what strange feelings today
melancholy and gratitude
let-down and joy
after a week of emotional elation
and social media overstimulation
We launched the film into the world on Friday, March 8, releasing the trailer and announcing the World Premiere at the Ashland Independent Film Festival on April 13.
Within the first 24 hours, the trailer had 10k views and 200 shares. Now it is up to almost 20k views and 400 shares.
I took the weekend off to complete my 30-week sleep-out challenge with a snow camping adventure to South Brown Mt Shelter. A friend and I slept outside in bivy sacks, woke up covered in 3 inches of snow, and had a cozy breakfast by the warmth of the shelter’s wood stove.
Last week was an ending, a beginning, a launch and a turning point.
Full of a frenzy of emotions, joyful and anticipatory, followed by the inevitable crash.
Why are beginnings and endings so wrought with emotional swings? As much as I try, I can’t steady my feelings, and even in the midst of elation, I feel the crash coming. Hold on and breathe, I tell myself.
I was right; I couldn’t keep up the pace outlined in last week’s post, apparently not even for a few days. But in the past, I would have kept going, pushing through.
Non-stop production-brain won’t work for me this time. I have to slow down, or I (and my family) won’t survive. I have help; I just need to figure out how to delegate better. After all, delegation is one of my stated, committed, and promised growth-lessons this year, and my resolve is being tested.
Steady is better… Slower is faster… It’s just not always easy when your heart is entwined in your art. Maybe there’s no way around it; releasing a film into the world is vulnerable, full of highs and lows.
when we released the trailer
it was the best, most intense
sometimes such intensity
turns into neediness
my dog reflected back his own neediness
in parallel with my elation
Pogo is almost two
throughout his life we’ve worked
to relax his nervous system,to calm him,
to help him grow up
some days his brain still breaks
on friday he heard noises outside
and barked for three hours straight
before finally falling asleep
out of exhaustion
i was close to
inflicting bodily harm
and i do admit to sending at least one
blood-curdling scream in his direction
he stopped for a second
and cocked his head sideways at me
why do these things happen on the same day
the best and the worst
it happens to me a lot
in phoenix, az
nine years ago…march
we released calvin marshall during spring training
a beautiful bird
a bright-feathered parrot
flew from the buildings on my left
directly under the tire of the car in front of me
a cloud of multicolored feathers
covered my windshield
elation to despair
in ten seconds
Is elation just despair in a deceptive wrapper, an intense form of fearful wishing?
Are my dog’s broken brain and that poor parrot’s fate reminders, lessons, anti-synchronicities, or just randomly associated coincidences?
I don’t know.
I do know that gratitude, hope, joy, love, friendship, community… those are the aim, positive and grounded.
As I’ve been writing today, I’ve started getting excited again. So if nothing else, this blog is helping me to re-engage each week, to honestly face some of my fears, realize the work that is getting done, and be honest about what still needs to be done.
Last week was spent fully on the launch of the trailer, updating the website, and announcing the world premiere.
I feel behind on everything else such as booking venues and enlisting partners in each city. We are exactly 3 months from our first tour screening and still need commitments for at least 5 dates in the first two weeks. This makes me a bit nervous.
This week, we will finish the end credits & the DCP and re-focus on booking venues.
We don’t have clarity yet on if the PAC bookings will work, but first indications are, probably not.
Our best results so far are from partnering with film festivals to do off-season special screenings. We have booked four potential dates this way.
Once venues are locked, we can fully focus on promotions and partnerships in each city.
Social media stats, views, engagement and monetization
We had a bit of fun releasing the trailer. We knew the AIFF premiere would be announced on Friday, so we timed the trailer release with that announcement and did a five day countdown. We had good audience engagement, and it built excitement towards the trailer release and the “surprise” AIFF World Premiere announcement. We also had our first piece of press in the Mail Tribune / Daily Tidings:
The Lundgrens are noted masters of suspense and dramedy (drama-comedy) for their earlier works, “Calvin Marshall,” “Black Road” and “Redwood Highway.”
AIFF Artistic and Executive Director Richard Herskowitz noted writer-director Gary Lundgren’s comedy skills, adding, “All the actors in the film’s wonderful ensemble create idiosyncratic, funny and believable characters the audience will love and not want to let go.”
Producer Annie Lundgren notes the movie is “about hope, friendship, community and how you just keep going.”
The trailer has almost 20k views. The post reach is 40k with 25% engagement and 400 shares. We had 200 new page likes. The percentages are high compared to average social stats, but I’m not sure how they will translate into future conversion rates.
A team member said they would try to get the views to 20k by end of today. I’m sitting here thinking, what does that mean? How do you do that? Do you just magically make the views jump by 2k? And if you do, does it matter? There is so much I don’t know. In a way, I love not knowing the answers to these questions. It’s all so new, and now I get to watch, learn, and find out!
(Side note on Black Road: we released the trailer completely unassociated with a screening or digital release. The trailer had 5 million views on a third party site, but those views were not leveraged or monetized.)
In terms of monetization, our strategy is currently focused on audience engagement followed by ticket sales to screening events.
On Friday, we did offer two pre-order digital products and tested them with our email list. We had a couple sales — our very first dollars for “Phoenix, Oregon”! This was promising, but we haven’t decided if or when we will promote the pre-orders on social.
We are first focused on selling out each screening event.
To that end, in parallel with the world premiere announcement, we created a FB event for the AIFF screening so that we can remind fans when tickets go on sale March 25.
Later this week, we will announce a second screening and start a count-down to ticket sales a week later. There will be 150 tickets available, and our goal is to sell them out within one week. As tickets are sold, we will begin to collect revenues.
The poster will also be done this week. We are working on final color tweaks and creating different sizes for web, social, flyers and theatrical marquees.
BTW — what are the sizes for these over-the-door theater marquees? I can’t find that info anywhere online. It’s like this whole distribution thing is an unspoken language that only the studios know, because no one else needs to know…
a few snippets from my personal journal…
what in the world is the artwork size theaters need
above the door
the ticket booth
a bit of a frenzied mess last week
overstimulated by the trailer release
couldn’t tear my eyes away from Facebook
i counted every 100 views
completely unaware of their meaning
certainly not monetizing those 3-second views
and not really sure how to yet
but this moment
right here, right now
this is a special moment
and i’ll take it
and be grateful
there’s something about
choosing to take more control
of the process
like we are driving the press cycles
instead of the press driving us
instead of waiting to be coddled
and told the film is good
we are telling people
why it is good
what we love about it
who will like it the most
and that feels good