As I approached The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center Friday night for First Signal’s outdoor screening (postponed from July 9 due to weather), I couldn’t help but feel a wave of nostalgia as I got closer. For it was at this location that First Signal began production two years earlier.
After I parked the car, I wandered over to where they were setting up and then soon found myself inside the museum. Naturally, I walked into the room where the majority of filming took place. With the exception of it being set up for some sort of classroom instruction, the room was the same. Oddly, I found myself looking around for the table that we sat the projector on. Why it mattered after we wrapped after two years, who knows! The point being is that it was a nice memory.
Joining me for this screening was Daniel Groom, Director of Photography; Paul Noonan, General John Reager and Yefim Somin, President Sergei Tupolov. I hadn’t seen Yefim since we wrapped at the Discovery Center two years ago. It was good to catch up with everyone and reminisce a bit. When you’re making a film, it’s almost impossible to predict where it will end up after it’s completed. Having First Signal screen where we filmed it made for a great evening. My thanks to the Discovery Center for making it possible, to those that attended and to Senator Shaheen for her words of support.
After the screening I was talking about a new story in The First World Universe that came to me about a week ago. I have the name, logline and even the ending. Without giving away too much at this stage, think All the President’s Men meets Defense of the Realm. The story centers around the following line that Elisabeth Seward, the National Security Advisor, says in First Signal, “But there will be a record of this meeting. Simply put there is a hole in the President’s schedule because she is here. How long do you think it will take before some intrepid reporter asks questions that I’m just going to guess you don’t want answered?” If all goes well, I’ll have a draft completed by the end of the year.
Yesterday I posted the last installment of First Signal’s actor interviews. Having rewatched each installment for social media and posting purposes, I have to say we covered a lot of ground. Sure, we talked about the process of creating First Signal, but it was the discussions that centered around the entertainment industry, the craft of acting and directing along with the contemporary issues of the times we are in, that I really believe gives the series legs.
As First Signal enters the next phase of marketing and distribution, it’s time to look forward to bring new projects to life.
This coming Sunday, June 27 is the Massachusetts premiere of First Signal at The Strand Theatre in Clinton, MA. Suffice to say, I’m looking forward to our next screening. Since First Signal arrived on VOD in April it’s been continuous steady marketing efforts, but a screening is an event. As such, it should be promoted that way. To that end, I was very pleased to see The Item’s “Area native film, ‘First Signal,’ gets Massachusetts premiere at The Strand” article in the latest issue.
When I was reflecting on my past films at The Strand, it was The Item that always published a solid article before a screening. Those notices are a godsend to any filmmaker as they not only alert audiences to a screening event but contribute to the overall branding of the film. Securing press for a VOD only release of an independent film is not easy. But a theatrical screening? That sets it apart from the tens of thousands of other films vying for ink and eyeballs.
As I mentioned to a friend in the industry a few weeks ago, the media and filmmaking landscape has changed significantly since I released Justice Is Mind in 2013. Simply, there are more films being released and less media outlets to report. And if they can report, page counts and staff have been reduced. My point—getting media attention takes work and is harder. Yes, there are countless blogs and then there is social media, but a “newspaper article” is quite grand as they reserved space for you. Almost like a film festival, they vetted what they are going to report.
In regard to marketing and promotion, we are eight weeks into First Signal’s series of actor interviews. For those that want to gain some insight into the creation of First Signal and how the world of independent filmmaking works, you can check them out at this link. As each interview was about 35 minutes long, we had them broken down into three parts for each actor. Starting this Saturday, I’ll be posting part three of each actor’s interview. Look for a new one each Saturday for the next month.
Today I went to the American Heritage Museum (where we filmed First Signal’s actor interviews), to attend their Tanks, Wings and Wheels event. The team that brings this museum to life does so in a way that has you leaving with a unique perspective on the history of war. From the introductory film to the WWI trench experience to the “Winds of War” War Clouds room followed by the main exhibits, the American Heritage Museum is a total immersive experience brilliantly presented. For those of you that are interested in learning more about this outstanding military history museum and attending some of their unique events, check them out at this link.