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.
Capturing the essence of a movie usually starts with the one sheet (poster), followed by stills and then the trailer. It’s about developing the film’s brand and the PR campaign around it. For First Signal, the first official one sheet was designed by Daniel Elek-Diamanta (who is also our composer). The poster represents the famed “Earthrise” photo from Apollo 8 along with some sort of alien satellite or ship between the Moon and Earth. As the First Signal story is rooted in the Apollo space program, I thought the blend of science fact with fiction would make for a compelling picture.
With editing well underway, the next step in the branding process is to tell First Signal’s story through carefully chosen stills. Quoting Arthur Brisbane from an article in 1911, “Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.”
Our first “picture” tells part of the First Signal story with Air Force One arriving in Brussels, Belgium. To the casual observer they just see Air Force One over a newscast. But for those that are following First Signal, they will see much more. Not only does the still lend to the logline, an emergency meeting with the President, it represents the arrival of Earth’s most well-known plane. I say Earth’s because something else arrives later in the story. The rotating planet Earth in the chyron graphic is later identified as another world. But it’s the crisis in Ukraine that leads to a government conspiracy to thwart an insurgent military action that’s at the heart of the First Signal story.
Over the weeks and months ahead, the idea is to create a campaign to bring awareness to First Signal for its release in 2020. When you consider the tens of thousands of films made in any given year, the marketing and communications efforts need to be just as well thought out and planned as principal photography was. For First Signal it’s about building off our early press.
As for building, next week I start the research process for AFM. But prior to AFM, I’ll be presenting First Signal next week to some interested parties that are traveling to Toronto.
Finally, I’m re-presenting First Signal’s one sheet now with credits. As you will see, it truly does take a village to make a motion picture. While a director has a vision and acts as conductor, they are only as good as their orchestra.