After four years of development, First Signal is ready for release. With our world premiere at the Greenfield Garden Cinemas on March 26 for a one-week engagement, I can’t help but reflect on all the moments that are leading up to this Friday. I still remember that day in Newport, RI at the Naval Justice School when Patience McStravick and I started talking about some sort of film that would largely take place in one room. Then taking those thoughts and going through my “First World” archive to create First Signal. Eager to put First Signal into production, Patience introduced me to an intrepid filmmaker by the name of Daniel Groom. With the producing team set, First Signal moved from script to reality. That reality comes to life on Friday at 7 PM in a theater—the way it was intended.
From our world premiere, some of us will then travel to another location a couple of days later to tape actor interviews as part of our upcoming VOD release marketing efforts. The marketing plans that have been developed over the last several months are probably the most extensive I’ve laid out for a project. For it’s not just the local marketing tied to our world premiere, but literally reaching the world after First Signal is released to VOD. It’s more than just social media posts but coming up with ideas and content that introduces First Signal to targeted audiences.
On the local front I could not be more pleased with our coverage to date. With reporting in The Greenfield Recorder and The Republican, our engagement at the Greenfield Garden Cinemas is being well publicized. We could not have asked for a more exciting theater to have First Signal’s world premiere. Out of all the theaters I’ve worked with in the past, the marketing and public relations efforts that Isaac Mass (the owner of the theater) has been putting into First Signal’s world premiere are second to none. These are the types of partners that are wonderful to work with because of the passion they bring. They’ve created a sense of community, which is what the theatrical experience is all about. To Isaac, his wife Angela, and the team at the Greenfield Garden Cinemas—thank you for everything.
In other news, I also received word that First Signal passed QC (quality control) from our distributor Indie Rights. This is indeed good news as we are clear for VOD release. I’ll be announcing our VOD release plans in April.
This coming Tuesday I’ll be at the Greenfield Garden Cinemas for First Signal’s screen test. Having attended these tests with my first feature film Justice Is Mind, I have to say this is another moment in the process that’s exhilarating. In a dark theater suddenly years of work, and the efforts of many, come to life.
As a filmmaker there is nothing like seeing your film unfold on the silver screen. I will never forget when I first saw Justice Is Mind come to life at our world premiere back in 2013. It is that moment when all the hopes, dreams and work come to fruition. I am delighted to announce that the world premiere of First Signal will take place on March 26, 2021 for a one-week engagement at the Greenfield Garden Cinemas in Greenfield, MA!
Whenever I make a film, whether it be a short or a feature, I’m always looking for a theatrical premiere. When you premiere a film in a theater it signifies its arrival in the marketplace. It provides an opportunity for audiences and the media to see it as intended before it’s released into the digital world. It’s also economic. For the majority of films, the primary revenue driver is theatrical “box office” revenue. I have always been a proponent of theatrical screenings (particularly now as the exhibition sector has been decimated this past year and needs every ticket), for without that component, the majority of films will not recoup their production budget.
Seeing the name of your film on a marquee is a special experience all its own. When the Greenfield Garden Cinemas published the photo you see at the top of this blog it took me less than a minute to send it to the cast, crew and location partners. First Signal has formally arrived.
While we prepare for the world premiere of First Signal (and other screening events), we are finishing up the deliverables for Indie Rights. Part of our deliverables package is a new poster designed by Emmy Award winning Adam Starr. Partially inspired by Apollo 8’s Earthrise photo, this new poster is what you will see at all our screening events and on VOD platforms. As our marketing plans unfold, look for additional creative that builds off First Signal’s new poster.
As for marketing, SOS United States is moving along nicely through the festival circuit. Since my last post, the script has picked up some additional selections and wins. My goal with SOS United States is to promote the project through the festival circuit with the aim of raising the necessary production budget to produce the film in 2022 for a 2023 release. Yes, that’s the type of planning that goes into making a feature film.
I had lunch last week with one of the stars of First Signal. I remarked that this has been a four year project to date. From the original idea in March 2017 to script in early 2018, production in 2019, festival circuit in 2020 and wide release in 2021, producing a feature film is years in the making. Nothing in this industry happens overnight. It takes continued perseverance, patience and plans to see a project all the way to the end.
But the nice thing about First Signal is that it’s just the beginning. The beginning of what I hope to be a new sci-fi franchise.