The Living Wake: The How & The Why Of Our DIY (pt. 3 of 3)

Today's guest post concludes Sol Tryon's tale of some of what he learned and loved from making and distributing The Living Wake. Having seen the challenges of indie films hitting theaters with little to no marketing budgets, we have set a theatrical schedule that allows us as the filmmakers really support the film in each market where we release it.  We have set up a network of influential people and companies to support us by doing hosted screenings for nearly every single screening we have.  This creates more of an event type of feel to the traditional theatrical experience as well as the opportunity to cross promote with our host for each particular screening.  The way it works is that the host targets their friends, fans and supporters to come to their specific screening while we market to our networks as well. The idea being that we are able to bring awareness to our host and their work as well as them bringing audiences we wouldn’t have necessarily been able to reach ourselves into the theater.  Ultimately what it all comes down to is a targeted grass roots network that will hopefully spread through word of mouth.  While we don’t have unrealistic expectations for our theatrical box office numbers, we do believe we will significantly raise the awareness for the film in general and hopefully that will lead to larger interest in the DVD, TV, VOD, digital and foreign rights.

Since we have set our theatrical plans in motion, we have already received much of that interest in our film.  We have been able to close on deals for North American rights for the film with different companies that will allow us to retain the right to sell our film ourselves as well as put it through the traditional channels into the marketplace.  We have targeted on deals that are for short terms and provide high percentages of profits coming back to us.

In the end, it has been an amazing journey that started out with a single creative vision, grew into a collective achievement and now is taking us in directions we never imagined. I have realized that to be an independent filmmaker you no longer just have to know how to make a film, you have to know how to finance, make, market, negotiate and sell your film to the world.  While the whole process is exhausting and all encompassing, I have learned more than I could have ever dreamed of. Going through everything my team and I have with this film and actually seeing it open in theaters in several cities across the country is absolutely the most incredible feeling.  Knowing that this film exists and can be seen strictly because of the vision and hard work of our ever-growing team of collaborators is at once humbling and rewarding. Despite the challenges we have faced and the length of the journey we have been on with this film, I would not change a single thing.  The film has taken us on this ride and it has led us to do everything it needed in order to be where it is today.

Don't miss The Living Wake in Los Angeles May 21st-27th at Laemmle’s Sunset 5

The Living Wake: The Path To Self Distribution (Pt2 of 3)

Today's guest post is the second of three from filmmaker Sol Tryon, whose The Living Wake is currently in theaters. Like many indie films, with The Living Wake we were continuing to raise money as we went and post-production was no different.  We used the dailies from the shoot to show new potential investors what we were creating.  Fortunately, Charlie Corwin and Clara Markowicz from Original Media saw our vision and believed in us enough to finance the completion budget and help escort us into the next phase of our journey with the project.  After an extended post-production due to schedules, we had a film that we felt surpassed all of our initial expectations for the project. We were sure this was going to be a darling of the film festivals and people all over the world would appreciate our bizarre little movie.

While we knew it was a very particular film and that it wasn’t really headed for big mainstream success, we felt that the film was well crafted, had an amazing combination of comedic wit and emotional sensibilities and that the cult classic potential was off the charts.  Unfortunately, we were hitting the festival circuit right at the time when the bottom was falling out of the industry. No one was taking any chances on buying films that needed a special sort of marketing to reach its audience.  We found ourselves in a predicament where many of the buyers were saying, “I love your film, but I don’t know how to sell it...”  We received amazing praise from the press and audiences alike, but it didn’t fit into the traditional mold of successfully distributed films.  We had several offers to basically give our movie away and hope for the best, but that wasn’t something any of us were interested in.  We had worked too hard and believed too strongly in the film we had created to just have someone put it out there with no real vision or marketing support and potentially find it sitting on a shelf somewhere leaving us with no control over the future of the film. So, we decided to pass on all of our offers and embark on the journey of discovering how we could release the film ourselves.  With the guidance of some filmmakers that had been having similar experiences, we devised a strategy to get the film out theatrically and retain control of all of the other rights.

Tomorrow the tale continues with: The How & The Why Of Our DIY

Don't miss The Living Wake in Los Angeles May 21st-27th at Laemmle’s Sunset 5

Sol Tryon on "The Living Wake": Doing it differently (Pt. 1 of 3)

Today's guest post is the first of three coming from the filmmaker Sol Tryon. The Living Wake has been a truly original project from the get go.  With a creative team of first time filmmakers we knew every phase of getting this film made and distributed was going to be an immense challenge. Peter Kline, Mike O’Connell and myself developed the project from its origins as a 20-page one-man show into a full-length feature film.

Once we had the script ready to go, we knew it was going to be something that we were going to have to make on our own to prove ourselves to the film community.  We shot a short film based on the characters from the feature to help us show investors that we had a distinct voice and vision.  From there we were able to raise our seed money to get us going.

The three of us moved to Maine intent on making this film however we could.  Living in tents on my parents’ land, we began location scouting and casting while continuing to try to find financing.  Things began to fall into place for us as more people joined our team.  We quickly developed a group of passionate people who were inspired by the originality of the script and the setting we were creating.

Through this collaboration, our dream of bringing our quirky comedy to life became a reality.  Shooting the film was the most exhausting and enjoyable experience I have ever had. We became a big creative family where everyone was doing anything and everything necessary to make sure our schedule was met and the vision was fulfilled.  By the time we had completed the shoot, every single person involved with the project felt a true sense of ownership and believed we had created something special.

Tomorrow: The Path To Self-Distribution

Don't miss The Living Wake in Los Angeles May 21st-27th at Laemmle’s Sunset 5