Whenever I secure a theatrical screening, one of my goals is to obtain local press to bring awareness to the event. Sure, there’s the requisite social media engagement and Facebook event. But there’s nothing like securing media placements. This week the Sturbridge Villager wrote a terrific cover story on Serpentine and our upcoming premiere at the Strand Theatre on March 6. Not only did reporter Olivia Richman capture the essence of the film, but my background in the sport and passion for filmmaking.
It is about passion when a theatrical screening is on the horizon. For the thousands of independent films that get made every year only a sliver receive any sort of theatrical release or even one time screening. To fully capture that exposure I always seek to have the events “officially” photographed. I’m delighted to report that David Bruno of David Bruno Event Photography will be our official photographer for the evening.
Further to the above it also simply comes down to organization. By the time the day of the event arrives my aim is to actually enjoy the evening rather than running around at the last minute trying to rectify something. This is why I no longer participate in some third party events unless they are produced by professionals. I recall one science fiction convention I was at five years ago when despite my assurance that they had a DVD projector, screen and speakers set up, they didn’t. Compounding the issue was some volunteer lecturing me that their failure was my responsibility. Understand these words, if you dare to put on the hat of producer it is your responsibility to make sure things run smoothly.
As for distribution, next week I transfer Serpentine: The Short Program to the Ice Network. I have to say it will be great to see Serpentine on both Amazon Prime and the Ice Network. With Amazon being available to over 60 million and the Ice Network reaching figure skating enthusiasts around the world, the VOD distribution plan will bring the awareness this project needs to develop as a feature film.
Of course all these efforts with Serpentine remind me of the days when I first produced Evidence which led to production of Justice Is Mind. In some ways it seems like it was years ago (it was), in others it seems like it was yesterday. Because if it’s the one thing I endeavor to do is to promote my projects at whatever stage they are in. There are regular updates to Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, pitches for development, media and presentations for distribution and screenings.
Over the course of any given week I get Google Alerts on various subjects I track. One of them, no surprise, is for mind reading. When I received an alert for a recent article in MustTech News I pitched them Justice Is Mind for coverage. I was delighted to receive an email from them about a wonderful review they posted yesterday – “A must-watch film for those in love of thrill and science fiction!” That works!
And it’s back to work next week at the Naval Justice School in Newport, RI. I have to say I’m looking forward to falling back into the character of an NCIS Agent and working with some new actors and JAG students. Out of all the performance work I’ve done, this is the most unique. Not only is this a great acting opportunity from a role-playing point of view, but you learn something in the process about how the legal services work in the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Back to base.
Being an “independent” filmmaker means wearing multiple hats and this week was no exception. On the post production front of Justice Is Mind, the processing of the special effects continues in earnest. I had the great pleasure of presenting the trailer for Justice at an industry event and on Friday there were some conversations with our distributor regarding the short film version Justice Is Mind: Evidence. From production to marketing to distribution it’s all in a day’s work in the world of independent filmmaking—many hats usually worn by one person.
Long after I called “That’s a wrap” on October 13 the last day of principal photography, the editing began about a week later (heavens knows we all needed a break!). Once our editor had a rough cut complete, the process of identifying the areas that needed special effect work began. To give you an idea of what’s involved; there are 24 frames per second. If a shot is three seconds long that means that 72 frames need to be exported by the editor and sent to me for delivery to our special effects supervisor along with a detailed memo on what needs to be accomplished for each shot. Just as important as writing and actually shooting a scene, each shot needs to be just as thought out. By example, the instructions for the iPad shot I posted to our Facebook page last week: This is Henri looking at an iPad reading the news that’s part of the story. Please see attached assets for specifics on what to put in for this effect. In the assets folder was copy written by me along with pictures I selected. If you look closely at the copy, there is a shout out to a previous film of mine.
This past Tuesday, in Albany, NY, I had the pleasure of screening the trailer for Justice Is Mind at Upstate Independents, an organization for “filmmakers, actors, screenwriters, and other media artists”. I was invited by UI member Vernon Aldershoff who stars as Henri Miller in Justice. I also brought along Monty Lyons who plays Detective Campbell in Justice. The program called for showing the trailer and then taking Q&A from the audience. Although the trailer has been released through numerous online platforms since January, this was the first time I was presenting the trailer to a live audience. I can’t speak for Monty, but I’ll confess I was a bit nervous. But after the trailer screened, their enthusiastic questions were very inspiring. As a filmmaker, there is nothing more grand than seeing your film on the big screen.
Upstate Independents is an organization that I highly recommend. The meetings start with first time attendees introducing themselves (as Monty and I did), then members take to the microphone and talk about their projects. After the introductions and news, a guest speaker is presented. At this meeting, UI invited Jeanne Bowerman the Editor and Online Community Manager of ScriptMag.com to speak. I’ve been following Jeanne’s various columns and Script magazine itself for the last few years. It was great to finally meet Jeanne in person and hear her speak. What I love about Jeanne is she’s honest, inspiring and talks to audiences directly without all that “cheerleading pom pom” stuff you see with “motivational” speakers in this industry. Jeanne talks from solid experience and presents market facts and realities. For anyone that writes, or wants to learn more about the process, I highly advise following Jeanne and Script magazine.
One thing Jeanne mentioned during the meeting that really resonated with me is for anyone that works in this industry to be kind and say “thank you”. I could not agree more. This is an industry that is all working relationship and networking built. I promise you those two words can easily translate to work down the road. Likewise, absent being appreciative and you can find yourself “not” under consideration.