That’s a Wrap!

Much as we’ve enjoyed the experience, think both Chris and I let out a collective sigh of relief on Friday night – or rather, around 2am Saturday morning – when we finally slumped into bed. Don’t let anyone tell you differently: executive producer is not a title to be taken lightly. Still, seeing a packed theatre for the 8pm screening made it all worthwhile. We’d spent much of the previous week faxing and calling newspapers and radio stations, and were rewarded with a blast of publicity, that translated into 400 bums on seats for the first showing, and an eager queue of people outside waiting for the 10 o’clock show [which, if truth be told, started about 10:30 – it was always a little optimistic to cram introductions, two music videos, a photo montage, a 1:50 movie, and post-showing thanks into a two-hour time slot!]

We were taking tickets at the door and running the merchandise stall, selling copies of the film on VHS for $5, and the DVD, with the commentary mentioned last time plus a bunch of other stuff, for $20. Between sales, we watched the movie twice more, making a total of five times in the past week. Though for the sold-out first show, we were reduced to peering round the corner – it was a bit like watching a pan-and-scan version. When you see a film that often, it takes on a whole, surreal air: you find yourself watching characters in the background as they play chess with packets of sugar, spotting extras from one scene turning up elsewhere, that kind of thing. You see it on a different level, when you no longer need to listen to the dialogue, since you can pretty much recite it verbatim.

Not that the week leading up to the premiere was without its troubling moments, most notably when, during the pre-screening, Zach noticed the sound and picture were out of sync. Some horrible moments ensued before we realised this was not down to the actual DVD – which we’d signed off as perfect, that very afternoon – but a flaw in the projection system. Phew. With the first screening out of the way, we now go full-steam ahead onto the festival circuit. We’re going to submit it to them for the next year, giving us a complete round of possible venues, and once that’s done, we’ll be after some kind of commercial distribution deal. Whether we tie-up with some distribution company, or go straight to a chain (such as Best Buy, Suncoast or Blockbuster) will depend – probably on what offers we get!

It is comforting, on this level, to realise what a huge amount of product is out there – a trawl along the shelves reveals any quantity of DVDs which make our microbudget production look like a Spielberg picture. It’s clear that digital camcorders have made it easy for any idiot to make a picture, albeit one on the level of kindergarten finger-painting. If you film it, they will come. However, our film festival trips have shown us that an enormous number of great movies never see the light of shelves. Just looking over our top tens for the past couple of years – where are Ever Since the World Ended, Boys From Madrid, and Dead Dogs Lie? So, it’s safe to say that our duties as executive producers are not nearly as over as we thought. Sigh… 🙂

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