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.
After over a year of searching and talking to sales agents and distributors, I’m pleased to announce that Indie Rights picked up First Signal for worldwide distribution. Our official press release can be found at this link.
As I mention in the press release, I’ve known of Linda Nelson’s company for many years. I first heard of Indie Rights when Justice Is Mind was having its theatrical run in 2013. Since then, I have come across a variety of sales agents and distributors. There are very few constants in this industry except one thing – reputation. While there was another company I was considering, Indie Rights had the best reputation among filmmakers. If you’re a filmmaker with a completed project, I highly encourage you to visit their website to learn more.
This truly is an industry about reputation. If you treat people well, if you’re honest, if you do the job you were contracted to do, that type of currency can be cashed in anywhere. But if you are difficult to work with, fail to deliver or impede the process, you’ll find your dance card pretty empty. I’ve talked about this before, there’s a reason why you see the same actors, crew and other partners working together from one project to another – reputation.
As we begin the process of organizing the deliverables for Indie Rights, I now turn my attention to First Signal’s marketing plan. In addition to what I’m hoping to do theatrically, the plan also includes First Signal’s VOD release (May). This will be markedly more involved than what I did for Justice several years ago. As the release will involve multiple outlets and countries, the key will be to put together a plan that can be somewhat replicated from market to market. As an independent filmmaker, the challenge is to put together a plan that is possible, sustainable and affordable. In all honesty, I do enjoy the marketing aspects of film projects. For me it’s about introducing audiences to a new film, whether they are here in the United States or some distant land. The one universal language we all have in common is the art of film (although dubbing may be involved!).
I’m also pleased to announce that my political thriller SOS United States is now an official selection of two festivals, winning one. SOS United States won Best Plot at the Gold Star Movie Awards. For 2021 the marketing for SOS is to continue the film festival submission process, while presenting the project for 2022 production.
The political thriller genre is truly my favorite. Whether I incorporate the genre in sci-fi with First Signal, psychological thrillers like In Mind We Trust (the sequel to Justice Is Mind) or my figure skating drama Serpentine, the political thriller genre weaves throughout all of them. For me, I like a plot that takes many twists and turns. One of my favorite political thrillers is The Odessa File. The central character (played by Jon Voight) is a journalist. I always like a film that has a journalist as it lends credibility to the plot when the character investigates. The surprise ending in The Odessa File is well worth the watch.