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Posts tagged “Amazon Prime

First Milestone

The Gliese star system in First Signal

I remember like it was yesterday when First Signal was on the festival circuit and I was reviewing and having conversations with distributors. The duplicity of so many with their endless fees and one-sided life-binding contracts combined with promises that frankly I knew where going to go nowhere, wasn’t exactly a recipe for lifting spirts. But it was the discussions I had with Indie Rights that presented the first honest and straightforward approach to film distribution that was truly a breath of fresh air. I knew going into it, that we were weren’t just handing First Signal over to them and that was the end of it. It was a partnership – they distributed while I marketed.

As Indie Rights continues to find outlets to distribute First Signal, I continue the marketing process. Although it has been a year since First Signal was released, the film is consistently performing on established outlets like Tubi and Amazon while finding new audiences on YouTube. With over 800,000 views in the last four months, YouTube is a platform that delivers solid advertising revenue to its filmmakers while delivering a global audience.

First Signal is the number one sci-fi movie on this YouTube channel

But the one thing I can definitively state today is that First Signal is technically in the black. While I didn’t “bet the ranch” from a budget POV, my investment was a solid one that I was hoping to eventually recoup. This milestone has given me confidence that one can be “in business” as an independent filmmaker. When I say independent filmmaker, I’m not talking about those that are connected to studios, mini-majors, millionaire investors or the like, I’m talking about those that look at their personal savings and investment accounts and say to themselves, “OK, I believe in this project. I’ll take the risk.” Fortunately, in the case of First Signal, the risk paid off.  

As for the next risk, a filmmaker friend and I visited Battleship Cove last weekend. With the USS Massachusetts appearing prominently in one of the opening scenes of SOS United States, I’m starting to visualize the production coming together. But like First Signal, and Justice Is Mind, it will come down to finding a variety of key locations to make this political thriller come to life.

On reflection of this revenue milestone, it took over a decade to bring the First World Universe to life with First Signal. While there was the short film version of First World to introduce this new concept in 2007, it was the production of a feature film in First Signal that has truly started the franchise. With the positive feedback First Signal is receiving on YouTube as an audience indicator, developing this new sci-fi franchise for production has taken on a renewed purpose.

Next Launch

In SOS United States the Prime Minister arrives on Commonwealth One – The Concorde

New Concepts

SOS United States under producer review.

With the one year anniversary of First Signal’s theatrical release coming up, I also realize we are soon going to hit a milestone on VOD. I hope to announce what that milestone is soon. But the one thing that never stops is the continued pitching for development along with new ideas for future projects.

Just this past week, I was pleased to receive a request from an established producer to review SOS United States. Will this review turn into a deal? Who knows, but the important thing is that there is activity with this project. When developing a project for production, it’s all about activity.

Since I completed First Report, I’ve had a variety of meetings and conversations around some new projects, from a conspiracy thriller to a documentary involving the sport of figure skating. While I’ll always cherish my time in the sport, I honestly just don’t see myself returning in any capacity. Although I didn’t watch the Winter Olympics (I haven’t watched an Olympics since I was in Salt Lake City in 2002), it was reading about another scandal that just cemented my decision.

First Signal‘s one year anniversary will soon be here.

But a new conspiracy thriller is certainly exciting to me. When the idea was brought up this weekend the creative wheels just started to turn. Before I knew it, we almost had a completed outline. This idea is particularly interesting as it’s linked to a major historical event.

While I’m working on this new idea, I’ve started to reread First Report to break it down for possible production. As I wrote Justice Is Mind and First Signal, First Report could be done as an independent production within the scale of those films. Although at 194 pages, First Report is either two feature films or a limited series. The key is to secure the right locations and scheduling. From there it’s budgeting and pre-production planning.

Developing a list of locations for First Report.

Having just reorganized some of my production files, I was reminded about the months First Signal spent in pre-production. I believe that phase is the most critical when making a film. Yes, the actual production (principal photography) of the film is important along with post-production. But, in my view, if everything is properly organized, along with contingency plans, it just makes for literal smooth sailing.

Of course there’s no smooth sailing in film distribution, just constant navigational challenges. In the world of VOD it’s about pivoting. For so many years, it was Amazon’s TVOD/SVOD (transactional/subscription video on demand) that filmmakers clamored for. But now the tables have turned as it’s Tubi and YouTube’s AVOD (advertising video on demand) where the money is. Thankfully, First Signal has a distributor in Indie Rights that does a masterful job at pivoting!

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