From Famine to Feast!

I’m sure every filmmaker out there knows what its like when you struggle and try so hard for so long just to get your work noticed. Its not easy getting peoples attention these days unless you do something completely crazy that most people would say is not worth the effort for the slight possibility that it may still not get noticed. I say to hell with that “Its easier to not try the try at all” mentality! If you are as serious about your dreams as I am then there are no limits and there are no boundaries unless of course you harm another human or animal or do something so sick in the process that its simply morally wrong. I guess common sense which isn’t so common would come to play there. I know that I have sacrificed my home, wife and my health on many occasions just to get my movie done and in the process Ive been documenting it all on video accumulating footage for a documentary which I plan on releasing tilted “Dare To Dream”. Its about my struggles right from day one, actualy 5 years of footage of trying to make it even before I started Bong.

I really don’t know why I’m so obsessive with making movies or why watching them and collecting them makes me feel the way it does. Its almost like oxygen to me as in I need them to breathe and to live. Its also a great means of escape which we all need now and then in today’s fast paced world of credit debt, global tension and economical hardships. Im sure some of you know exactly what I mean when I say movies are like my life line.

Now that Bong is officially finished and I actually am in the marketing phase of things it seems that important people around the world are finally beginning to take notice. By important people I mean dream makers who have the authority and the connections to put my film in the light where others can finally see what I’ve accomplished for the past 2.5 years all alone in my dark basement studio. All the thousands of hours of neck cramps, leg cramps and carpel tunnel is finally becoming worth it!

Dealing with distribution offers is a whole other ball park when you’re used to trying to get a hold of them and instead ending up with the same generic answer of “Just send us a screener copy and we’ll let you know”. It seems that distribution companies are a tight nit circle of friends who pass information to one another and somehow they are all interconnected from all corners of the world. Of course most are in competition with one another but others have partners in corners of the world which help extend their reach. I am now getting emails, and phone calls from them instead of the other way around and its a great feeling that someone is noticing my hard work! However not all distribution companies are interested in the struggling filmmaker trying to make it scenario which is a major back story to my movie. Some simply want to buy the product, ie The movie and turn around and sell it for a profit and dont care whether or not Ive almost died several times trying to make the film. Others on the other hand love the idea that there is more to the film and that there is passion sweat blood and tears which have made the final product and they want to explore that aspect as well. I’m leaning more towards the companies that care about my story as a filmmaker and my movie at the same time. At this stage most filmmakers get taken for everything because they are so excited that someone is finally paying attention to them so they sign without knowing what they are actually giving away! I’m lucky enough to have been researching distribution offers and the dos and donts for the past 2 years way before I even shot my first scene. Best thing I ever did was invest in Stacey Parks Book “The Insiders Guide to Independent Film Distribution”. This book is the bible for indie filmmakers and if you don’t own it then you are already on the wrong path! Do whatever it takes to get a copy and read it then once you’re done reading it, read it again then repeat! I always had distribution in mind which is why I did a lot of the things I did during production and post such as creating various posters for the different corners of the world and translating my press kit to 4 different languages and so on.

Filmmakers need to realize that the days of having no options but to go with a distributor are over! Finally the little guy has a voice and has a very big friend in his court and that friends name is “THE INTERNET!” In today’s world we have so many online options for self distribution which makes it a whole lot easier to get found! We have Netflix,Amazon,Createspace,IMDB,Youtube,Without a box etc. the list goes on and on. All these companies are now a huge part of self distribution which is a common root for people like me and you. We no longer have to jump to the first offer that comes down the pipe because we can do it ourselves and its been proven. Look at “Paranormal Activity” which got rejected from every major festival and distribution was not knocking. A film which cost peanuts to make grossed 240 Million! Of course using a reputable distribution company will give you a more wider reach right from the start but heck if you self distribute and it blows up then distributors come knocking anyways.

I’m of the opinion that if you want to get your film noticed then do whatever you can to make sure its done rationally be it self distribution or taking the first offer on the table. If the deal is good and its what you want then go for it! That said if you are not in any hurry to recoup your expenses which is my scenario then take your time and do the festival circle and build clout, do the platform theatrical release in your hometown and generate press etc. Remember I only spent 5 grand on my movie so im not in a desperate position to make that money back. I plan on making sure that Bong not only becomes a success but that it also launches my name and allows me to be able to do more films. I am not a one hit wonder and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. I simply want whats best for the film and myself which is why I’m actually turning down some offers and asking others to hold off until I look at all the offers carefully. You should never jump into a decision that could affect the rest of your life without scrutinizing it to bits! Having a lawyer helps a great deal especially one who specializes in entertainment law. Now being a brokeass filmmaker means you probably cant afford one and neither can I quite honestly but Im lucky to have one through a family member so it helps a great deal. I have no advice on how to get one without going further into debt. I’m pretty sure you can get a one hour free consultation perhaps with a lawyer who actually cares. Pick their brains and see if its worth retaining one.

All in all I’m happy to be where I am right now where I can say yes or no or maybe to the offers coming forward. It lets me know that I’m on the right path and that there is great potential in my film. Remember though don’t be cocky just be realistic and honest. When I say be honest I mean be honest with the distribution comapnies you are dealing with and with yourself. Does your film have the potential to become the next “Blaire Witch Project” or “Open Water” or “Paranormal Activity” ? If you think it does and others who have seen it say it does then in the famous words from Fubar….”Giver!”

New trailer and website coming up soon so please check it out!

Thomas

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