Archive for the ‘entertainment’ Category

IMAX 3-D… Movies Are Worth It Again

July 16, 2011

My movie-going attitude has changed completely.

For a few years I’ve been almost completely turned off from seeing movies in the theater. Whether it’s the cell phones ringing, or people texting or talking or the (literally) meth-head-ghetto-hillbillies sitting next to me. At almost every screening I fill with anger at some point due to rude audience members who think they live in a bubble and have total disregard for the other viewers. Or, in the case of “The Tree of Life” a groundbreaking, thought-provoking, philosophical film with an extremely (for the most part) respectful audience the projectionist used the wrong lens for the 2nd or 3rd reel so the total immersion of the film was completely broken. Paying $10.50 to increase my blood pressure and misanthropy is not worth it. So, for the most part I’ve dedicated myself to going to New Haven’s Criterion Cinemas on Tuesday night when the theater is mostly empty and it only costs $6. That’s worth it, right?

I used to think so until last night when I saw “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: part 2” at the IMAX 3D theater in the Connecticut Post Mall in Milford Connecticut.

Two weeks ago I saw the new Transformers movie in 3D at Criterion Cinemas. Throughout the movie I felt like I had to focus to be able to make out the 3D effects. It was like looking at one of those hidden-image 3D pictures. I expected the same of the new “Harry Potter” movie. The best 3D experience I had had to date was “My Bloody Valentine” in 3D, the movie looked great and the 3D really popped. I wasn’t too impressed with Avatar’s 3D. There were some good effects but it wasn’t a game changer for me, it was still just a gimmick.

“Harry Potter” in IMAX 3D changed all that. I cannot stress enough how amazing this film looked. I was truly transported and mesmerized throughout the film. The IMAX screen and massive sound blocked out the fact that I was in a sold-out theater. The 3D was impeccable and, dare I say, magical. It doesn’t hurt that the movie was fantastic too (I wasn’t much of a Potter fan before watching the last 3 movies over the previous 2 nights). But, I came away with the impression that even a crap-tastic film would move up at least one or two notches in my opinion based solely on the IMAX presentation. IT WAS INCREDIBLE. A true event movie-going EXPERIENCE.

Why ya gotta be so mean?

A ticket cost $16.50 which seems like an enormous price to pay just to go see a movie, and I choked when buying my ticket on-line but now I have a new value system applied to what I will pay for a film.

$6.00, Tuesday night discount at Criterion New Haven: It’s still pretty much worth it to see the top-notch art-house films or even the big budget blockbusters after opening weekend.

$8.00 – $11.00, Matinee – Regular priced at most theaters near me: Not worth it. The typical experience of seeing a movie in a theater is a waste of money at these prices. I won’t see a regular movie at these prices again. (add in the $3+ surcharge for standard 3D and it’s DEFINITELY not worth it)

$16.50, IMAX 3D – Truly the ONLY way to see movies going forward. I was on the fence about seeing Cowboys & Aliens, if it plays at IMAX 3D I’m there. Captain America, I’m there. The extra cost of the ticket pales in comparison to the experience. (edit: Just found out the next IMAX 3D movie scheduled is “Real Steel” which I wasn’t too interested in, but you can bet I’ll be at it now!).

At first I thought I would never see a “regular” movie in the theater again (My home viewing experience is just fine, actually it’s preferable to most of my experiences in the theater) but then I realized that “Another Earth” is out this coming weekend (July 22nd) and if it plays in New Haven I’ll go see it for $6 the following Tuesday.

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“There Was A Young Man With No Head…”

May 18, 2010

Hello Family, Friends, Colleagues and Fans,

BIG News today! Our second film, “BURNING INSIDE” (which just had a hugely successful World Premiere at the Connecticut Film Fest), is NOW AVAILABLE ON DVD and Digital Download through our distributor at Channel Midnight http://bit.ly/BI-CM .

It is now time for us to mobilize our army and find an audience for this film. We hope you’ll help us in that effort.

There are a number of ways to help:

1) Forward this as an e-mail to EVERYONE on your e-mail list. Sure BURNING INSIDE was described as “a raw and grinding midnight movie” (Deadline Magazine) and “A challenging and altogether harrowing experience” (Shock Cinema) but you never know who might appreciate that kind of thing, or forward it on to their friends too. (It was also “highly recommended for lovers of smart films.” (fearzone.com)

2) MAKE MONEY! Become a Channel Midnight / BURNING INSIDE affiliate and earn 10% (almost $2 per DVD!) of every sale made with your personal link! Go here for details: http://bit.ly/CM-Affiliate . If you have a moderately trafficked website, blog, facebook, or twitter this option could be pretty darn lucrative. (make sure to put your affiliate link in this e-mail before you forward it on). (If you need assistance setting up the affiliate program, please e-mail me. I’ll be happy to help.)

3) Quick Copy and Paste for Twitter and Facebook (feel free to replace the link with your affiliate link, or customize however you want):

Check out my friend @nathanwrann new movie BURNING INSIDE now available on DVD and Download http://bit.ly/BI-CM

4) Join our Facebook, and twitter pages and repost, retweet, share, “like” and spread the word through social networking: www.facebook.com/burninginsidemovie www.twitter.com/nathanwrann www.twitter.com/channelmidnight http://www.facebook.com/pages/Channel-Midnight-Releasing/101936676513987?ref=ts

5) Go to http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003MHMU88 and write a review! (It’s amazing how important reviews on Amazon are.)

In short, it’s all about the numbers, the more people that know about it, the more successful it will be.

If you are a member of the PRESS please contact me at nw [at] daltongang-productions.com for press releases, press kits and copies for review.

THANKS EVERYONE!

We truly appreciate and rely on your support to help get the word out about this film.

Nathan Wrann & Kimberly Dalton

Dalton Gang Productions

p.s. We’re still fighting for that Audience Favorite award from the CT Film Fest (we prefer to call it the Best Audience Award). So please go to http://www.ctfilmfest.com/site/node/280 and vote 5 stars for us.

What the critics have to say about BURNING INSIDE:

“impressive…writer-director Nathan Wrann unleashes an unsettling psychological mystery, imbues his story with a unique look and pace and works wonders… a challenging and altogether harrowing experience for discerning horror fans.”

– Steven Puchalski, SHOCK CINEMA

“BURNING INSIDE is a raw and grinding midnight movie, unsavory grim in parts then slowly contemplative.”

– Marcus Stiglegger, DEADLINE MAGAZINE

“There is an awareness of filmmaking as a storytelling medium at work here that you will not find in a multiplex… A wholly original and daring piece of cinema. It’s rare that acting, cinematography and editing work in such perfect harmony to create something this unique… Highly recommended to lovers of smart films.”

– Greg Lamberson, FEAR ZONE

Available now, the BURNING INSIDE DVD includes:

• 120-minute feature film

• 12-part featurette containing more than one hour of behind-the-scenes footage and interviews

• Collection of trailers for BURNING INSIDE and other exciting upcoming releases.

The DVD is now available for purchase at Amazon.com or directly from the Channel Midnight shop or for rent at YouTube. More streaming and Video-on-Demand options are on their way.

For more information, visit channelmidnight.com

BURNING INSIDE *World Premiere* at the CT Film Festival

April 21, 2010

My second film, BURNING INSIDE, is screening at the Connecticut Film Festival (CTFF) in Danbury, CT on Saturday May 8th at 10pm at the Danbury Music Center!

The BURNING INSIDE CTFF webpage is here: http://www.ctfilmfest.com/site/node/280

Tickets are now on sale here!

If you’re coming in from out of town here are some hotels to stay at:

Kim & I will be staying at The Maron Hotel with rates starting at $79 (203) 791-2200…
There’s also The Ethan Allen Hotel $89 (203) 744-1776…
and $89 at The Holiday Inn Hotel (203) 792-4000.
Make sure you mention the group code CTFF when calling in for your reservations.

At 10:30am on Saturday May 8th I’ll be participating in a panel called My First Time: Rookie Filmmakers on Their Debut Projects at the Palace Theater in Danbury (Sib Law who did the green screen and some producing duties on Burning Inside will also be participating in the panel) (tickets: https://the-connecticut-film-festival-llc.ticketleap.com/buy-tickets/festivals-and-fairs/my-first-time-rookie-filmmakers-on-their-debut-projects/danbury/94E7C736-ECA6-4DBD-B5DF-4F0BA051966 ).

I highly recommend that you check out the CT Film Fest webpagehttp://www.ctfilmfest.com/site/ . There’s a ton of great events, musicians (The Sawtelles, who contributed the opening title song to HUNTING SEASON are playing on Saturday at 7pm) and very informative panels going on for the entire week.

Please pass this invite onto all of your friends, family, fans, tweeps, facebookers, myspacers etc!!

Kim and I hope to see you there!

We’re planning on spending a good deal of time around the festival events passing out flyers, if you want to help out, let me know and we’ll get together to work to promote this thing.

http://www.daltongang-productions.com
http://www.channelmidnight.com
http://www.facebook.com/burninginsidemovie

Film Promotion… Rube Goldberg Style

March 25, 2010

One of my RSS feeds and daily spots to visit on the web is Mike Everleth’s excellent underground-film blog, Bad Lit.  Yesterday (March 24th, 2010) he posted a great blog about on-line underground film promotion. He touches on the current Facebook/twitter follower-building school of thought but focuses mostly on the general ineffectiveness of current underground film promotional websites to actually do their jobs and promote a film. Here’s an excerpt:

There’s a lot of chatter online these days about the need for filmmakers to promote their films on the Internet. This chatter typically translates into the need to send out massive amounts of stupid Tweets and irritating Facebook updates. If you do those things, the theory goes, you’ll build an interactive “community” around your film online and generate interest that will build as your Twitter and Facebook profiles gain more followers.

As a whole, I agree with him. I really, really do. The general conversation in the indie film/DIY/DIWO/Self-Distribution world is about to seismically shift from “Distribution” to “Promoting” and Mike does a great job of comparing underground film websites with a model that currently seems to be working: WebComics. However, there are inherent differences between feature (or short) filmmaking and webcomics that prohibit promotional film websites/blogs from having the same interactivity that webcomics have.

A good webcomic will put 1 or 2 pages up per week. That means that it is the job of the comic creator to post NEW content regularly. At the same time the new content is posted the comic creator can also post a blog commenting on what they have posted (like Jason Brubaker does with the excellent webcomic ReMind) I think it’s a great model. In contrast a feature filmmaker can’t post 1 or 2 scenes per week (if they do it’s now a web series (Like Wreck & Salvage. series Mike mentions) and not a feature or short film). So, either “special feature” content needs to be posted on a regular basis or it gets posted when there’s “news,” which in the indie film world is usually bunched up into busy spurts with months of “inactivity” between.

As a filmmaker I would love to be able to put up a behind the scenes clip every day that I’m on set. But at the end of a day that usually extends past 14 hours, blogging just isn’t on the schedule. Having a producer around that is willing to document the “making of” (Like the Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then blog he links to) would be a Godsend. I don’t want to diminish her blog, I’m sure it’s fantastic (haven’t had time to read it yet) and I’m sure she is very busy during the course of the production but when you’re the writer/director/camera/production designer/editor etc etc blogging isn’t conducive, and can be a bit distracting actually. Looking at her blog I see that there is only 9 subscribers, I don’t know if that is reflective of the overall readership but if it is, considering the ample amount of time that she has put into it, I’m not sure what the cost/benefit analysis would say about that effort.

Another issue (for lack of a better word) that I have is that creating an interactive website to promote a film is the beginning of a Rube Goldberg machine. Follow me here: I’m making a movie that I’m going to want to promote. So I create a blog/interactive website to promote the film. I get 1 or 2 random hits per day. So I create a facebook page to promote the blog/website to promote the film. I get a hundred or so friends (mostly people that already know about the film). So I create a twitter feed to promote the facebook page to promote the blog/website to promote the film. I get a bunch of followers, and still only a dozen random hits per day. So I create a youtube account to post videos that I tweet about to promote the facebook page that was made to promote the blog/website to promote the film. Then I make a press release to promote the video I just posted on the youtube page that is also mentioned on my twitter feed to promote the facebook page that promotes the blog/website that was created to promote the film. A couple of web magazines post the press releases and I get a few more followers to my twitter feed that was made to promote the facebook….. I think you see where I’m going with this.

Like I said I agree with Mike. Web presence is definitely a major part of building awareness and finding a way to use it successfully is the golden ticket. Looking at other models from other arts is definitely a good place to start (people started comparing the indie-music scene and indie-film scene about a year ago or so). Looking at what they do successfully is as important as seeing why it’s successful for them and if the same successful properties will apply to indie film. Maybe the solution is to have “press” on set every day of the shoot, rather than just one or two days, and let them do the content for you.

This is a great conversation to have. Does anyone have great examples of websites/blogs that you frequent that have helped you to be aware of a film that you might not have otherwise known about? Post the link in comments. And make sure to visit Bad Lit for the whole article.

This blog was directly inspired by Bad Lit.

p.s. @MikeEverleth thanks for the RT of my tweet of the facebook post that mentions the article in Fangoria about the launch of the Channel Midnight website which will be distributing my film BURNING INSIDE.

Movie of the Day – 03/03/2010

March 3, 2010

I will post a picture of my tv screen displaying a scene from a movie I’ve seen recently and you’re supposed to guess what movie it is from. The picture will be something that can be identified by someone that saw the movie, but not by someone that didn’t (at least not very easily). Leave your guess in the comments.

Movie of the Day 03-03-2010

Movie of the Day 03/03/2010

Movie of the Day – 02/26/2010

February 26, 2010

I will post a picture of my tv screen displaying a scene from a movie I’ve seen recently and you’re supposed to guess what movie it is from. The picture will be something that can be identified by someone that saw the movie, but not by someone that didn’t (at least not very easily). Leave your guess in the comments.

Movie of the Day

Movie of the Day 02-26-2010

“You Might Have Noticed”

February 8, 2010

Brand new interview with me up at Colonel’s Crypt

Check it out if you have 20 minutes to spare (I’m typically long winded).

A Brave “New World”

January 29, 2010

I finally joined the iPhone horde.

First thing I did was download and watch Terrence Malick’s “The New World

The movie never looked so good. This is, no doubt, the way it was meant to be seen.

Reciprocating

January 22, 2010

I was looking at my stats the other day and noticed that people were finding their way to my blog from a site that I go to often for ideas and information but was unaware that was linking to me.

The site is http://newbreed.workbookproject.com/ and is, essentially, a collection of independent filmmakers blogging about their experiences, ideas and plans for making their way through the independent film world from development, through production, festivals and finally (mostly DIY) distribution. The blogs really cover a wide range of topics that affect independent filmmakers from how to act at and what to expect from film festivals to how to make and sell merchandise for your film. The specific blog that linked back here is one filmmaker’s (Ben Hick’s) blog about “The Idea That Could Revolutionize Independent Film“.

You may initially think that only independent filmmakers will find the site interesting but I assure you that film fans will find a great deal of usable insight as well. It’s no secret that independent films are quickly disappearing from the normal chains of distribution. Distributors aren’t picking them up, theaters aren’t screening them, stores aren’t carrying the DVDs. But this is where film fans can learn how to find independent, self distributed films. Read these blogs and look at them in reverse. You’ll be able to see what filmmakers are doing to get their films out there (whether it’s Todd Sklar’s traveling road show of touring movies or T-shirt distribution to independent stores) and ultimately learn where to look for them. So when you see an ad pop up in your Arts/Alternative Weekly newspaper for an indie film playing for 1 or 2 nights you’ll know where they’re coming from and how desperately they need you to go to their screening.

There’s that old movie cliche where the super-sleuth needs to “think like a thief” to catch the thief, well independent film fans are going to need to start thinking like independent, DIY filmmaker/distributors in order to catch an indie film and The New Breed is a great place to start.

(Another great resource is Ted Hope’s Truly Free Film blog.)

IndieFlix vs CreateSpace Update 6

January 7, 2010

Background: My first film, “Hunting Season was released nationwide on August 1st, 2009 via Cable and Dish Video on Demand (VOD). In conjunction with the VOD release I wanted to capitalize on the added exposure by offering DVDs for sale on-line. The best way to do this without dropping a minimum of $1,000 up front is to distribute through one of the DVD On-Demand sites, www.IndieFlix.com or www.CreateSpace.com (there are others but these seem to be the most popular). Since both sites are non-exclusive I decided to distribute through both of them simultaneously to see which one offers the “better” (in my opinion, for my needs) experience, and document it all here.

I have 2 requirements:

  1. I will ONLY be selling DVDs on Demand. Both of these sites offer numerous digital download options. None of what I write about here will take that into consideration.
  2. I want to price the DVDs as low as possible but still make an acceptable amount of revenue per disc (equivalent to the average that I will receive per VOD purchase).

Please see the previous blog post “IndieFlix vs CreateSpace Day 1″ and IndieFlix vs CreateSpace Day 2 and IndieFlix vs CreateSpace Update 3IndieFlix vs CreateSpace Update 4 and IndieFlix vs CreateSpace Update 5 to catch up.

I’ve pretty much completely written off CreateSpace as an option at this point. It has NOTHING to do with their service. The fact is that, at this point, IndieFlix is offering me everything that CreateSpace is offering, and more.

WOW! It has been a LONG time since I updated this blog. I would LOVE to say that a lot has happened in the meantime but… I’m getting ahead of myself.

First, an apology: I apologize for leaving everyone hanging for so long. My intentions were to continue to follow-up and post updates whenever there were new developments in the IndieFlix distribution of “Hunting Season” and you will soon read why there haven’t been any updates in awhile (aside from the fact that I’ve been extremely busy co-writing a novel, writing a new screenplay, and working on distribution of Burning Inside (which will be coming out in the spring via James Felix McKenney’s (MonsterPants) new “Channel Midnight” distribution banner)).

This story continues where the previous chapter left off, My contact at IndieFlix, Mike Williams, sent me an e-mail on September 10th with the following information:

Dear Nathan,

This is just a quick notice that your film “Hunting Season” will be released for sale at IndieFlix next Tuesday, September 15th.  A few of points of preparation:

§         I need to pass along to our Marketing department the answer to one key question for their release promotions— “Why does someone need to watch this film?”  In one or two conversational sentences please let me know the answer and I’ll pass it along to them.

§         If you haven’t already, please be sure to add as much information about your work as you have into your ‘Manage Film’ page online (***).

§         If you have a specific preview scene clip (about 1 minute) that you’d like customers be able to watch and haven’t inputted the time code to your Manage Film page yet, please email that time code or give a scene description to me and I’ll pass it along to Production.

Finally, please feel free to let me know soon if you’d prefer that date be postponed (i.e. the date doesn’t fit for your marketing push, if you have custom DVD artwork that you need yet to send, etc.) and we’ll be happy to do that.

That’s great right!!!??? The only problem was that I got this e-mail on the 10th and the movie was being released on the 15th, how am I supposed to get Press releases out for web sites to put this in their “Coming Soon on DVD” sections?? It wasn’t going to work out for marketing purposes, plus there was no mention of an Amazon.com release date.

I responded to Mike the same day at around 8pm Eastern Time (IndieFlix is in California) with the following:

Mike,

This is great news but I do have a few questions:

1) We have previously discussed making Hunting Season available on Amazon.com. Will it be available on September 15th?

2) When do I set a price for the film?

3) I have submitted custom artwork, did you receive it?

4) Do I get a “proof” copy to approve?

Mike got back to me at 3:30pm the following day:

Amazon takes somewhat longer to get the films released so it’ll take a couple more weeks there, I believe.  We can ask them to set up a pre-sale page if you’d like, however.  That wouldn’t take long at all or we can hold the IndieFlix.com release for a coordinated release.  Just let me know what your preference is.

You can set/change your pricing at anytime just let me know what you want and we’ll make the adjustment.  The DVD default minimum for feature length titles is $9.95.

Production has your artwork and it’s all set

Since IndieFlix is primarily a consignment distributor all copies must be purchased but the good news is that you’ll receive 70% net back as a kind of rebate in the form of your quarterly royalties.  Later this year we plan to implement a wholesale purchase option so you can get the discount upfront.

As always, please don’t hesitate to let me know should you have any further questions/concerns.

Totally acceptable answers within an acceptable time frame, my man Mike Williams has always been good.

I replied:

Excellent!

I would like to do a coordinated release with Amazon. I’ll set a higher price point for the Amazon sales but I’m sure I can get more coverage in the genre websites for a DVD release if the DVD is available in multiple places. I just need to know when that release date will be so that I can get press releases out on time.

Thanks for all your help on this. It’s been a real pleasure working with IndieFlix.

And he countered:

Nathan,

Okay great, I’ll let Production on this end know to hold it and will let you know as soon as I learn the date Amazon will have.

So at this point we were all set and had a little bigger window to be able to get the word out, once we knew what that date would be.

13 Days later (on 09/24/09) I received the following from Mike:

Dear Nathan,

This is just a quick notice that your film “Hunting Season” will be released for sale at IndieFlix next Tuesday, September 29th in conjunction with the Amazon.com release.  A few of points of preparation:

§         Our Marketing department needs you to finish the following sentence:

Someone needs to watch this film because …”

§         Using brief casual wording (something like a Twitter post), please let me know how you finish the sentence and I’ll pass it along to them.

§         If you haven’t already, please be sure to add as much information about your work as you have into your ‘Manage Film’ page online (***).

Finally, please feel free to let me know soon if you’d prefer that date be postponed (i.e. the date doesn’t fit for your marketing push, if you have custom DVD artwork that you need yet to send, etc.) and we’ll be happy to do that.

Hmmm. This e-mail seems a little familiar. (but, hey, I’m not too concerned that they use a form letter to let producers know the release dates. They’re probably pretty damn busy). The only problem is that the letter was, once again, sent FIVE days before the DVD was coming out! This leaves ZERO time to do any marketing. But what the hell, let’s just get it out there.

I sent out press releases to every magazine and web page that was remotely associated with indie film, horror or movies in general (and we got at least one good mention: shocktilyoudrop) with the big news.

And then the BIG DAY arrived: Hunting Season was released for sale at IndieFlix.com and Amazon.com on September 29th, 2009!!

I got an e-mail from Mike on the special day reminding me:

Your film, “Hunting Season,” is now up for sale at IndieFlix (http://www.indieflix.com/Films/HuntingSeason1).  Unfortunately, due to a delay in the roll-out of our new VOD platform, the 30-Day Streaming Rental option isn’t yet available.  We expect it to be up by this weekend or early next week.  If you’re working with IndieFlix for VOD Only your Film Detail page is up so that customers will be able to see the Preview and once our developers are ready we’ll turn on that option.

Also, “Hunting Season” is now available at Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Hunting-Season-Nathan-Wrann/dp/B002Q0WKCS/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1254249251&sr=1-10.

Our most successful films are those for which the filmmaker is out spreading the word about their work so please be sure to talk about it, send emails, blog, hold screenings, and do all you can to let people know that your work is available.  You can also update information about your film and track your sales in real-time, anytime online via your Filmmaker Account (**).

As always, don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have regarding the film.

(NOTE: The VOD platform rollout didn’t affect me because I was not distributing Hunting Season digitally)

(NOTE: Since the very beginning of this process IndieFlix had been mentioning a NEW PLATFORM that they were developing for their site)

Nevertheless…

It was a very exciting day. I tweeted and facebooked and myspaced and e-mailed my ass off telling everyone I knew that the movie was now available for sale on DVD at Amazon (and IndieFlix)! I asked all of those people to tell everyone that they knew. E-mails were forwarded and champaigne was popped. So now all I had to do was watch the Hunting Season “Sales Ranking” at Amazon.com tick downward from its starting point (84,399).

It was a long wait, so to make the time go by and continue my research comparison between IndieFlix and CreateSpace I bought myself 1 DVD from each of the two vendors (NOTE: I believe that the DVDs sold on Amazon are made by the same manufacturers that makes the DVDs for CreateSpace. If they aren’t please let me know.)

Product Comparison:

The DVDs from Amazon and IndieFlix played identically and at the same quality of the master that I sent in. The “special features” (Trailers etc) and menus that I put on the master also found their way onto the Amazon and IndieFlix discs

The differences between the two are apparent in the packaging:

The Amazon DVD package and full color disc printing are mint. The graphics, images and text are all the same high quality that I would expect from a store bought studio DVD. The paper is a high quality heavyweight gloss stock.

The IndieFlix DVD packaging and full color disc printing are of slightly lower quality with and a little off-color with some visible digitization. This is primarily visible in the yellow text of the title, which seems a little greyish and textured. Also the paper is lightweight and clearly perforated around the edges.  Chances are it was printed with a high-end inkjet printer.

Customer Service Comparison:

I ordered the Amazon.com DVD on September 29th with their in-depth order summary, and the auto-confirmation e-mail they sent me on the day that I ordered I can confirm when I placed the order and what credit card I used. Amazon tells me that the order shipped on October 4th and I received it on October 7th.

Unfortunately purchase tracking isn’t as comprehensive with IndieFlix, in fact I am currently unable to find any purchase history when I login to my account and the link at the bottom of the confirmation e-mail sends me to a “page not found”. I did save a PDF of the order confirmation which tells me that I placed the order on October 4th. I do remember it took a considerably longer period of time to receive the order from IndieFlix than it took to receive the order from Amazon.

A few positive things that should be noted:

Amazon.com put a “pre-sale” page up for Hunting Season

On September 30th Amazon.com sent an e-mail to a filmmaker that I know with the following: “Dear Amazon.com Customer,As someone who has purchased or rated “Spoils”, you might like to know that Hunting Season is now available. You can order yours for just $9.95 by following the link below.” Which is great from a marketing standpoint!

IndieFlix included Hunting Season on their “IndieFlix NewFlix Tuesday” mailing that goes out to all of their mailing list subscribers

IndieFlix featured Hunting Season on their main page as a new release for at least a week after its release date.

A few negative things that should be noted:

IndieFlix had serious platform issues leading up to and following the launch of their new site. Hunting Season was originally available on DVD at the OLD site, I had entered a description, bio and all of the other necessary info. When the new site went live all of the info that I entered disappeared. Also Hunting Season was available on DVD and WAS available as a digital download! This was a major problem because of my VOD contract. I contacted Mike Williams and he got the tech team on it right away. Apparently this wasn’t an isolated incident and affected other films across the site. However when the tech team did their fix they removed the DVD and left the download. Another e-mail to Mike got the issue elevated and fixed 3 days later.

Other issues with the site upgrade: The sales tracking feature was missing. To this day, sales prior to October 12th (the day of the upgrade) are not available to filmmakers.

No sales tracking for DVDs sold through Amazon. I can get the number from Mike whenever I need it though.


Now is the moment of truth.

The primary reason for starting this blog report was because it is nearly impossible to find out what kind of sales other films, similar to mine were having by self-distributing through Amazon.com. There’s probably a reason for that.

I previously mentioned that “Hunting Season” debuted on Amazon with a sales ranking at 84,399. This means that there were 84,000 other DVD products that were selling better than “Hunting Season”. By the 8pm Eastern time the sales ranking had jumped (or would it be dropped?) to 24,590. I must have sold A TON OF DISCS to jump ahead of 60,000 other products! The next morning I woke up to find that the ranking had moved to 17,484! The ranking stabilized and a few days later was at 15,899 on 10/02. After that the ranking steadily climbed until it ended right around where it currently rests: 114,830 (I think we may have actually been as high as around 150,000).

After watching Hunting Season’s sales ranking jump ahead of almost 70,000 other products I was itching to know what our sales report actually was so I contacted Mike Williams to get a report from him:

On October 21st Hunting Season had been on sale for 3 weeks and sold:

A GRAND TOTAL OF 9 DVDs on AMAZON

and

A GRAND TOTAL OF 1 DVD on INDIEFLIX

wow. really? yes.

Let’s not forget that I ordered 1 DVD from each of the vendors which means that in reality I sold 8 DVDs on Amazon and 0 DVDs on IndieFlix. And I bet that at least half of those 8 DVDs were sold to family members or friends that were excited to support me.

So that’s it.

What can we glean from this?

We can determine that selling 1 DVD will move you thousands of places up the sales ranking at Amazon.com.

We can determine that Amazon.com is DEFINITELY not a Field of Dreams (Just because you build it doesn’t mean they’ll come). It still takes, at the very least, a marketing and advertising presence. Strong press presence (reviews, write ups, interviews etc). A pre-existing fan base probably helps too.

I think the bottom line is that for what I used IndieFlix/Amazon for it was not beneficial, but it wasn’t bad. I got a 2 year old movie out there, available for DVD, that is still making the rounds on VOD. It would have never been available otherwise. My VOD contract prohibited me from taking advantage of IndieFlix’s digital download distribution network (which is probably, truly the strength of their business model). The fact that I made Hunting Season for about $5,000 in 2006 and have already recouped that just from sales at conventions made it possible for me to do this experiment. I twittered, facebooked, myspaced, message boarded, networked and newslettered non-stop. I got a few on-line write-ups. If I had put HS up on Amazon when it was first made/released and had the Fangoria, twitch, dread central write ups (it’s a horror movie so targeting the genre isn’t hard) I may have sold more, but truthfully, I doubt it.

Am I “down” on Self-distribution, IndieFlix or Createspace (Amazon)? Hell no! I always say, if I’m gonna bet, I’m gonna bet on myself. These companies do a great service to filmmakers with a lack of resources and given a similar situation in the future I would use IndieFlix again. they are a young company and will continue to improve. This is only one aspect of Self-distribution, if you’re considering making it the only aspect it might be time to go back to the drawing board.

So now I turn it over to the readers of this blog:

Tell me your self-distribution stories.

Tell me your self-distribution successes and failures.

Tell me what to do to do it better next time.

Tell me your experiences dealing with any and all distribution, aggregators, or self-distribution services. There are a ton out there and I’m not finding a lot of success stories (and nobody is willing to discuss their shortcomings)

Tell me how self distribution will work without marketing and advertising.

Ask me what I think about the most recent self distribution fantasy that you heard.

The only way we can be successful is if we get these experiences out in the open and share them so that others may learn and improve upon them.

This concludes my IndieFlix vs CreateSpace blog report.

If you are a representative of either CreateSpace or IndieFlix and have stumbled across this blog I openly welcome your input (especially if any of my statements or “facts” need fixing).