Real-Time Distribution Case Study, Week 22: Labyrinth, Customers & Audiences

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We are currently screening to a friendly crowd of 60 plus in Santa Rosa. It is filled with family and old friends, some of which we haven’t seen in thirty years.

Gary is dispatched with Flannery & my nieces to the mall for ice cream while I get a moment to work.

Last night we screened in San Francisco and walked the peaceful Balboa neighborhood between Golden Gate Park and the ocean.

Flannery and I journeyed the labyrinth — releasing, accepting, and welcoming all that is this tour… and re-establishing my priorities: for one, this astounding young woman.


Our RV is becoming home — a safe retreat, provider of food and bed.

It is still without a working (or understandable) AC, solar and electrical system. If anyone knows an electrician, AC or solar expert, please send them to meet us in Modesto or Tucson before we are swallowed whole by 100 degree temps.


In the last two weeks, I’ve had a paradigm shift in how I think about customers & audiences. In the past, we’ve thought of customers as individual audience members.

But these specific individuals are hard to find, and reaching them one at a time is not scalable. The major studios often reach them by spraying money so that at least some marketing dollars rain on the right people.

But for indies, there is another customer: the independent cinema owner — or any aggregator of audiences and curator of content targeted to specific groups.

It finally hit me during an art-house Q&A as I felt a wash of love and gratitude from both the theater owner and their loyal community: theater owners need content to provide to an audience hungry for nourishing cinema.

In return, their loyal audience supports the theater and keeps them in business. If the theaters don’t have content, they can’t serve their customers. We provide product to our customer, the theater owner, and they provide content to their customers, the individual members of their community. If successful, the theater owner becomes a life-long customer and some members of their audience become customers of future films.


The best part of the tour has been meeting the audiences.

It’s hard to describe.

I have had moments of such overwhelming gratitude — not because audiences like the film, but because these audiences exist: people who seek out similar films as me.

As movie-goers and artists, we often feel alone. I no longer feel alone.

There is something about this movie that allows us to recognize each other — even people I’ve known for a long time but have not fully seen.


we are meeting our tribe
 the audience we hoped for

i feel gratitude every day
and love
and awe

for so long
i thought
they didn’t exist

this time
(like carlos)
we visualized

we imagined someone
sitting in a dark theater

being moved
inspired, impacted

i have been changed by movies

movies are needed

but so many are
bang-them-up thrill games

early on someone asked
where’s the conflict in our film

it’s inside

but who looks inside these days?
who is brave enough to look inside?

it’s easy to pretend conflict exists on the outsideor in someone else

looking inside is scary

but some people can’t help but look,
are cursed to look,
their whole lives

who makes movies for them?

for those who look
who accept
who give in
to mystery
and love
and fear
and the unknown
yet still keep striving

holding it all
knowing they don’t know
risking creativity
and wonder
and hope
and dreaming

thank you for existing

with each screening now
the audience inspires me

i have opened my heart to believing

♡ Annie

photo credit: Luis Rodriguez


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