First off, thank you to all the Big Hollywood readers who had so many nice things to say the past few months about our new documentary film, “Fear of a Black Republican.” Your comments were so inspiring and so many folks wanted to know where they could see our film – that we took a step back to think about how (with limited means) we could get our little movie “out there.”
Well, in the spirit of “Colonel” Tom Parker and THE POLICE – ’78 Tour of America (in a cargo van), we have gone ahead and put together our own “Southern Tour – 2011” for FEAR OF A BLACK REPUBLICAN. After driving twelve hours or so, we will be having our World Premiere in Atlanta GA tomorrow at 7 PM at the Landmark Theatre – Midtown Arts Cinema. Two days later and four hours up I-85, we’ll be screening in Charlotte NC on June 25th (Blumenthal Performing Arts Center) and then in Greensboro NC on June 26th(Carousel Cinemas at Battleground) . These will be the first public screenings ever for our little film. We did hope to add another city or two, but as this is our first foray into “Movie Touring”… we figured short and sweet would be smarter and safer.
In order to make this tour happen, we are “four-walling” (renting out) two movie theaters and are renting and sharing space in a “black box” theater running a stage play. Luckily, the space can project films and do stage plays in the same venue. Pretty convenient, but if you ever want to do something like this, here are a few things to think about ahead of time: Insurance and advertising. In booking our theaters, we learned that you now have to have some type of “Event Insurance” to screen your film as an Independent filmmaker. Ouch. Enough said.
Regarding advertising, we learned that you cannot rely on the theaters to advertise your film as their distribution agreements with the studios essentially prohibit them from publicly advertising your film. However, their own box office websites can include your film. Now, I can tell you that all three venues we will be screening at have been great to us and I could not recommend them more.
However, you as the filmmaker/producer will have to work really hard on sending press releases, calling media, creating & placing ads and creating posters and postcards (if you can afford them)… if you want people to know about your screening. Also, you need to go old-school and send out movie postcards. A lot of folks might say don’t do this, but I think a short hand-written note with a hand-written address still means something. We sent over 200 postcards (and did e-mail) to all the colleges and university Political Science and History Departments in Atlanta, Charlotte and Greensboro. Hit your niche market, right?
We’ve also been fortunate to have some allies in all this. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank all the folks who know social media WAY better than we do and who are trying to help us promote our screening. There are people we don’t even know trying to help us because they want to see us succeed. That is very humbling and I hope we do succeed for our sake, for them and for other right-leaning filmmakers. Because it would be nice if the next right-leaning filmmaker who makes a film has a lot easier time finding a distributor. Self-distribution is controlling your own destiny, but a lot of “wheel-inventing” goes on in trying to prove that there is a market for films like ours.
The past few months have been exciting, fun, challenging, inspiring and expensive at times – but empowering too. In putting together “Southern Tour ’11,” I’ve come to realize that many of us (myself included) tend to forget that while there is always risk involved, but there is also the great possibility for reward too. And that we can’t wait for “someone” to come find us and our work.
We’d love to have some of the many Big Hollywood readers in our audiences, so if you are in driving distance of Atlanta, Charlotte or Greensboro – please join us in our first public screenings. You can find tickets and/or check out our tour at www.fearofablackrepublican.com/screenings .