Being Yourself

Yesterday, I gave a talk and showed a bit of my film, Opening Our Eyes,

Movie poster for Opening Our Eyes

at the PACA conference in New York City.  I had been asked by ASPP to speak about the making of the film and my plans for distribution.  To tell you the truth, even though I’m always thrilled to show and/or talk about the film, I was a bit nervous with this crowd.  PACA stands for the Picture Archive Council of America and its member include some of the biggest stock photo agencies in the world, including Getty, Corbis, Masterfile and Alamy. I was nervous because part of my message was that I no longer needed the validation or others to get my stories to market.

I thought my message would be somewhat threatening, because I was telling the audience that content creators no longer needed the traditional gatekeepers of the past, to get their stories “out there.”  That because of technology, it was possible for the individual to have a global reach and if one is willing to do the work – the prize is all theirs – meaning the monetary rewards.

I had a tough time slot to speak – right after lunch  –  I knew that I would be dimming the lights for the film and that is never a good thing to do in that time slot.  But, Tom Kennedy had given his very inspirational talk about new media and new opportunities in the  marketplace.  I had heard Tom’s talk  as part of ASMP’s SB 3 series this past year – and I knew that my presentation was a great follow up to his – and in fact it was almost like a case study example of what Tom was talking about.

My presentation went amazingly well and as I looked out into the dimly lit audience as the film was playing – I couldn’t see any closed eyes.  I felt that I made a connection, and that perhaps in some small way, I had made a difference.  Maybe, I just got people thinking about what they could do to make a difference in their own lives.  And maybe I had influence beyond that.  But, I know that I stayed true to myself.  My intent was not to come off as threatening  – but I did want to make people feel a tiny bit uncomfortable.  It’s when we get uncomfortable that we push ourselves to a better place.

My message was simple.  Someone doesn’t need to lose – in order for someone else to win.

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The Movie “One Sheet”

If I thought that by finishing my film, I was done – I was sorely mistaken.  My work has just begun.  What would have been the point of putting my heart and soul into a film for the past year and a half, if no one sees it? That means there’s a lot more work on my part, getting it out there – distributing it, marketing it and promoting it.  All that takes time, money and expertise.

I’ve been reading Jon Resiss’ book “Think Outside the Box Office” “The Ultimate Guide to Film Distribution and Marketing for the Digital Era”.  It’s become my bible. For starters, it lays out what a filmmaker needs to do to get their film out there, create an audience and make money.

In terms of publicity, every film needs a good press kit, which should include:
•    One Sheet – with tag line
•    Synopses – long and short
•    Cast and Crew Bios
•    Director’s statement or interview
•    Production stills and video interviews for the electronic press kit.
•    Production stories – something interesting about the making of the film.
•    Technical specs

When I first heard the term “one sheet”, I wasn’t quite sure what that was.  It’s pretty much what it says it is – a one-sheet piece of paper describing your film, but it it’s concise with provocative visuals and a catchy “tag line”, designed to peak interest, whether it is with the press or the movie going public.

A “one sheet” can also be what most of us call movie posters.  They are essentially the same thing – a one sheet with imagery and text to capture someone’s attention.   Some movie one sheets are works of art in their own right and become collectibles.  Think of some of the best ones that you have seen over the years.

Sounds like it should be fun – coming up with a “one sheet” for the movie, but even though I have a lot of great content for a “one sheet”, I don’t have the skills needed to create a composite for a movie poster. There are people who just design movie posters – that’s their niche.

I’ve learned a lot in the process of making a film.  The most important thing, I’ve learned is to make relationships and collaborate with others who can bring their expertise to the project.  It’s not only a rewarding process, but it raises the bar on the final outcome.

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