I have more work cut out for me as I look to secure investors in that project. Someone asked me the other day about First World and how that is coming along. Believe me, that’s not a project I have forgotten about. In fact, I’ve started to revisit it with some concept art and plan to start presenting that project again as early as next week. Certainly with China showing real progress in their space program, the timing for the story is certainly better. And that’s what it all comes to in this business – timing.
In the trades we read about the films being green lit, but not so much about the long journey to get there. For example, the acclaimed Black Swan took ten years to make and the long journey of Dallas Buyers Club has been well reported.
There’s no question that there’s a variety of literal chaos going on the industry. I try to keep up with the latest by reading a variety of trade publications but in the end you just have to go along with what you think is best. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, there is no perfect formula. It doesn’t happen that way in this business. Producing a film, even studio material, is a speculative venture at best but we do it because we love doing it.
As we venture into our tenth theatrical screening of Justice Is Mind, I am reminded about all the wonderful screenings we have had and the support they have received. These are not easy feats to achieve. They take more work than you can imagine. But in the sea of storms the industry waxes on about, there is a calmness that takes over a screening when a film starts to roll on the big screen.
“My three Ps: passion, patience, perseverance. You have to do this if you’ve got to be a filmmaker.” – Robert Wise
Another part of the article in The New Yorker I quoted from last week now needs to be referenced, “If making films weren’t challenging and fun for the people involved, they wouldn’t do it.” Indeed, making films is fun. Challenging? Absolutely. But as we know nothing worth doing is easy.
This past week I was reading up on all the activity, or should I say, lack of activity at the European Film Market (EFM). Like Sundance, there doesn’t seem to be a buying frenzy or absolute breakout hit. It appears that everyone is waiting for Cannes. But we shall see. None of this news, or non-news, however is going to stop a creative from being creative.
As I prepare to announce additional theatrical screenings for Justice Is Mind along with our initial VOD plans, I was reminded this week that there are always new markets to explore for a film. In the case of Justice, I started do a simple Google search on “law school film festivals” and “neuroscience film festivals”. To my surprise, I was more than pleased to see a variety of festivals (generally connected to higher education and associations) reveal themselves. You can’t find these as part of Withoutabox or similar portals. I’m pleased to say that after contacting a variety of them, conversations are already starting. Will we be part of their programs? I don’t know. But it’s always worthwhile to reach out to see what the possibilities are.
Apparently some of the conversations coming out of EFM centered on having not only well known directors and stars but a marketing hook as well. I’ll be honest, there are painfully few films I go to because so and so is directing or so and so is in the film. For me it is all about the “hook”. There is no perfect formula in this business anymore if there ever was. Sure you have to push past some gatekeepers and figure out a way to get your film to market. For anyone that has worked with me, they know when I hear the word “no” I am just going to keep working an angle until I hear “yes”.
This reminded me about a film I read about in The Verge that was a Sundance selection last year. They took a direct distribution (theatrical and VOD) route and seem to have done really well. In a smaller fashion this is what we have been doing with Justice while we continue conversations with distributors. As I’ve said before, it’s not just about doing a deal, it’s about doing a deal that makes financial sense. What’s the most important thing? Justice Is Mind has been made. What’s the next important thing? Justice Is Mind is being seen by audiences.
I’ve reached that point in my business plan for SOS United States where I discuss the budget and projections. Indeed, these are like New England weather and are always “storm centric”. I can hold to a budget without any issue (that just comes down to planning), but film revenue projects seriously can change at the drop of a hat. I believe the key is having a reasonable budget and reasonable expectations.
This is an exciting time for Justice Is Mind as we go into what I call Phase Two of distribution and marketing while I look to finish the details on SOS United States. There’s always something new to learn, and things we need to avoid, there’s just one thing we all need to remember in this industry.