My Film Goes to Distribution Maybe | Designing a Film Poster | Mic Sickness
I have spent thousands of hours of my life talking and/or singing into microphones. Recently, though, it seems every time I get an announcing gig I spend the next week sick.
I don’t know if it’s my advanced age, a dip in my immune system thanks to the relative seclusion of the pandemic, or just extra aggressive modern viruses. Whatever it is, I just spent the last week making noises like someone trying to unclog a sink with a mop doused in chili.
At night, the noises get worse. Imagine someone jammed a saxophone into a walrus’s mouth and then shoved it down a long stairway and you’ll have some idea of the honking and wheezing. Even the world’s greatest wife was driven away to sleep upstairs for a night and she’s the world’s greatest wife.
I have another gig this weekend. I guess I’ll just spray the microphone and everyone — and everything! — else down with hand sanitizer? Ah, well.
Thanks to Speed Week and then being sick for a week I haven’t been able to spend any time writing to you or working on my documentary film project(s). But I’m back. For now.
The Wine Film Goes to Distribution…?
I hate to say it’s “done,” because my experience with big projects like this one (The Mostly Serious History of Wine) is, every day the end is one more day away. But I did hit the targets I needed to hit.
I found and hired a producer’s rep. His job is to help me communicate with potential distributors, with whom he, ideally, already has some relationship. I did this because I decided not to go the self distribution route.
I am a do-it-yourself kind of guy. I like learning new things and I have some experience with how promotions and marketing work. Had I finished this project ten years ago I would most likely have done it all myself.
But things have changed in those years. Most notably, social media has changed. It is extremely hostile to creators like me and, not for nothing, also hostile to other stuff I like such as democracy, vaccines, social justice, and so on.
I recently looked into buying some small YouTube ads for my animated show Grievance Gulch. I got back a notice from YouTube that in order to purchase ads from Google to promote my show (currently on the streaming network Tubi) I needed to produce a sheaf of documents proving that I own the copyright to the material I was trying to promote.
Mind you, the material in question is already uploaded to YouTube.
So, they don’t care about copyright if you’re adding content to their ecosystem. But if you want to use their ecosystem to promote content elsewhere, all of a sudden you need documents.
I have used Youtube/Google/Facebook ads before to good effect. But that was then. And this is now.
This is not to say that I think a distributor will do all the marketing that needs doing for my film. By no means do I think that. I still have a few tricks up my sleeve. I just don’t want to deal with ad buys on the socials.
Designing a Film Poster
My producer’s rep gave me a to-do list before we could approach distributors. First up? Film poster.
Luckily I already had a poster. Unluckily, I hate it.
I wanted something with a lot of images on it, but this is inelegantly done. It’s just screen grabs from a few royalty-free videos run through some sort of vaguely painter-ish filter. It’s not going to work.
Since I’ve made the film on an absolute hypermicro budget, though, I have lots of odds and ends I photoshopped throughout. So, I used those to come up with something that evokes the sort of Giliam-esque spirit in which I intend to present the world of wine.
Hopefully you agree with me that this one is better. My producer’s rep said:
I think it’s fun. It will work for our purposes. It’s very hard to predict what a distributor will think.
This jives with my previous experience going back and forth on cover design with my novel publisher. What I thought looked right and what they thought looked marketable were in very different worlds.
Next steps are I need to get some blu-rays produced. So, I had to do some graphic design for those too.
It’s a little insane to me that there’s still a need for physical media but here we are.
I just hope this project goes well and maybe makes a little money. Thank you so much to every one of you for reading, and especially to those of you who support me and my work by going paid. It means a lot.
I’m pleased to note that you guys seemed to enjoy the Medieval HOA idea I’m co-writing with. Those will come out on Thursdays and alternate between his publication and mine. Next one will be here on Thursday.
If you missed the first one, it’s here:
Thanks again. I hope you’re doing well out there. If you see a microphone, whatever you do, do not put it near your mouth.