Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Starting from the ground up. Again.

In response to my last post, in which I cast some doubt on the release of my collaborative feature film Deadroom, Sujewa suggested that I follow Andrew Bujalski's example and sell DVD-R screeners through our website.

This is a tempting option, but at this point, there's a big difference between Bujalski's film and our own: demand. Mutual Appreciation has received enough acclaim that (compounded with the success of its predecessor, Funny Ha Ha) there are a significant number of fans and fans-in-the-making willing to buy the film sight unseen - and then buy it again when it gets its official release. I'm certainly one of them. I jumped for joy when Bujalski made the film available on his website. I didn't even mind when the disc wouldn't work in any of my DVD players, and I had to rip a disk image on my Mac and use the Apple DVD player to watch it. I really, really wanted to see the film.

My co-directors and I don't have that luxury. There was a time last year when we should have made a no-frills copy of Deadroom available, but that moment has passed, and I'd wager that if we did so now, we'd sell five, ten, maybe twenty copies. The film will no longer sell itself; we have to sell it. And we're going to need more than a DVD-R in a jewel case to do that.

We actually have at least two screenings of the film coming up in the near future (one organized by our very own Sujewa), and I hope that we can have DVDs available at them; and hopefully, they'll be of an official sort, with commentary tracks and extra features and attractive packaging (but that depends on if we can afford to have them pressed, and if I can find time to edit the behind-the-scenes documentary and other extra features). We'll be starting from the ground up again, and seeing how far we can get.

And if it doesn't get anywhere, you know, that's okay. We had a great experience with the film, and we learned a lot; at this point, if anything happens with it, it'll sorta be icing on the cake. I don't think too much about it these days (although I probably should) because I'm far more excited about focusing my attention on my new film, which is currently in post-production and will definitely be available this year - before, during and after any screenings it might recieve.

But more on that later (unless you tune into my own blog, where I talk about it quite frequently). In the meantime, I'm finding inspiration from posts like the one Joe made below, and Brian Newman's wonderful article over at Springboard Media. These are exciting times to be making and distributing films; mistakes will be made, sure, but you know what? I'm looking forward to making more of them, because they mean that I'm getting my film out there. There's always something I'll know better next time - and the beautiful thing about being a passionate, self-reliant independent filmmaker is that there always is a next time.

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