Three Weeks From Release…

Some cool things are happening.


We won the Best Sci-Fi Feature at Phoenix Comicon, and Best Sci-Fi and Best Audience Sci-Fi awards at Intendence Film Festival! Thank you to Intendence and Phoenix Comicon!

Made In NY Marketing Campaign Ad

We qualified for the Made In New York Marketing program, which means NYC will print and put up 250 subway and 20 bus shelter ads for our film – at no cost! Here’s a pic of our team looking over a rough copy of the subway poster:

Made In NY Marketing Poster Team


We’re organizing some non-festival screenings in September, October and November, timed to the release of the film. Stay tuned and we’ll keep you posted.

I know we haven’t written a ‘how-to’ or diary entry in a while. Things are a little hectic right now. We’ll post more in-depth pieces in a short while.

Further Lessons On Distribution


First up: we’re going to Buffalo next week! Found In Time will make its New York State premiere at the Buffalo Dreams Film Festival!
WHERE: Dipson Theaters, Amherst I-III, 3500 Main St., Buffalo NY
WHEN: Tuesday, November 12th @ 4:30pm
TIX: Hit up the official website for tickets and schedule info.

So you’ve finished your film! That’s great. Got distribution! Awesome! Are you done? Nope. Not by a long shot. In today’s world, it’s incumbent on the filmmaker, not the distributor, to pull the audience in. Not that distributors have stopped doing that, exactly… rather, it’s that they really don’t have much incentive to do so for your film. They’re working with the old models, of “how do I push this onto an audience.” Their tools are casting and/or genre. The new model is “how do I pull the audience toward the film.” This is more exciting in some ways – we can, maybe, finally, kinda, sorta, get beyond the “star” mentality which, as Ted Hope predicted (back in 1995) would wreck the indie film world. But it also puts more pressure on filmmakers, many of whom (myself included) got into this field because we didn’t want to “buy, sell or process anything” but rather MAKE things that other people more skilled than us would then buy and sell and process.

This is part of the dilemma of making films in today’s world. You have to keep working on them after you’re “done.” The past year or so has been one of non-stop anxiety for me, as I’ve waited for each festival, sales agent, and distributor acceptance/rejection email. The hours that I’ve spent adding reviews to the website, updating the key art, burning screener DVDs, keeping the Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn feeds alive, and reaching out to schools, theaters, conventions, festivals, review sites, etc. is all time that I could have put toward my next project. And before you say “get an intern to do it,” what, exactly would keep an intern working on this for more than a week? While I have an overall strategy I’m still making this up as I go. I’d still have to do the research before I told said intern who/what to contact. I’d have to approve the line art. So what’s the time savings?

Also, I think it’s actually good to see a project through this stage. For one thing, you’ll learn how to reach out to audiences, how the distribution game works, and whether the film even fits where you initially thought it did. I initially thought I had a fantasy/indie art-house film on my hands, but it’s found it’s greatest success among sci-fi/horror fans and sci-fi-related film festivals. So I’m steered away from calling it a fantasy and emphasized the sci-fi aspects of the film. I’m also starting to target sci-fi conventions, meetup groups, and clubs – they’re my fan base, and I’m trying to reach out to them through event screenings and special Q&As.

I’m also building tools for the next project – an intake procedure for the dozens of business cards I end up with after each festival; a distribution/promotion database that will cut down on the time spent writing cover letters and make tracking screeners and phone calls easier; a more efficient method for producing “behind-the-scenes” clips and interviews; a tool for generating eblasts without having to hand-code everything; and so on. If you can leverage your experience on one film, then the next one will, in theory, go smoother.


A few things I’ve learned during this process:

  • It’s never too early to put your deliverables together. I should have cut the last two behind-the-scenes interviews and the DVD commentary together long before the distribution deal came through. Ditto with revising the DVD sleeve art. On the other hand, the poster art, stills, trailer, and almost everything else was just about ready to go.
  • Reach out to your peeps. Once you have a distribution deal (and it’s okay to announce it), drop an email to the folks at the festivals you played at. Let them know what’s going on. Do the same with the cast and crew. Once you have a street date, send another one. If the festivals have an email blast, ask if you can advertise in it, so people can go and buy your DVD/stream your film when it comes out.
  • Don’t wait to figure out your e-commerce site. I’m still experimenting with the right WordPress plug-in but I feel like I’ve got it down to one of three. These take time to set up and experiment with so don’t wait until after you get your first sell-through DVD shipment. People will want to buy your film right away if they can.

Well, that’s it for now. By next month, we will hopefully have a street date for Found In Time!

Found In Time Premieres at Shriekfest!

Shriekfest 2012 - next Stop!
Found In Time will have its world premiere at the 2012 Shriekfest Film Festival, in Los Angeles this October! The festival, now in its 12th year, has been rated as one of the ‘Top 25 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee’ and ’25 Festivals To Die For’ in MovieMaker magazine, and ‘LA’s Most Successful & Entertaining Horror Film Festival’ by LA Weekly. We’ve been to this festival before, and can vouch for how much fun it is. Here are the details:
Where: Raleigh Studios, 5300 Melrose in Hollywood, CA
When: Saturday, October 6th – 8:45pm, but stick around for the rest of the fest if you can, there’s sure to be some great stuff screened there

Thank you to the good folks at Shriekfest, and particularly to Denise Gossett and Todd Beeson, who’ve run a classy, filmmaker-friendly operation from day one! Check back here periodically, as we post updates on who from the cast and crew will be there. Arthur Vincie, writer/director, will be in attendance.

We Have Crowdfunding Liftoff

We’re still working on the teaser video for the page, but our page is up, running and accepting donations.

I admit that I was extremely skeptical of the crowdfunding model. The basic idea is that instead of hunting down a few producers and/or investors with deep pockets and expendable cash, you build a community of supporters (and potential ticket/DVD buyers) by soliciting small donations. Those donations, combined with a few dollars from your pocket, some freebies, and maybe a kindly investor (or credit card), would be enough to make your movie.

About 15 years ago, a few producers tried similar strategies. The idea was to raise the budget “one movie ticket at a time.” To my knowledge, none of those films got made. The idea seemed like a nice one. But given that people were shooting on film in the mid-90s and were trying to raise $500K for their first features, it seemed akin to saving up pennies to buy a house. Also, keeping track of potentially hundreds of donors seemed like a major nightmare.

But that was one generation of filmmaking and internet technology ago. The advent of cheap, tapeless HD makes it possible to shoot features for a lot less than before. The openness of distributors and fans to “mumblecore” movies – shot for peanuts with minimal crew, cast, and very tight, contained stories – has given us all hope that small movies with no stars can connect with an audience. And sites like, KickStarter (and the infrastructure created by PayPal and merchant accounts) make it a lot easier to accept and keep track of small donations.

The real revolution, though, is in the direction filmmakers and audiences are looking. We’ve all realized that we can’t count on distributors. They’ve become too risk-averse and too penny-pinching to welcome members into their cadre. To some extent, this is a return to the way things have always been: a few controversial figures get into the club, but most of the filmmakers and their movies cater to a certain taste. This is not a bad thing – studios are very good at making and marketing a certain kind of movie – but it’s only one slice of what film is truly capable of.

The ’90s and early ’00s were a brief moment when it seemed like the gates were open to a wider array of talented people; and that distributors who were interested in promoting these films, and their stars, crew, producers and directors would actually do things like cut trailers, arrange promotions, and market the film to an audience.

Sadly, I think those days are behind us, at least for now. The distributors are asking for filmmakers to do more of the heavy lifting: cut the trailer, produce the artwork, cross-promote the film, cough up all the deliverables – while promising less in return.

Compared to that, finding your audience on your own and working together with them to make your film sounds like a much better deal, even if it is more work. In some ways it’s like going back to what motivated us to get into this business in the first place. I took photos and wrote stories as a kid because I wanted to share experiences with an audience (and get applause, let’s face it). They helped me, I (hopefully) helped them.

In the long run, hopefully this will lead to a revitalization of distribution. Distributors will realize that the audience matters, that small movies can make people happy AND make money. And we’ll all be better off. Here’s hoping!