Real-Time Distribution Case Study, Week 16: Six Screenings, Seven Days

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In a simulation of the tour, we had six Q&A screenings last week, four in Portland, one in Ashland, and one at the Rainier Independent Film Festival in Ashford, WA.

May 13–19 by the numbers

  • 7 days
  • 6 screenings
  • 22 hours of driving
  • 672 audience members
  • $5506 gross ticket sales (with average 50% split)
  • $1515 merchandise

Gross receipts as of May 19

  • $11,190 gross box office (special screenings + theatrical)
  • $2,087 gross merchandise sales
  • merchandise sells well in person, especially when signed by an actor
  • apparently solar flares break credit card readers
  • unlike a touring band, during the “performance” we don’t have to perform
  • screenings night after night can become a fun routine
  • audiences are warm, welcoming and appreciative
  • even with tv appearances & social blasts, it is challenging to fill theaters
  • at least half of the audience attended through invitations from our partners (we’ll want to focus on partners in every city)
  • given the option, I’d choose not to compete with playoff basketball games

It was amazing having Jesse with us in Portland. He did interviews, signed memorabilia, greeted fans at restaurants, gave hugs, and endlessly validated & encouraged his fansin their own endeavors. He is brilliant, warm, vibrant, caring and loving, and always thinking ahead about how to grow and expand in life and in work. Forever grateful for having this kind human as part of our project.

We did a ton of promotion in Portland but only reached a fraction of the population. In the future we’ll try partnering with community groups who can better spread the word. The theaters promoted to their members, and their efforts drew at least half of each audience. This confirmed the importance of partnering with theaters with loyal bases.


The first night I was a bit of a basket case as was reflected in the fizzled-brain of last week’s blog post. I was nervous but unprepared to be nervous. After a day of driving and a three hour stop in Salem to talk to legislaturesabout film tax credits, I was off my game, tired and wound up.

But by Tuesday night, I was back on track and calm. Tuesday night’s screening is the one I’d duplicate across the country if I could:

  • an engaged, all-age crowd, there for a purpose (in this case to see Jesse)
  • a cozy, historic venue
  • an enthusiastic crowd even though our smallest of the week
  • flawless merchandise set-up and sales (done in parallel with the Q&A)
  • beautiful questions related to the themes of the film covering topics from family to aliens to feeling out of control to mid-life dreaming

We are taking notes and will try to duplicate successes across the country.


It has felt so good to screen the film night after night. There is no space to get nervous about people seeing the film. I just need to remind myself of how well the screening went the night before.

During the film, we are free to hang out, work, eat dinner, or watch a game at the pub. We don’t have the sweaty, throat-busting job of playing instruments & singing. We just have to be “on” for one hour at the end of each screening. (i.e. easier than band tour)

This week, we are working on:

  • adding more bookings & venues
  • securing press in upcoming cities
  • finding partners in each city
  • logistics (forwarding mail, making a packing list, finding parking, etc)

The real adventure is soon to begin. Thanks for following along!

♡ Annie


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