Marketing planet Earth one project at a time.

General

The Decision

The countries where First Signal has been selected for film festivals.

While First Signal continues through the festival circuit and SOS United States just starts with festival submissions, my next decision is to decide who I’m placing First Signal with for VOD. For once the decision is made, I need to have faith in those that will be handling the majority of the rights for the next several years. But after over a year of research and discussions, I’ve narrowed it down to two companies. Look for a formal announcement shortly.

With First Signal largely wrapping up its festival run in April, my attention is now turning to theatrical. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had conversations with a small chain and a few independent theatres. The plan is the same I implemented with Justice Is Mind—one evening theatrical screenings in select markets. Of course, the world has changed over the last year with some of the theaters asking for multi-night screenings. Naturally, that would be fine with me!

There still lies the misconception that indie filmmakers must four wall (rent) a theater to get their movies screened. While I won’t divulge my method for getting films into theaters (sorry some things are my own process), my aim is to always present a win/win situation for the theater and the film. Today, more than ever, theatrical is critical not only to the survival of theaters but the film industry in general.

I understand on one hand why studios are pushing back the release of their major films, but on the other hand they just need to pick a date and get on with it. Simply, there will never be a perfect time. People will either go to the theater or stay home, it’s as simple as that. But if theatrical collapses, that is going to be not only a financial disaster for the industry, but for the local economies these theaters serve. I personally know of four theaters that are closed. Not because of draconian lockdowns, but because they can’t get contemporary product in the hope of some traffic. Seriously, would you go to a theater if that same film was on Amazon or Netflix?

I was asked the other day when I’m going to film my next project. Truthfully, I see this year largely being the marketing of First Signal’s theatrical and VOD release and breaking down SOS United States for a 2022 start date. First Launch, the sequel to First Signal, is being actively presented. But that project will require a substantial investment. Project Shinar, however, is moving along.

Since my last post, I’m delighted to report that First Signal has picked up two additional Official Selections. When I was looking at our laurels the other day, I couldn’t help but notice the international reach these festivals have. This type of placement will work well when First Signal goes to VOD.

Foreign Markets

The Planet Shinar


First Sequel

The destruction of Shinar in First Launch

Today I received notice that First Signal is a Semi-Finalist in the International Moving Film Festival in Iran. This marks our 21st film festival acceptance. I could not be more pleased with our results to date. What I’m particularly enjoying is the global reach of First Signal. From the United States to India; the United Kingdom to Russia; France to Iran, these are just some of the countries that selected First Signal for their festivals. What these festivals represent is a worldwide acceptance of the story in the film. I never wrote First Signal for one particular audience or demographic, I wrote it to appeal to a wide and culturally diverse audience.

There are thousands of festivals to submit to and a limited budget for submission fees. Too often we hear the same lecture about the importance of getting accepted to the top tier festivals. Worse media outlets continue to support that narrative. I read in Videomaker magazine last week that “the rest of them are worthless.” That pious elitism by inexperienced biased journalists in the industry does nothing but insult festivals and filmmakers. There are countless wonderful film festivals that make it their mission to review, accept and promote all types of films. This industry is about the voices of many not the few.

As First Signal has reached the halfway mark on the festival circuit, I’m excited to see what 2021 brings (I think we will all be glad to leave 2020!). There are many things from a marketing and promotion perspective that I hope to introduce next year. The goal is to develop some noise to cut through the traditional and social media clutter.

While First Signal continues into 2021, it’s time to look forward towards the sequel First LaunchThe President faces a military coup and extrasolar war when a covertly built second generation space shuttle reveals a worldwide military destined to confront an alien presence on Earth. First Launch takes place two years after the events in First Signal and weeks before the events in First World. I always let my screenplays “sit” for a bit before I write the synopsis. In my view a synopsis is probably the hardest thing to write. There are many ways to write a synopsis. I endeavor to keep mine to one page and not to give everything away. You can read the synopsis at this link.

It’s hard to believe that my idea for this “First World Universe” started in 2006 when I wrote First World. Here we are fourteen years later in 2020 with the start of that universe being First Signal. I remember like it was yesterday making the endless pitches for First World. I looked at the submission file the other day and it was staggering.  But when you are determined to do something you see it through as long as you possibly can. Sometimes things happen quickly, sometimes they can seem to take forever. But when a film project is finally realized, the time from concept to completion just evaporates.

Next World