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Old August 28th, 2011, 06:38 PM   #1
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Show My Film?

I have completed my documentary this spring and now I'm seeing how many film festivals will reject it ; )

I know this is a niche film but the goal is to get some financial return from this project, which as my plan goes, is in the very earliest stages of promotion.

But to the issue at hand: Friends and neighbors have been hinting about having a showing - most likely outside in the evening at my house. I have the projector, screen, and sound system to do the job properly so that will not cost me anything. But private showings are not really part of my plan. I have had regional theaters inquire about showing the film before it was completed due to it being about a local subject.

So what do you guys think, should I have a private showing?

Due to my schedule, I have only one or two weekends available to do this showing before winter sets in and the group would be too big for showing it inside at my house.
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Old August 28th, 2011, 07:20 PM   #2
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Re: Show My Film?

I would definatly do the showing.. if anything it will give you a fresh perspective about how others view the documentary and if the message is coming over to the audience.. See it as a test :)
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Old August 28th, 2011, 10:57 PM   #3
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Re: Show My Film?

I suggest you show it to as many friends as possible. The feedback will be beneficial. You might even get some local word of mouth going.
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Old August 29th, 2011, 05:11 AM   #4
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Re: Show My Film?

Private screenings are pretty normal for many productions, they don't affect the festival life of a film. They're handy for feedback, most broadcast productions have gone through a tough process of scrutiny and comment by TV executives. It's easy to become blind to flaws in your own film, so it's a necessary part of the production process, although not always welcome, however, I can't see your audience being that difficult.

Best thing is to watch the audience rather than the film.
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Old August 29th, 2011, 09:24 AM   #5
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Re: Show My Film?

Could be a good idea. Have it, then try to get a closeby date set with the regional theater too, so that you can make an announcement during the showing about the local premiere. Could build word of mouth for a larger audience as people who attend your showing could tell friends, coworkers etc. about it & it's theater date.
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Old August 29th, 2011, 04:08 PM   #6
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Re: Show My Film?

Thanks for the input! I guess I'll set up a date. I joke with the wife that I'm going to tell them to stop by the "gift shop" on the way out so they can buy posters and DVDs - but I not that brash.

"Plan A" was hoping to get accepted to a festival (I know it is a long shot), then use that as a reason to send out a press release to the people I know at the newspapers, TV, etc. At the same time try to get booked in the regional theaters so I can publicize a couple things at one time. Makes it look like the movie is the happening thing. I have a number of festivals that will be making decisions within the next two months and if I strike out there I'll try a "Plan B".

I did show it for the group of people that it was about and the response from that biased audience was great - it got laughs, tears, and I even got some hugs afterwards!

I had also shown an early cut to some people who knew nothing about the subject, but whose opinion I value, that was helpful.

Thanks again guys.
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Old August 29th, 2011, 10:24 PM   #7
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Re: Show My Film?

Make cards for them to fill out anonymously after the film:

Stuff like:
What was your favorite part?
What was your least favorite part?
Did the film feel long? (if several people say that it felt long the film could be dragging etc etc)
Did you understand the story telling / was it clear?
If you could cut any part out what would it be?
etc

What Brian said is a good idea too, watch your audience, if people are shuffling and moving around a lot after about 30mins or so that might mean that you are loosing their attention and you may want to take notes regarding these parts.
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Old September 4th, 2011, 07:20 AM   #8
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Re: Show My Film?

We had the showing last night and the film was very well received. Maybe it was the wine : ) We had lots of good discussions afterwards and every person there said that they want to attend the festival (the subject of the doc) next year.

I can also say that as I watched it again I seen very little that I would change - maybe move an edit point here or there but that's about it. I don't know about you guys but I usually am not that satisfied with my work but this was one of those projects where I could work on it till it was done and I didn't have to meet a deadline.

So in the end, thanks for good advice.

The fun is over and the real work begins - selling this thing!
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Old September 6th, 2011, 01:50 AM   #9
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Re: Show My Film?

Great, that the showing went so well and that the film was received the way you have wished it would be. Now, as you have said, the real work actually starts - it is about time you do everything step by step... connect with agencies, do a little bit of promotion and then everything will come to you, if you just work hard enough it will definitely work out! :)
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Old September 7th, 2011, 09:29 PM   #10
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Re: Show My Film?

Well the last couple days of inquiries has resulted in a number of requests for screeners from distributors and reps, still have some more to contact. Just the first steps on a long journey...
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Old September 9th, 2011, 06:00 PM   #11
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Re: Show My Film?

Wow what a week! Although I was told that my film made it to the semi-final round in one festival's selection process - I don't think that I will bother with any more film festivals because of the response I've gotten from the distribution market so far...

If the purpose of a film festival is getting distribution for your film why pay money to festivals (and then get rejected) when you can go directly to the people that you want to talk to at a festival. They have seemed very receptive even to my niche movie!
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