Thursday, December 28, 2006

theatrical mapping project

Hope this finds everyone well. In an effort to build a venue database, we've started a theatrical mapping project over at the workbook site.


The map is meant to be "embed and spread." If you know of a good digital screen feel free to add it. Once something is added, it will be viewable where ever someone has embedded the map.

Copy and paste the following code into your pages:


A flash version for myspace and other social networking profiles that only take flash. Copy and paste the following code into your pages.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

6 links to official sites of Indie Features movies added, MORE COMING SOON

The plan has been, for some time now, to add links to all the official sites of the movies that members of this blog have written about during the past year. I am going to finish up that project in the coming days. If you look to the right hand side of the main page (you may have to scroll all the way down), you'll see the LINKS section. Added 6 links today:

Links

Date Number One

Head Trauma

Killing Down

Jumping Off Bridges

The Proper Care & Feeding of an American Messiah

LOL

More coming soon!

- Sujewa

CustomFlix announces support for internet downloads of indie movies through Amazon Unbox

Thanks News of the Dead for the link. Here is the opening paragraph of CustomFlix's press release re: the new service (links by me):

" CustomFlix Labs, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc., (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced its support for Amazon.com's video download service, Amazon Unbox, by adding video downloads to its current DVD and CD on Demand services. This new CustomFlix service now enables independent filmmakers and other DVD content owners to make their content available as video downloads to tens of millions of Amazon.com customers through Unbox."

Read the rest of it here.

I checked out a download time chart of theirs, with a high speed cable connection (6 Mbps) you can start watching a 2 hour movie in less than 3 minutes through this download service, & you can watch the downloaded material on your TV once you hook your computer up to your TV (more on the Amazon Unbox FAQ).

- Sujewa

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A US Art/Indie/Foreign/Alt Critics List

Here is the link for the indieWIRE page with the names of the critics (& their publications) who participated in iW's year end poll re: best films & performances, etc. (which is a feature imported from Village Voice). Filmmaker/distributors who are distributing a film next year may want to get a screener to the hands of some or all of the critics listed on the page. If a lot of them like your film, it will be another useful marketing thing. The list includes print & web critics.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Lance Weiler interviews Absurda's Eric Bassett re: INLAND EMPIRE self-distribution

Sounds very exciting. Check it out here & hear all about how David Lynch & co. is gonna do their INLAND EMPIRE self-distribution magic.

- Sujewa

Monday, December 11, 2006

Getting your DVD on Amazon.com

If you are self-distributing, there are 3 options for getting your film listed & sold through Amazon.com: 1) CustomFlix, 2) Advantage, & 3) Pro Merchant. Read about them & get links here. Advantage looks like the best option for me. CustomFlix maybe the least expensive & the option that requires the least amount of work on the part of the filmmaker.

- Sujewa

Friday, December 08, 2006

future of web video

NEW "this conference is being recorded" PODCAST . This week's guest is Scott Kirsner. Scott discusses his new book "The Future of Web Video" The conversation covers a wide range of subjects around the new emerging web video economy. Scott shares some insight into how certain filmmakers have even been able to gross upwards of $30,000 dollars off their viral web shorts.

To hear, download or subscribe to the podcast visit http://workbookproject.com

Big thanks to everyone who has sent in project info to be included in the first edition of the "workbook" If you still would like to have your project listed in the 1st edition it's totally free and painless. Just send us the following

- project description
- status (shooting, post, distro - fest, theatrical, DVD, online etc.)
- shooting format and budget
- link to sites, blogs, social pages etc.
- link to trailer

thanks!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Fylmz interview re: Date Number One & self-distribution

Check it out here. Thanks!

My interview with the director of Off the Black (new off-beat Nick Nolte drama from THINKFilm)

I hung out with a very cool dude yesterday; a 28 year old first time feature filmmaker with a movie, Off the Black, that: stars Nick Nolte, was selected for Sundance 06, was made for a very low budget with the help of veteran indie producer Scott Macaulay, will soon be coming to theaters from THINKFilm. Here is the link to my interview with director James Ponsoldt. Check it out, maybe a good & useful read.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Post on Indie-Pictures at WDF blog

Check out the post here indie filmmakers. Indie-Pictures sounds interesting; they say they have wide reach when it comes to DVD distribution.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Date Number One clip on YouTube

Fin-n-nally getting caught up on things; just uploaded my first real YouTube clip - a less than 2 minutes long segment from Date Number One's Story 3: Start Over (it may be labeled wrong on the clip). In the clip a guy is trying to start all over with an ex-girlfriend. More & better quality YouTube clips are on the way, no doubt, as I figure out all the nifty details of making great web video files. In the meantime, here is the link to the clip, enjoy!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

"this conference is being recorded" - podcast

Over the last few months, I've been compiling a bunch of interviews for the 1st edition of the "workbook" Each week I'll be posting a new interview on the workbook site. The interviews will live as a podcast and also be transcribed and included in the body of the 1st edition.

The interviews consist of a mix of people covering a wide range of topics. Everything from fundraising to distribution.


The first episode of the podcast entitled "this conference is being recorded" features an inside look at how an indie DVD label works.

If you have any suggestions or topics you'd like to see covered please let us know - work @ workbookproject.com

If you'd like to be listed in the 1st edition of the Workbook please send the following
- project description
- status (shooting, post, distro - fest, theatrical, DVD, online etc.)
- shooting format and budget
- link to sites, blogs, social pages etc.
- link to trailer

Lastly if anyone is interested in contributing to the project we're looking for links to interesting projects, stories, case studies, how to's etc.

thanks,
L

http://workbookproject.com "a social opensource experiment "

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

Hope you have a wonderful or at least pretty cool Thanksgiving Day!

- Sujewa

Monday, November 20, 2006

Reid Rosefelt interview on WDF blog

I just published my interview with Reid Rosefelt, the indie film publicity consultant and former publicist (he worked on Stranger Than Paradise's publicity & on dozens of other landmark art/indie/foreign/specialty movies). Check out the long interview here, at The Wild Diner Films Blog.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

indie features gets a video sharing site

I know there's been talk about indie features having a centralized place to view our work, so earlier tonight I setup a ning video sharing site.



Ning is a cool service that's all about enabling community. The site will take vids from Google, youTube and most other vid hosts that allow you to embed the vid somewhere else. What's cool is it will also take
mov, .mpg, .avi, .3gp and .wmv formats. AND you can upload vid from your phone to the page if you ever want to provide some "on location" coverage.

Placing vid on the site requires a simple registration and then you can add vids etc. Plus it's ad free!

http://indiefeaturesvids.ning.com

Just click on "Add Videos" and then you'll be asked to register.
Then you can upload or embed your trailers, epk's, docs etc.

Lastly, I'm working on a free DIY resource called the Workbook Project that will launch later this year. I'm working on a DIY project lisiting section . If you'd like to have your project added please send the following to work@workbookproject.com

1. project title
2. links to sites (official site, blogs, social networking sites etc.)
3. trailer link
4. synopsis
5. two photos that are less than 300k in size

Thanks,
Lance

Friday, November 17, 2006

Doug Block adds to the 51 Birch Street/Truly Indie interview

Doug Block, the director of 51 Birch Street (now in its 5th week in theaters), adds a few more thoughts to our discussion re: working with Truly Indie (post has link to original interview from DIY Filmmaker Sujewa/The Wild Diner Films Blog):
http://dbblock.typepad.com/around_the_block_doug_blo/2006/11/more_truly_indi.html

- Sujewa

IF06 will live on as Indie Features

Because this blog has been useful: in finding out about relevant things that I would not have heard about otherwise, in building a little community of indie filmmakers & as a place for me to post non-Date Number One stuff when my main blog is busy promoting DNO. So we'll just drop the 06 (as it was suggested by a couple of people way back when this blog was started, in early 06) and continue to welcome indie filmmakers with films in distro to post stuff about their work, into 2007 & beyond.

- Sujewa

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

No Indie Features 07

My plan for the new year is to spend less time blogging & on blog related matters & to spend more time making movies & getting them out. So, I will not be doing an '07 version of this blog. This blog rocks, glad I got to do it with my fellow awesome indie filmmakers this year. And I think this blog will be more special, in a way, if it is just a one time thing, a special thing only for 2006 :) But, it would also be cool to see other filmmakers taking this idea: a group blog for filmmakers, & using it.

On the bright side, about a month & a half more of Indie Features 06 goodness to come.

Talk to you soon.

- Sujewa

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Creating an effective online press kit



Since I handle my own promotion, I'm often asked what's the best way to land press. Knowing your audience and how to identify your press hooks is a good starting point. Once you've got that down it's time to build an effective press kit. It's never too early to have a press kit for your project and always make sure to take a ton of photos - not just behind the scenes shots BUT staged moments.

Over at the workbook project site I give a brief overview on how to build a solid kit. And I open up the online press kit that I used for HEAD TRAUMA, so you can see first hand what I'm using.

So far the kit has been an amazing tool that has saved me a ton of time. It's helped when I was on the road and someone was on deadline and needed hi-res art or photos.

When the first edition of the DIY workbook is released later this year, I'll go into detail about all phases of press and promotion. If there is anything thing that you think I should add please let me know. Thanks.

Is fame, wealth & hot fans keeping you from being creatively productive? Perhaps you need The Artists Way

Yeah, yeah, I know what some of you are thinking: most self-help books are worthless. However, Julia Cameron's book The Artists Way has consistently helped me stay creative. My typical obstacles to creativity are not fame, wealth or hot fans - at least not yet :) - it usually is having a ton of day job work to do (so that bills can get paid), friends & family obligations, consuming art & entertainment instead of making art & entertainment, & the resulting stress from all of the above that keeps me away from the camera or the script in progress or the Final Cut file that needs my attention.

But after a healthy period of slacking I pick up The Artists Way book to get me ready for the next period of art work. The end of the year period that we are in now is a good time to plan & reflect & prepare for the next year. If you have not checked out The Artists Way yet, pick it up at your local bookstore or library & see if it might be useful to you. It has been very useful to me over the years.

- Sujewa

Monday, November 13, 2006

Doug Block interview re: working with Truly Indie

I just posted an interview with Doug Block where he talks about working with Truly Indie in getting 51 Birch Street out theatrically. Check it out here. Could be useful to filmmakers contemplating the many distribution options available right now.

- Sujewa

Thursday, November 09, 2006

DIY workbook project & a Best Buy promotion


As the release for HEAD TRAUMA rolls along I wanted to make two announcements.

I NEED YOUR HELP
Our Best Buy promo has been doing very well. It ends in three days. If we can close out strongly, it will send a positive message that smaller films deserve shelf space. And most importantly that they can support national promotions.

The performance of the HEAD TRAUMA / LAST BROADCAST promotion could go a long way to helping smaller films make it into Best Buy. Getting into retail outlets as big as Best Buy is very difficult but this promotion is proving that with the proper in-store promotion "truly independent" films can compete and even out perform certain studio titles.

So please help us to spread the word - cause in the end it could help all of us. Tell people to make their way to Best Buy or they can order online by clicking here.

A FREE DIY RESOURCE
I've been working on a DIY book and I've decided to make it a free online resource. The concept is part of a "social opensource info experiment" called the workbook project. It's a simple concept, the workbook is meant to be spread and edited. Meaning that content creators can add their own info, war stories, advice etc. Since the workbook is a wiki that can be saved to the desktop and edited, we're hoping that it can become a resource that is always growing.


I've included extensive info about:

  • Putting together a 17 city theatrical release
  • Building a fan base and creating buzz
  • Clearance and Delivery issues
  • A look at actual contracts
  • Getting your work into retail and rental outlets
  • Making a TV deal
  • How to deal with world sales
  • and much much more

The workbook will launch later this year but if you're interested and want to get an advance copy sign up at http://workbookproject.com

Here's a brief example of one section that details how I bootstrapped a 17 city theatrical release.


DIY THEATRICAL - part 1 of 12

The thing I find most interesting after having gone through the first couple windows of release is how broken the system is. Now I know you're probably saying no shit but I think we're at a very interesting crossroads. When something is damaged it provides new opportunities but the difficult part is identifying them. Often it seems that going in a totally different direction is an answer OR you can work the current system to your advantage. For example a theatrical release with no cash, no distributor, no booker and no publicist seems insane - and it is in the sense that it's an insane amount of work BUT it is possible.

I took on a hybrid model with the release of my newest film HEAD TRAUMA. Had a world premiere at the LA Film Fest and used it as a springboard to a platform release for HT. In other words used it to announce the project and a few weeks after was in theaters across the country. The biggest driving force for a compressed release was to maximize my limited resources and push all the press and word of mouth towards monetizing the movie. I hit 17 screens across the country by doing a bootstrapped release.

I called a number of bookers / service companies to help me with my theatrical release. I quickly discovered that there was NO way that I could afford it. So I decided to create my own model that would require little to no seed money. Here's how I released my newest feature HEAD TRAUMA http://headtraumamovie.com on 17 screens across the country.

Here's the breakdown:

Travel, lodging and some food was offset with speaking engagements at various universities and film societies. This also provided free transportation and free meals. I ended up making about $4,500 in speaking fees.

I took $1,200 from a pre-theatrical speaking engagement and applied it towards making 27 x 40 posters. I knew from past experience that posters provide a great profit margin. I got them made for a $1.40 each and then sold them for 10 to 15 dollars. To date I've sold about 300 posters and pulled in about $3,500

When it came to the screenings I found sponsors for a number of weekly city paper ads for the cities that I felt need some extra promotion. And the rest of the promotion was done via social networking sites and my mailing list / fan base from my first film. I targeted independent theaters and cold called BUT I had a pitch ready - one that explained who my audience was and how I intended to reach them. I struck a favored nations deal with all the theaters - a 50/50 split because I didn't have the cash to four wall. And I did all my own press for the release.

The main goal for the theatrical was to help with DVD sales into retail and rental outlets. My hope was to use the theatrical release as hook for a national story, to get reviews and to prevent HT from being ghettoized as a straight to video release.

Well I got a ton of press, a lot of reviews and I ended up grossing close to 15,000 dollars. I took about half of my cut of the box office and put it into online advertising for the DVD release. I also worked out deals for a number of print ads in horror publications like Rue Morgue and Fangoria.


And so far so good - the DVD just hit retail and rental outlets nationwide. In fact this coming weekend Best Buy will be doing a special national promotion. The movie can be found at Barns & Noble, Borders, Circuit City in addition to other retail outlets. Its on Netfilx and in certain Hollywood Video and Blockbuster locations. It is also in independent video stores and can be found on various online outlets such as Amazon etc.

So for me theatrical made sense, I actually made some money AND I still own the rights to my work.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Tough Enough?

This is a follow up to my recent post about sellling my film "Killing Down"...

Everything about the film business is tough. Everything.

Writing a script is tough. Finding money to make a movie is tough. Making the movie is tough. Selling the movie (if it actually got made) is tough. And even once you do sell it... yep you guessed it, it's still tough. Why is it tough even when you sell the film?

One word: DELIVERABLES

You may not be familiar with this term if you haven't sold a film or been involved with the sale of a film. It's not an everyday word, but if you're a filmmaker and have a hope to sell your film please take note of this frustrating word.

Basically it means what it says... "You deliver the movie". But, what the actually "deliverables" are is where it gets complicated and VERY expensive.

Here are the items I'm dealing with right now since we sold the foreign rights to "Killing Down"...

Final D5-HD master, only requires “access to”
Audio stems, only requires “access to”
Production Audio, only requires “access to”
DAT of film score and songs
HD footage of deletions, etc., only requires “access to”
HD title materials of all credits, only requires “access to”
NTSC DigiBeta 4x3 full frame with M&E
NTSC DigiBeta 16x9 letterbox with M&E
PAL DigiBeta 4x3 full frame with M&E
PAL DigiBeta 16x9 letterbox with M&E
NTSC DA88 of feature with M&E
PAL DA88 of feature with M&E
NTSC DA88 of 5.1 mix
PAL DA88 of 5.1 mix
“TV Version” of stereo mix
NTSC DigiBeta of TV Version
PAL DigiBeta of TV Version
TEXTLESS MATERIAL – attach to NTSC and PAL version of film, both theatrical and TV, one-minute after finish
QC report of NTSC DigiBeta Master
QC report of D5-HD Master
NTSC DigiBeta of original trailer
NTSC DA88 of trailer
(1) Dialogue/Action Continuity & Spotting List
All Production Notes/Papers from SAG, Camera Reports, etc.
100 Color Production Stills
Key Artwork
Presskit
Cast/Crew Interview footage and behind-the-scenes footage
(2) Copies of the Music Cue Sheet
(2) Copies of Composer Agreement
(10) Copies of Certificate of Origin
(10) Copies of Certificate of Authorship from each credited writer
(1) Copyright Certificate
Credit Obligations
Thomson Title Research Report
Thomson Copyright Search Report
(1) Copy of Screenplay
E&O Insurance Certificate
Characteristics of Picture
Chain of Title

As you can see this is A LOT of stuff, and as I said... A LOT OF EXPENDITURES to actually deliver the movie. I figure a rough estimate here is around $15K-$18K to get all this done. Maybe more. Not sure yet. And, we have to have all this delivered by December 1st. That's just over three weeks from now. Did I mention this is going to be tough?

For non-filmmakers reading this I'm sure many of the terms in the delivery list above do not ring a bell. A lot of it is film jargon and/or technical stuff. But, suffice it to say it is all very important and required to sell the movie and to GET PAID. That's right. We do not get paid untill we delivery all this. The next three weeks will be very, very busy for me.

So, filmmakers selling your movie... just be prepared for these costs when or if you get to this point. Like me, I'm sure most of you will be completely out of money and having to beg, borrow and steal to get the deliverables delivered.

I do find it quite ironic when you actually sell your film you still have to go into more debt. But nothing in life - especially the film business - is easy... as a matter of fact it's all really pretty tough. :)

-Blake

Friday, November 03, 2006

AMERICAN MESSIAH at the Virginia Film Festival

In case you're interested, here is the report on the screening of THE PROPER CARE & FEEDING OF AN AMERICAN MESSIAH at the recent Virginia Film Festival:


Blogging the Virginia Film Festival: Day 1


And here are my reports on the subsequent screenings I attended:

Day 2


Day 3

Monday, October 30, 2006

jumping off bridges - NEW YORK THIS WEEKEND

New York, 11/3 and 11/4
Friday and Saturday, November 3rd and 4th
7:00pm
Pioneer Theater - East 3rd St (Between Avenue A & B)
Tickets are $9.00
Filmmakers in Attendance
Advanced Tickets available: http://www.twoboots.com/pioneer/
For more information: http://www.jumpingoffbridges.com
Tickets are already selling!

Los Angeles, 11/12
Sunday, November 12th
12:30pm
Fine Arts Theater - 8556 Wilshire Blvd
Tickets are $7.00
Filmmakers in Attendance
Advanced Tickets available: https://www.readyticket.net/webticket/webticket2.asp?WCI=BuyTicket&WCE=JUMPING+OFF+BRIDGES,111220061230,1,36277,
Tickets are already selling!

Washington DC, 11/15
Wednesday, November 15th
7:00pm
AFI Silver - 8633 Colesville Road
Tickets are FREE
Filmmakers in Attendance



"Truly wonderful work"
--Filmmaker Magazine

"Touching, funny and sobering ... jumping off bridges should launch Candler into the big time"
--Filmthreat

"The performances Candler elicits from a mostly teen, mostly local cast are knockouts!"
--Albuquerque Tribune

"Sensitively handled and refreshingly naturalistic"
--The Florida Times Union

"Candler demonstrated a deep understanding of teen anxiety, angst and alienation. An emotional, smart movie."
--Moving Pictures Magazine

"Understated 'Bridges' perfectly captures teens' lives."
--The Tallahassee Democrat

"As realistic a narrative portrait of love, death, and human debris as anything you're ever likely to see onscreen."
--The Austin Chronicle

"Kat Candler's moving Austin-made teen drama has enjoyed sold-out crowds and raves."
--Austin American-Statesman

"Don't be swayed by famous (or even semi-famous) names during the (SXSW) film festival. I had better luck with Austin Director Kat Candler's moving jumping off bridge."
--American Way Magazine

"Candler's ability to take some of the darkest and most jagged truths about fear, regret, sadness, loss, suffering and pain and break them open for her audience to experience in ways that are both optimistic and honest makes her one of the most important and promising young filmmakers on the cinematic landscape."
--Filethirteen,com

"Candler is very much in touch with a particular sort of teenaged sensibility. She knows the difference between sadness and the petulance it is often mistaken for, and she treats her sullen girls and boys with the sort of patience and understanding their parents (and, perhaps, some audience members) can never quite muster."
--Ain't It Cool News.com

"jumping off bridges is a wonderfully delicate, authentic portrayal of teenagers and their families."
--Cinematical.com

“Deserving of art-house play. Unconventional and risky and aching for your patience, but will reward your perseverance.”
--Dallas Observer

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Excellent document: Scott Kirsner's "Getting Paid: Sites that Help Video Producers Make Money"

Scott Kirsner of the CinemaTech blog has compiled a list of sites that allow filmmakers to sell their work on-line, mostly through streaming & downloads, & a few cases of DVD "on demand" burning services, plus links & descriptions of several relevant up & coming services. Here is the introduction to the document:

" New revenue opportunities are emerging with the recent boom in video viewing on the Web. On this chart, I've tried to list all of the Web sites that enable video producers to make money from their work. I've ranked the sites subjectively, based on how much traffic and buzz they've been attracting, and also how likely it seems that a video producer would actually manage to earn a significant return by posting a video to them. The majority of these sites are geared shorter-form content, but a few, like Brightcove, EZTakes, and GreenCine, make it possible for producers of hour-long or feature-length projects to generate revenue."

Check out the page here.

Thanks a lot Scott!

- Sujewa

Thursday, October 19, 2006

HEAD TRAUMA - at digimart

digimart.jpg

I'm still buzzing from my experience at digimart this past week. I was invited to speak about the making and distribution of HT. It was an amazing gathering of people from all over the world discussing three things I love - filmmaking, tech and new business models. There was quite a bit of speculation regarding the future of digital content distribution during the three day conference. Variety was on hand to cover the event.

I brought the newest prototype of the IndEx media server with me. On Monday night digimart held a special screening of HT. IndEx is a low cost exhibition solution that will be released later this year. It is meant to be simple and it is. I've been using it for a lot of my digital runs. For the digimart screening we used IndEx with a 2k projector. The result was a true HD screening with full 6 channel surround. It looked and sounded amazing.

index.jpg

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sold Foreign Rights for "Killing Down"

Really good news for my film "Killing Down"... we made a deal early last week and sold our foreign rights. We sent out 75 screeners and got five offers within a week. Companies were rounding out their slate of titles to rep at AFM in Santa Monica the first week in November, so the deal happened very fast.

I held on to the domestic side of things and we have two offers pending right now, but I'm in no real hurry there. I want to play the field some and see what opportunities arise.

I'm not really at liberty to discuss the financial aspects of the deal, but we did very well. My investors are happy and in fact are already willing to put money into my next project!

The film will be released this coming spring virtually all over the world. It will very possibly do a theatrical run in several European territories and maybe Latin America. In the US and Canada (this is under negotiation) it will show up in most major DVD outlets, likely pay-per-view, and we're looking at a cable TV premiere.

BTW, I'm writing this from Hawaii right now. The earthquake yesterday was very wild and quite scary to be honest. I'm from Texas. We have tornados occasionally, but nothing like this. Luckily I'm in Maui, so we only felt a 4.5 magnitude quake. Yeah, only 4.5. I'm actually still shaking. :)

-Blake

DV Guru interview re: Date Number One & self distribution

It's a long interview, but should be interesting, specially to self-distribution inclined filmmakers. Here is the link:
http://www.dvguru.com/2006/10/16/diy-filmmaking-an-interview-with-director-sujewa-ekanayake/

Here is a segment from the interview:

" How did you get into filmmaking, and what is the draw to DIY-style filmmaking in particular?

... In 1999 I made a feature flick called Wild Diner on 16mm, submitted it to Miramax, was rejected. Around the same time Dogme 95 broke - with The Celebration in '98/'99, and I have always been a fan of DC punk rock - which is a very DIY thing - they've been DIY since the early 80's (see the new doc American Hardcore for more on that scene). So, the availability of digital video as an affordable production medium and with having DC punk as a model for DIY distribution, I slowly formulated my DIY approach to film production and distribution in the early 00's. If I had used DV for Wild Diner, it would have been a better film due to having the ability to do more takes, and self-financing it would have been possible if it was shot on DV, so all around, there were very good reasons for going DV and DIY on the next feature, which was Date Number One, a comedy about several first dates."

Thanks.

- Sujewa

Thursday, October 12, 2006

MESSIAH update

Well, I haven't posted much lately either. Just been busy and haven't been making the time. But October has been a busy month for THE PROPER CARE & FEEDING OF AN AMERICAN MESSIAH. We screened this week in L.A., at Mann's Chinese Theater, in the FAIF Int'l Film Festival.

Next up is a Friday screening in Oak Ridge, TN at the Secret City Film Festival, and then Saturday at Indie Memphis.

Then, at the end of the month, it'll screen on the opening night of the Virginia Film Festival. Morgan Freeman, Liev Schrieber, and Robert Duvall are all confirmed guests at the festival, so I'm looking forward to this one...


Hey guys. Sorry I haven't posted in awhile. When I first signed on I thought we were only a few weeks away from our premiere but there were delays for a variety of reasons. I'm sure most of you all know how it is having to beg, borrow and sell your soul to keep going. (In my case I had even less to bargain with because I sold my soul years ago at a pawnshop for a buck fifty. The next week it went out of business. I still have the claim ticket.) We will be premiering Elizabeth Gunness next week in Charlotte, NC at the Cackalacky Film Festival. We'll also be showing it a few weeks later at the Asheville Film Festival in Asheville, NC.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

jumping off bridges in Nashville, Houston and Memphis




NASHVILLE, 10/14
Saturday, October 14th
2:30pm
Belcourt Theater (2102 Belcourt Avenue)
Tickets are $8.00 general admission, $6.00 Students
Nashville NAMI Representative and actress, Savannah Welch in Attendance
For more information: http://www.jumpingoffbridges.com

HOUSTON, 10/14
Saturday, October 14th
7:00pm
Rice Media Center (Corner of University Blvd and Stockton, entrance #8 on the Rice University Campus)
Tickets are $6.00 general admission
Co-sponsored by the Houston SPC and Southwest Alternative Media Project
A panel discussion will follow with John Sargent (Baylor College of Medicine and Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry), Sharon Derrick (Harris County Medical Examiner's Office), Patricia Weger, (Houston Independent School District), and Molly Wilkins, (Harris County Hospital District).

MEMPHIS, 10/15
Sunday, October 15th
4:45pm
Muvico Peabody Place 22 Theater
Tickets are $6.00
Actress, Savannah Welch in Attendance
For more information: http://www.indiememphis.com/film.htm.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

HEAD TRAUMA hits Netflix and Best Buy


HEAD TRAUMA is now available on netflix for rent. Over the next few weeks HT will be rolling out to more stores and rental outlets.

Starting Oct. 29th through Nov. 11th, Best Buy will be offering an exclusive promotion. Customers who purchase both HEAD TRAUMA and my first feature THE LAST BROADCAST will receive $5 off the final purchase price.

With brick and mortar retail stores forced to limit the amount of indie DVDs they can carry, this promotion shows a confidence in the films by a major chain. If sales of The Last Broadcast and Head Trauma live up to expectations, they could pave the way to more DVDs from independent filmmakers sharing shelf-space with leading studio releases.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Hi from Alyson (AS) with Eve of Understanding


So I just accidentally posted a post from the film's blog, www.openplanproductions.blogspot.com onto this blog. I deleted it quickly, after cursing at myself a few times and posted it on the right blog. Insert sigh of relief here. But it made me realize that I really need to post on this blog.

I think I was waiting to post, hoping I'd have some super stupendous news to share, i.e. we sold the movie!!! Not yet. But I realized - we have other news to share.

We have a screening this coming Tuesday, October 10th, at 5pm at the Mann's Chinese 6 in Hollywood, CA as a part of the FAIF Film Festival. I'll be there, and so will many of the cast and crew members, so it should be fun!

Also, we've been doing pretty well on the festival circuit, Rebecca Lowman, our lead actress won Best Actress awards at the Breckenridge Film Festival and the Boston Film Festival - congrats to her! And we've been screening around the country, you can see more details on our website, www.EveOfUnderstanding.com

We've also been getting some great reviews, check out a review and interview with me on www.IndependentCritics.com and in Variety! Hooray!

So good things have been happening, and I realize writing this blog entry that it's really easy to get distracted by the big brass ring - distribution and paying people - and forget about all the small victories along with way, which really are quite a large victory in themselves. Though I'm stating the obvious, it's true, it's easy to get distracted. I'm attempting to get less distracted and focus on what is good, cause there's a bunch of it!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

DVD pre-book and street dates

Last Tuesday HEAD TRAUMA hit stores and rental outlets. What is interesting is how the normal pre-book and street dates of DVDs are changing for Indie films. Basically if buyers purchase prior or by the pre-book date then they're guaranteed to have the DVD by street date, if not the DVD will arrive after.

This means that smaller indie films will rollout over time making the list of available retail locations and rental outlets change from week to week. This can be a challenge when it comes to telling people where they can find the movie. The way I've been dealing with the supply and demand issue is by setting up my own store and then also giving links to various online and offline outlets as they come on board. Even though this new trend of not hitting street can be a bit confusing for fans, it does effectively let the title live past the street date, which makes it seem fresh to new retail and rental outlets.

Getting into retail and rental can be a challenge and requires a number of steps and careful planning. At some point when I have more time I'll outline them here. For now if you're interested in picking up HEAD TRAUMA or my first flick THE LAST BROADCAST you can find it in the following places. More outlets coming this week.



HEAD TRAUMA DVDs are available NOW.

The DVD is loaded with over two hours of bonus features.
* Audio commentary by director Lance Weiler
* Six featurettes:
- Cast interviews
- Blowing up a car on a tight budget
- Shooting in the house (working in a haunted condemned structure)
- Johnny Magdic and his Amazing Flying
- Comics veteran Stephen R. Bissette discusses the art of HEAD
- Behind the music of HEAD TRAUMA
* A special collector's edition eight-page booklet with original art
Bissette and liner notes by GRUDGE screenwriter Stephen Susco
* Trailers HEAD TRAUMA and Weiler/Stefan Avalos' THE LAST BROADCAST
* An Easter egg or two

The following sites are currently taking orders

weiler's online store - click here

diabolik dvd - click here 14.99

amazon.com - click here 17.99

barns & noble - click here 15.98

bestbuy.com - click here 14.99

buy.com - click here 16.75


WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT "HEAD TRAUMA"

"Any number of big-deal filmmakers - M. Night Shyamalan, for one -would be well-served by a viewing of the low-budget Head Trauma....this simple and effective psycho-thriller creates a mood of dreadand dissociation, and sustains it, without resorting to elaborate special effects, or a colorful crowd of actors, or other worldly mystical hooey." 3 out of 4 stars
- PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER

"I'm giving this film my first ever 10 and have to say the hopes and dreams of the great American horror are now on Weiler's shoulders."
- CINEPHELIA.COM

"With his second outing, Weiler proves himself a seriously skilled director. His tone has much in common with the recent spate of Japanese horror films. There's the emphasis on atmosphere, the sad, restless ghosts of the past, the jittery camerawork. It's a wonderHollywood hasn't snapped him up to helm one of the countless J-horror remakes taking place stateside (The Ring, The Grudge, Pulse). It's almost depressing to think what Weiler could have done with the recentrevision of Kiyoshi Kurosawa's 2001 chiller Pulse."
- THE ALIBI

"HEAD TRAUMA will leave you scratching yours in the midst of a fantastic, scary ride that leaves no unanswered questions and does its job with the utmost competence and sheer unalloyed glee." 4 stars
- FILM THREAT

"Works its way under the skin, raising neck hairs while teasing usto pry open its psychological puzzle box."
- LA WEEKLY

"The growling, hooded figure which dogs George through the story is an absolutely terrifying apparition, perhaps the simplest and most haunting monster to grace a movie screen since the debut of Freddy Krueger in the original "A Nightmare On Elm Street."
- BLOODY DISGUSTING

"One of this year's touchstones... Demonstrating once again that ingenuity and invention are more important than millions of dollars in budget, Weiler most effectively works within the confines of the dark house. As more and more unsettling things start to happen, it's almost as though the house were growing into a full-fledged, recently awakened character that is not sure what it wants to do when it sees that it's under attack... Head Trauma creeped me out."
- TWITCHFILM.NET

"A slick, original, attention-grabbing feature... pushes the medium to the edge of its artistic bounds."
- ALBUQUERQUE WEEKLY

"Horror outing that revives the under appreciated monster of the id to great effect."
- MOVIE CITY NEWS

"You know the ones: Jacob's Ladder, 12 Monkeys, even Lost Highway. Head Trauma is a solid induction into these halls of creepy mindfucks."
- THE PORTLAND MERCURY

"Elicits effective creeps. A well executed haunted house exercisethat treads the psychological vs. supernatural line."
- AIN'T IT COOL NEWS

"Incredibly creepy... good re-creation of 70's horror."
-TUCSON WEEKLY

"Fright classic... surprisingly effective chiller."
- THE OREGONIAN

"HEAD TRAUMA is completely pro. From packaging to film quality to the movie's website, it seems like there was big money behind this film."
- LOCAL IQ

Monday, September 25, 2006

Upcoming Screenings of jumping off bridges

For a full list of screenings, visit www.jumpingoffbridges.com.




San Antonio, TX – 9/30
Saturday, September 30th
7:00pm
Historic Guadalupe Theater (1301 Guadalupe Street @ South Brazos)
Tickets are $8 and can be purchased at the door.
Co-sponsored by the Bexar SPC
Panel discussion will follow the screening featuring.

Austin, TX – 10/3
Tuesday, October 3rd
7:00pm
Alamo Drafthouse South (1120 South Lamar)
Tickets are $10.00 general admission
Advanced Tickets available at: http://www.originalalamo.com/lamar/frames.asp
Co-sponsored by the Travis County SPC
Panel discussion will follow the screening with filmmakers and actors in attendance.

New Haven, CT – 10/5

Thursday, October 5th
7:00pm
Critereon Theater (86 Temple St)
Tickets are $9.00 (Advanced Tickets Available)

Tuscaloosa, AL – 10/5
Thursday, October 5th
7:00pm
Ferguson Center Theater (University of Alabama
Free – Open to the Public

Tallahassee, FL – 10/6 – 10/7
Friday and Saturday, October 6th and 7th
5:45pm and 7:30pm each night
All Saints Cinema
Tickets are $6.00 general admission

Bethel, CT – 10/7
Saturday, October 7th
7:00pm
Bethel Cinema (269 Greenwood Avenue)
Tickets are $9.00 (Advanced Tickets Available)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

American Film Market

Haven't written here in a while, so I thought I'd give a quick update...

AFM is right around the corner (first week in November) and I've been feverishly readying my film "Killing Down" for the event. We just got new key artwork done (for the third time) and we're pretty sure everyone (me, producer's rep, graphic designers, etc.) are happy.

Funny thing is we've somewhat fallen into that cliched trap of the "artist" versus the "suits" with comments and questions like...

1. We don't like the title...
2. Have you considered changing the title?
3. "Killing" does not test well with women
4. What about changing the title?
5. Are you sure you like orange?
6. Not sure about the movie title

Fun stuff, but you'll notice that the title is still the same! :)

We're getting our one-sheets (sell sheets really) printed tomorrow and sending out 100 DVD screeners to various foriegn sales agents, distributors, etc. We unfortunately don't have time to set up an industry screening before the market. Although, depending on what rights we sell, we might have one afterwards (I'm thinking we'll hold on to our North American rights unless we get a really good offer).

Biggest problem is all the distribution companies generally want their films at least 30 days before a market. This leaves us very little time. We hope to make a deal in the next 10 days or so - but we don't want to jump into something we'll regret later. It's a tough situation. If we wait and don't attend AFM, the next market is Berlin and they don't really cater to action/thriller type films. Then after that is Cannes, which is in May - that's too long to wait. So, it's really important that we make something happen in the next two weeks.

It's an exciting time and we hope that all our hard work will pay off soon. Please wish us luck!

BTW, I do realize my film is probably the most "commercial" film on this blog, but just because it's more commercial definitely doesn't mean it's not independent. Believe me, it is, in just about every aspect you can imagine. Heck, my step-dad even did craft service. :)

-Blake

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Awesome! An Indie Theaters Database (w/ contact info) Is Born at US DIY FILM Yahoo Group!

Many of us have talked about doing this - starting a database that DIY/self-distributing filmmakers can use, w/ info. on indie theaters that book/work w/ filmmakers directly to set up screenings, w/ contact info. & other important info, AND FINALLY someone has done it: Lance "Head Trauma" Weiler got the d-base going tonight at US DIY Film yahoo group. Join the yahoo group & explore the indie theater database, add info, make your screenings happen, help yourself & others.

I am going to add a few records to it this weekend.

- Sujewa

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Back in Scranton


The promotion is going very well. I've been working the press like crazy. Over the last two days I've done close to 20 interviews - print, web, radio and TV for national and local outlets. People are really responding to the movie in a great way.

coverstory.jpg

HT gets its first cover story

bone.jpg
On the radio with Bone from 97.9x

Hard to believe that when HT hits DVD on the 26th, it'll almost be 3 years to the day that we started shooting. I'm currently in Scranton, Pa to promote the run that opens later tonight. We shot about 50% of HT in Scranton and surrounding areas. It's great to come full circle with the project and Scranton has given us an amazing homecoming of sorts. The movie has a two week run at the Endless Mountains Theatre, which is an excellent independent 8 screen multiplex. The movie will be playing 4 or 5 times a day for two weeks!

The movie also opens tonight in East Stroudsburg, PA at the Grand Cinema and in Brattleboro, VT at the Latchis theatre. I'll be traveling to both locations to promote the runs over the next week. In Brattleboro Steve Bissette will be joining me to do an intro and Q&A surrounding the film. As I've mentioned before Steve and his son Danny created the "Nothing But Grief" comic used within the movie. It will be great to see Steve again.

Earlier tonight I spoke to a large gathering of students at the Scranton Penn State satellite campus. In each of the tour stops I'm speaking at various schools or film societies. It's an excellent way to offset travel expenses. In most cases they pay a speaking fee, provide lodging and take you out for food and drinks! What it also does is help to promote the screenings and upcoming DVD release to my core audience.

To be continued

Messiah on IFC

The trailer for THE PROPER CARE & FEEDING OF AN AMERICAN MESSIAH was selected off of IFC's Media Lab website for screening on IFC, as part of the Media Lab Uploaded series.

Now all I have to do is actually create the hi-res version! We made a standard def version and did a low-res version for web playback, and now we can't find the project file to import the hi-res clips! Yikes -- got some work to do...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

New Yahoo Group for DIY Filmmakers/Self-Distributors

I just created a Yahoo Group for DIY filmmakers/self-distributors. Hopefully it will quickly evolve into a place where DIY filmmaker/distributors can ask each other questions, get answers re: distribution & production matters - w/ out having to post Qs at the Comments section at various blogs/entries & waiting around 'till they get answered, which is how it is happening now. We'll see how it goes. In the meantime, here is the link (go join!) :http://movies.groups.yahoo.com/group/usdiyfilm/

And here is the official introduction to the group:" This group is an attempt to create a forum of communication for US based self-distributing low budget filmmakers or independent/D.I.Y. (do-it-yourself) filmmakers. Group started & moderated by Sujewa Ekanayake, director & distributor of the 2006 comedy feature Date Number One (http://www.wilddiner.com/). Hopefully this group will offer a place for filmmakers to quickly figure out answers to production & distribution questions and also a place to share experience for the benefit of other filmmaker/distributors."

Thanks!

- Sujewa

Friday, September 01, 2006

IFC.com profiles Mutual Appreciation, Date Number One, Head Trauma & self-distribution of those projects

Very exciting to be featured in a story on self-distribution at the IFC website. The story is an IFC News item titled "The Final Frontier of Filmmaking: Three Stories of Self-Distribution" written by Alison Wilmore. Here is a paragraph from the article:

"These days, a crowded market and the sheer difficulty of making money on a theatrical release has made distributors wary of taking any chances, and often when an offer is made, it's not at all favorable towards the filmmaker. Suddenly self-distribution, once an unthinkable rarity, seems like a viable option for filmmakers who are willing to do the work to get their films on screens. September may be the month self-distribution comes into its own. The three filmmakers profiled below are all in the midst of releasing their own films, and they're not the only ones."

The filmmakers & projects profiled are: Andrew Bujalski & Mutual Appreciation, myself (Sujewa Ekanayake) & Date Number One, and Lance Weiler & Head Trauma. (DNO & HT are Indie Features 06 projects, most awesome - IF06 is on the cutting edge of indie film baby :)

Read the article here.

Thanks for writing about DIY distribution Alison & IFC!

- Sujewa

Monday, August 28, 2006

GreenCine Daily Review of Date Number One

Regarding Date Number One, David Hudson at GreenCine Daily says, in part:

"... witty (I particularly like the recurring references to a band's unlikely popularity in Ohio), often inventive (the story in which the first date isn't really the first date at all is particularly well-written and performed) and, even better, airy: characters are given time and space to spell out their views on abortion, Buddhism, quantum physics or the ongoing war in Sri Lanka, views that never bear the artificial markings of a Hollywood screenwriter's compulsion to reduce them to sound-bites."

Read the whole review here.

Thanks for watching the movie & writing a review about it David!

Very exciting to see a review of my movie in GreenCine Daily (best indie film blog in the western world, no doubt), which is my favorite indie film blog (even if David's verdict on the film is a mixed one :).

- Sujewa

Movie Trailer Question - Answered!

Hi Stacy,
The person you would need to contact is (name left blank intentionally).
He is the one who reviews and approves content for the trailers site.

At this point all they need to be are films that are headed for U.S.
release. That release can be limited, but.. well.. a "real" release- not
into a college circuit or to video/web only. Verified acceptance to major
film festivals also count for placement consideration on our site. All
independent trailers are posted on a time/space available basis- submission
doesn't always lead to posting on the site. Films already out on DVD
typically do not qualify for placement on the site.

Trailers should be viewable for all audiences, free of foul language,
nudity, etc. NTSC tapes should be delivered to us on HD (D-5 1080p),
Digibeta, or BetaSP tapes. We would also consider an *uncompressed*
QuickTime movie file on a DVD-R disc. MPAA approved trailers are no
problem. We would want to encode it to assure the highest quality possible
since we are also the developer of the technology. We think you'd agree
your asset should look as good as possible. Our corporate campus is an
administrative site so tapes or DVD-R discs may not be able to be returned.
Prior notice and return packaging will need to be sent with the asset and
arranged beforehand.

Prior to posting a trailer, Apple will also need to have an email
containing:

1. Principal cast list w/ director
2. Synopsis
3. 1 sheet (theatrical poster)
4. Release schedule

That's pretty much it.

Thank you for considering our site for your trailer.

-Movie Trailers Team

--Sounds pretty doable to me!
If you want the email address for the contact at apple, send me an email and I'll send it on to you. I didn't want to put it on the web and let the trollers pick it up.
(Last one with their trailer on the apple site has to hold the boom...)

Indie Features 07 is alive!

Yup, the self-promotion festival that is Indie Features 06 will live on in the coming year at Indie Features 07 : http://indiefeatures07.blogspot.com/.

Filmmakers interested in participating in the blog should send me an e-mail with a description of the film that will be in distribution in 2007. E-mail me at: wilddiner AT aol.com

Thanks!

- Sujewa

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Posting Trailers to the Apple Site

I want to put our trailer on the Apple trailer site. I've emailed Apple and am still waiting for a response.
Does anyone here know: Is it a submission process or do they troll certain websites for trailers?
When I find out, I'll post the answer. If you already know the answer, please post it.
Thanks,
Stacy
www.jumpingoffbridges.com

Friday, August 25, 2006

jumping off bridges in Seattle and Albuquerque

Our tour officially begins in September.
Please help us get the word out about our screenings in Seattle and Albuquerque:

9/13, Seattle, WA
Broadway Performance Hall
7:30 p.m.
Tickets available through ticket window online.

9/15, Albuquerque, NM
Southwest Film Center, 7pm
Sponsored by the Agora Crisis Center

9/16, Albuquerque, NM
Southwest Film Center, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm
Sponsored by the Agora Crisis Center

6 days to go until the 8/31 NYC Premiere of Date Number One

Making travel plans, sending out e-mails, getting some DVDs & tapes ready for today's mail are the kind of "1 week 'till NYC screening" stuff I am attending to right now. Doing these one-off screenings are useful. So far each screening produced some changes to the movie. I think the version that will play on 8/31 @ Pioneer will be the very final version of the movie. So, screening #10, the NYC premiere, is coming up, & after that 100s more screenings to set up & do, DVDs to make & sell, & also need to look into VOD. Also trailers, clips on the web, posters, post cards, action figures. Right now DIY distribution is a full time commitment underwritten by full time dayjob work. DIY filmmakers/distributors are the hardest working (& sexiest :) people in show biz (next to James Brown, Michelle Mae & Ian MacKaye that is). But am glad the flick is getting out to customers, little by little. Here's all the info on the 8/31 screening in NYC. Tix are on sale now, see link below. Thanks!


DATE NUMBER ONE
http://www.wilddiner.com/
a comedy about several first dates
a movie by sujewa ekanayake

Thursday, August 31, 9 PM
The Two Boots Pioneer Theater
http://www.twoboots.com/pioneer/monthly_programs/2006-08.htm#DateNumberOne
155 East 3rd Street (between Avenues A and B, closer to A)
New York, New York
212-591-0434
ticket prices:$9 adults, $6.50 members
Buy Tix Now: http://pioneertheater.tix.com/Event.asp?Event=65968

Film's Description:"Date Number One" is a comedy about several first dates. This 115 minute movie is made up of 5 different stories: Story 1: Just Another Ninja Searching For Love, about a ninja who goes on a blind date (ninja is played by John Stabb Schroeder from the DC punk band G.I.), Story 2: A Romantic Dinner For 3, about a woman attempting to add a third partner to a romantic relationship, Story 3: Washington "City Of Love" DC/Start Over, about a writer who tries to get back together with his ex-girlfriend, Story 4: Air Quotes Woman, about a woman who always uses air quotes, and her search for a new boyfriend, Story 5: The Superdelicious French Lesson, about a first date where a character learns a little bit of French in an unusual way.

Featuring Hot DC Indie Film Stars John Stabb Schroeder, Julia Stemper, Jennifer Blakemore, Shervin Boloorian, Dele Williams, Steve Lee, Kelly Ham, Christine D. Lee, Fritz Flad, Subodh Samudre, Jewel Greenberg

Not Rated * 115 Minutes * yummy

Director will attend the screening.

"The film is about as charming as they come...presents a world in which cultures don't clash, they mesh. It's refreshing to see characters who all appear to have a natural optimism, as opposed to the typical indie-film predilection for bitterness and cruelty. "
- Michael Tully, Rotterdam & SXSW film festivals selected filmmaker http://blogs.indiewire.com/tully/archives/010529.html

"I found the characters and the premise sexy, sexy, sexy."
- Jerry Brewington, Hollywood Is Talking blog, on Story 2 of Date Number One http://hollywoodistalking.com/Blog/508/

"FIVE really entertaining, fully realized romantic interludes...a shamefully rare achievement"
- Tom Kipp, Seattle audience member, former film reviewer for Seattle alternative weekly The Stranger
http://diyfilmmaker.blogspot.com/2006/05/interview-with-seattle-audience-member.html

"Heartfelt...poignant...I loved it!"
- Jon Moritsugu, award winning filmmaker

"Date Number One is quite funny...twentysomethings and occasional thirtysomethings looking for romance recall Richard Linklater's philosopher slackers and Jim Jarmusch's minimalist attention to conversation...also a subtle, thoughtful film...might be understood as the anti-Crash depiction of life in the city...depicts a comfortably multi-ethnic community...I'd happily recommend it."
- Chuck Tryon, media professor & blogger, The Chutry Experiment blog http://chutry.wordherders.net/archives/005873.html

BUY TICKETS NOW FOR THIS MOVIE:
http://pioneertheater.tix.com/Event.asp?Event=65968
(Pioneer is a small theater, buy tix as early as possible, thanks!)

website: http://www.wilddiner.com/
blog: http://www.diyfilmmaker.blogspot.com/
Copyright 2006 Sujewa Ekanayake/Wild Diner Films

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A DIY breakdown


Over the course of the run I want to share as much of the process as I can. Here's a breakdown on how I’m working the HT release. This theatrical release is designed to:

A. Give HT a chance to play theatrical so audiences can experience the movie on the big screen. In some cases this will also help to spark word of mouth and assist in building a mailing list.

B. Help build awarness for HT on a national level – to assist in making the movie a national story.

C. Having a national theatrical release will help to position the DVD release of the movie.

So here is a brief rundown of the mechanics of the theatrical release as they stand so far. The DIY distro book I’m writing will go into WAY more detail. It will be release in 2007.

The DEAL
I worked out 50/50 splits with each of the venues so that I don't have to four wall. In some cases four walls can be great but since I was doing 15 cities without any real budget it was out of the question. I approached the theaters with a pitch, it was designed to show that I was approaching the runs as business partnership of sorts.

The Promotion
For the press I target print, radio, print, TV, web. I start each cities press push about three weeks out. I make sure to coordinate the efforts with the theaters. In fact in most cases I get a press list from them. The first wave is e-mailing and faxing a press release. Next I'll follow it up with a phone call to let them know I'll be in town for the run. And the last phase consists of two media alerts. In most cases the media alerts are for radio and TV due to the fact that there is always a chance that they could have a slot open up.

The Hard Costs

DIY on a large level can be a challenge and the biggest issue is finding a way to make money and then how to not spend money along the way.

To help offset travel expenses I booked about $1500 worth of speaking engagements at various schools and film socities. This not only helps with cash but in most cases will lead to free lodging and also free meals. It also helps drive people to the theater.

I made a run of really high quality 27 x 40 posters, which I can sell for $10 bucks each. In my experience I sell about 5 to 20 posters in a night. This money is great for food and miscellaneous expenses.

I don't do advertising unless I can find sponsorship to help offset the costs and even then I won’t do anything but a weekly city paper ad. These on average cost anywhere from 250 to 1,000 or more per ad. I’ll usally run a 1/4 page or smaller.

In each city I'll send the theaters and or street team (die hard fans) a package of flyers (b&w) with a high quality master so more can be made if needed. I’ll also include a small number of postcards. $12.00 in flyers per city and I pay $250 for 3,000 4 color front and 1 color back postcards.

To be continued…

Friday, August 18, 2006

New York City to see a lot of indie film DIY distribution action in the 2nd half of 2006


LOL, Date Number One, Head Trauma, Four Eyed Monsters, Mutual Appreciation, The Guatamalan Handshake, Jumping Off Bridges will all screen in New York City starting late August (LOL & Date Number One at Pioneer Theater in August), through September (4eyed, mutual, HT & more in September), and into late '06 (Bridges in Nov at Pioneer).All of the films mentioned are being fully or partially self-distributed.

I am preparing a more detailed post re: this wonderful occurrence, will have all the info - dates, places, film summaries, soon (let's say by Tue, got a few Date Number One edit things to do this weekend).

Post comments here about other DIY distributed low budget indie/real indie flicks that I may have missed/not heard about yet. Will look into them to include in the upcoming more detailed post re: The Heavy DIY Season New York '06.

In the meantime, check out this awesome indieWIRE article about Head Trauma & Four Eyed Monsters & their DIY distribution adventures.

Also, if you live in NYC, & you want to check out Date Number One, meet the director, hang out, you can NOW BUY TICKETS for the 8/31 Thu 9 PM show! See ya there.

- Sujewa

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Report from Portland


So far today had been great. HT has gotten some great reviews in the weekly pubs. I'm doing some radio tomorrow and I did an interview today for a major online site - more on that next week.

The ad I placed in the weekly looks excellent and the placement is killer. I did a tech run through today at the theater and everything is ready for tomorrow night. I'll be talking after each of the evening screenings this weekend - so if you happen to live in Portland or know some who does tell them to come on out to see the flick.

On the buzz side of things. IndieWire ran a nice story about HT and Four Eyed Monsters yesterday. Click here to check it out.

I got into Portland late last night. Over five months in the making and tomorrow night everything goes live.

Yesterday I finished preparing HT for a 24p HD digital transfer. A number of the screenings of HT will be making use of a new prototype d-cinema solution. A self-contained media server of sorts that provides true HD resolution and surround sound. The box is called IndEx and a team of very talented people created it. Index is meant to be an economical solution for filmmakers and theaters. A way for a filmmaker to travel with their work and no matter what venue their in they’ll have a pristine version of their movie to show. IndEx comes out later this fall. When I can I’ll make sure take a ton of pictures. And as I can release more details I’ll post them here.

I’ve added two more venues - because I’m crazy. I’ve picked up an additional screen in Seattle and the 2nd venue is a surprise, so I can’t say but I promise it will be something worth checking out if you can.

Juggling press, theatrical runs and a DVD release is a handful. I’ve been documenting as much of the experience as I can. I’m working on a book about DIY distro and the changing landscape of content distribution. Last week I brought on a co-writer and a researcher in order to help meet our deadline for 2007. We’re very close to working something out with a publisher that will have the book out in a huge way.

Even though DIY can be a bitch at times it really can open doors. The forward momentum that it gives a project is amazing. I’ve been fielding a lot of amazing offers over the last few weeks. Offers to make another movie with a larger budget, invitations to speak at various conferences, publishing opportunities, as well as a couple very cool job offers.

More to come….

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Quick Update


Here's a quick update -

Earlier today iFilm featured the HT trailer and a special "Making Of" web short on the front of their site. Since then the trailer has been viewed over 9,000 times. And if that wasn't cool enough HT is ranked #2 just behind the Descent as the most popular horror vid on the whole iFilm site. The exposure resulted in a ton of e-mails and feedback. Gotta love the internet.

In other news I've been working on a new addition to the htMob (the film community for HT) and I'm happy to announce that it's ready for consumption. It's called Head Trauma radio and I've been seeding it for the last six months or so - making it available via myspace so that people could take the code and embed it into their own profiles, blogs or pages. I've gotten e-mails from Germany, Norway and a bunch of people here in the states that have embed the simple player into their profiles and pages.

What's really cool is that once it is embed in a page or profile I can update the audio tracks at any time. So it's like my own channel that rides over myspace profiles or any where else that someone embeds it. It allows me to update people about the project without them coming to my sites.

Here's what it looks like.

htradio.jpg

It's pretty simple - some would call it an audio blog of sorts others might call them podcasts but I'm calling it radio. HT radio is something that I plan to update as often as I can from the road. I'm trying to document all the phases of making HT. I started this past weekend with a couple posts about the Twisted Horror Weekend horror convention that I attended in Ohio. I plan to give simple audio updates about my travels in addition to interviewing various cast and crew involved in the making of the movie.

I've also setup a flickr account and over time I'll be uploading all the photos from the making of the film. Big props to Martin Pepe for all his behind the scenes photography. I'll also be snapping new pics from the road.

Checkout http://htmob.com/vlog or http://htradio.blogspot.com to listen and see the pics.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Twisted



I’m writing this from Cleveland. I’m in town for a horror convention called Twisted Nightmare. I’ve been invited to speak about indie filmmaking and to show some clips from HEAD TRAUMA. The convention started tonight and runs until Sunday afternoon. I’m going to be attending a number of horror cons over the next couple months - it’s a great way to get the word out about the movie. Plus horror fans are excellent and best of all there rabid fans! I’m going to snap a bunch of pictures to share the weirdness.



In the next couple days I’ll be launching a new feature to the htmob (which is a community, promotional, viral marketing experiment) - I’m calling it head trauma radio and it’s an audio blog / podcast of my experience on the road. As I’ve mentioned before I’m trying to document as much of the experience as possible. head trauma radio is a project I’ve been seeding for the last 6 months or so. In the next post I’ll go into more detail and I’ll also provide a link to the broadcast.

HT got a nice write up on the filmmaker magazine blog yesterday. People seem to be responding not only to the movie but also the way in which we’re rolling it out.

“Lance Weiler, writer/director behind The Last Broadcast, begins a 15-city self-distribution tour of his new chills-fest Head Trauma on August 15th. Weiler, who received slack and acclaim for The Last Broadcast – the first all digital release ever, isn’t a traditional filmmaker in any sense…” Read More

Last but not least I’m happy to report that I booked the 15th screen earlier today. Next week I’ll list all the venues, dates and links. Plus it looks like I could be adding a couple of extra screens! More info to come.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Storie Girls on the move...

A month ago, we decided to self-distribute jumping off bridges in a limited theatrical release. Our goal was 20 cities across the country, partnering with local and national suicide prevention groups. We wanted to reach out to the audience that kept reaching out to our film.


Our strategy: Play in venus that are indie friendly and in areas with a strong suicide prevention coalition and work with local film festivals and film societies to arrange special screenings.

I'm happy to report that yesterday, we hit our goal of 20 cities and there is a list of more we're still working to lock down.

We'll keep everyone posted as dates and venues are locked.


Please encourage your friends and family in Dallas, Lubbock, Seattle and Albuquerque to attend our August and September screenings!

jumping off bridges: Fall 06 screenings

August
  • 8/9, Dallas, TX, Dallas Video Festival, Angelika Film Center, 7pm
  • 8/11, Lubbock TX, Flatland Film Festival
September
  • 9/13, Seattle, WA, Broadway Performance Hall
  • 9/15 - 9/21, Overland Park, KS, Kansas City International Film Festival
  • 9/30, San Antonio, TX, Historic Guadalupe Theater at Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, 7pm
October
  • Baltimore, MD, TBA
  • Washington DC, TBA
  • Chicago, IL, TBA
  • (week run), Jacksonville, FL, San Marco Theater, TBA
  • 10/3, Austin, TX, Alamo Drafthouse South, 7pm
  • 10/3 - 10/8, New Haven, CT, Connecticut Film Festival
  • 10/6 - 10/7 (weekend run), Tallahassee, FL, All Saints Cinema
  • 10/7, Boston, MA, Capital Theater, 6:30pm
  • 10/14, Nashville, TN, Belcourt Theater, 2pm
  • 10/14, Houston, TX, Rice University Media Lab, 7pm
  • 10/26, Portland, OR, The Hollywood Theater

November
  • Los Angeles, CA, TBA
  • 11/2, Montclair, NJ, Montclair State University
  • 11/3 and 11/4, New York City, NY, Pioneer Theater, 7pm

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

You can NOW BUY TICKETS to the Aug 31, 9 PM NYC premiere of Date Number One! :: less than 84 seats left

Want to experience the superdelicious, no-budget, ninja-errific DIY filmmaking & self-distribution glory that is Date Number One when the flick has its New York City premiere? Want to hang out with the filmmakers & actors, possibly make some new cool friends? Then go HERE to buy tickets to the Thu, Aug 31, 9 PM NYC premiere screening of Date Number One at the Pioneer Theater. As far as I know, less than 84 seats are available now. Buy tix, spread the word, let's have an awesome time on 8/31!

- Sujewa
ps: I am going to be speaking about self-distribution at an IFP panel event in October, it would be very nice to have a DNO NYC premiere tix sales success story to tell :) thanksalot.

A Hollywood MESSIAH?

The hits just keep on coming this week for The Proper Care & Feeding of an American Messiah. FAIF International Film Festival, which unfolds in the heart of Hollywood at Mann's Chinese Theatre October 5-14, has invited us to screen!

This is our Hollywood premiere, so naturally I'm excited and really hoping to go.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Date Number One NEW YORK PREMIERE Thu Aug 31, 9 PM at Pioneer Theater!

DATE NUMBER ONE
http://www.wilddiner.com/
a comedy about several first dates
a movie by sujewa ekanayake

Thursday, August 31, 9 PM
The Two Boots Pioneer Theater

http://www.twoboots.com/pioneer/
155 East 3rd Street
(between Avenues A and B, closer to A)
New York, New York
212-591-0434
ticket prices:
$9 adults, $6.50 members

:: link for advance ticket purchase will be available soon ::

Director will attend the screening.

"The film is about as charming as they come...presents a world in which cultures don't clash, they mesh. It's refreshing to see characters who all appear to have a natural optimism, as opposed to the typical indie-film predilection for bitterness and cruelty. "
- Michael Tully, Rotterdam & SXSW film festivals selected filmmaker
http://blogs.indiewire.com/tully/archives/010529.html

"I found the characters and the premise sexy, sexy, sexy."
Jerry Brewington, Hollywood Is Talking blog, on Story 2 of Date Number One
http://hollywoodistalking.com/Blog/508/%22Date+Number+One%22+Review.html

"FIVE really entertaining, fully realized romantic interludes...a shamefully rare achievement"
- Tom Kipp, Seattle audience member, former film reviewer for Seattle alternative weekly
The Stranger
http://diyfilmmaker.blogspot.com/2006/05/interview-with-seattle-audience-member.html

"Heartfelt...poignant...I loved it!"
- Jon Moritsugu, award winning filmmaker

"Date Number One is quite funny...twentysomethings and occasional thirtysomethings looking for romance recall Richard Linklater's philosopher slackers and Jim Jarmusch's minimalist attention to conversation...also a subtle, thoughtful film...might be understood as the anti-Crash depiction of life in the city...depicts a comfortably multi-ethnic community...I'd happily recommend it."
- Chuck Tryon, media professor & blogger, The Chutry Experiment blog
http://chutry.wordherders.net/archives/005873.html

Film's Description:"Date Number One" is a comedy about several first dates. This 115 minute movie is made up of 5 different stories: Story 1: Just Another Ninja Searching For Love, about a ninja who goes on a blind date (ninja is played by John Stabb Schroder from the DC punk band G.I.), Story 2: A Romantic Dinner For 3, about a woman attempting to add a third partner to a romantic relationship, Story 3: Washington "City Of Love" DC/Start Over, about a writer who tries to get back together with his ex-girlfriend, Story 4: Air Quotes Woman, about a woman who always uses air quotes, and her search for a new boyfriend, Story 5: The Superdelicious French Lesson, about a first date where a character learns a little bit of French in an unusual way.

*

Featuring Hot DC Indie Film Stars John Stabb Schroeder, Julia Stemper, Jennifer Blakemore, Shervin Boloorian, Dele Williams, Steve Lee, Kelly Ham, Christine D. Lee, Fritz Flad, Subodh Samudre, Jewel Greenberg

*
Not Rated * 115 Minutes * yummy

website: http://www.wilddiner.com/
blog: http://www.diyfilmmaker.blogspot.com/

Copyright 2006 Sujewa Ekanayake/Wild Diner Films

* see you there *

Thursday, July 20, 2006

More MESSIAH news

The latest on "...American Messiah" -- just found out that the film will screen at the Atlanta Underground Film Festival, August 23rd - 27th.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

DVD news

Today I recieved the print proofs for the packaging of the HEAD TRAUMA DVD. It was wild to see the final proof on a nice paper. I also ran through the DVD check disc and gave the replicator the go ahead.

So in 7 days I'll have the finished packaged DVDs. They will arrive just in time to send out for promotion and sales. Even though the DVD doesn't street until September 26th the earlier you have it done the better. It helps to get it in front of the press for long lead pubs and to also give the sales team a good lead time.

Fangoria ran a news piece about the HEAD TRAUMA DVD specs today. I`m really excited about the the DVD - the packaging is killer and there are a ton of special features. The DVD hits stores nationwide on September 26th. The DVD will have a limited run of two collectable covers.



Here`s what fangoria had to say.

Virginia Film Festival

Sorry to post two in a row, but I had to share the good news: THE PROPER CARE & FEEDING OF AN AMERICAN MESSIAH was just invited into the prestigious Virginia Film Festival. Their theme this year is "REVELATIONS: Finding God at the Movies" -- so AMERICAN MESSIAH is a great fit.

They're working on some great guests and fascinating films. You can check out the fest director's blog at http://vafilm.blogspot.com/ and the festival site at http://www.vafilm.com.

We'll be in Charlottesville in late October -- if anyone is around, hope to see you there!

American Messiah on iFilm

I was contacted by the head of the INDIE section on iFilm, to feature the trailer for The Proper Care & Feeding of an American Messiah. Check us out on there at:

http://www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2754595
And hey, if you're there anyway, leave some nice comments about the film, the trailer, or whatever.

jumping off bridges fall tour in the works

We're putting together a fall tour of jumping off bridges. Here's what we have so far. We'll be adding dates and locations to the list as we lock them down. If you live in one of these cities, please come check out the film and say hello.

Friday, July 14, 2006

back from the show

I just returned from a video dealer's convention in Vegas. I was invited to speak and ended up talking about my distro plans for HT. I meet some very cool people and made some great contacts. The show is the largest gathering of video dealer's and buyer's from around the country. I promoted the upcoming DVD release of HT with some mini comics of the website. I used a similar promotion at the LA FILM FEST a couple weeks back. There a great cost effect promotional tool with a strong impact. I do a limited run at kinkos and print them up on a laser paper. They end up costing about .22 cents a piece.


Front cover of the comic

On the theatrical end of things I've just booked the 12th screen of the run. Three more to go. I'll be posting a list of cities and venues within the next two weeks so stay tuned. If you happen to live in one of the cities let us know info @ headtraumamovie.com

The alternate soundtrack has a new release date. It will be coming out on Oct. 10th on Park the Van records. We're currently working on putting together a couple of shows that will feature some of the bands on the soundtrack accompanying the movie live. The soundtrack is called Cursed - the HEAD TRAUMA music project and features performances by:

Bardo Pond
The Capital Years
Dr. Dog
The A-Sides
National Eye
Marshal Allen (SunRa)
Greg Weeks (Espers)
Steve Garvey (Buzzcocks)
and many more...

This coming week I'll be unveiling the final package design for the HEAD TRAUMA DVD's. I'm so excited about the way the whole thing came together. I'll be posting some hi-res photos for everyone to see. More details about what's on the DVD and within the packaging will be announced very soon.

Lastly, I started yet another social network experiment for HT. So far I have a myspace and tagworld profile. And now the newest addition to the social networking family is a filmmaking social network called iklipz. It's too early to tell what I think of it. I'll keep you posted.