We have a shiny new website, designed by the awesome Richard Badley (Factoid -Rich also played a witch in the film!) -
There you can also sign up to receive the newsletter, which you can also do on the right of this page>>>
Why would you want to do this? Because we will be letting people know how and when they can see the film as well as providing updates on the sequel as it develops.
So this weekend I was at the Entertainment Media Show in London in a desperate attempt to get people to see the film. There were various reasons I thought this might be a good idea, but I suppose the main one was this -
Most filmmakers submit their films to festivals, where they are screened and win awards and make people famous (see my previous post on this subject). I've been to film festivals. For the most part the people who go to film festivals are other filmmakers, usually those with films screening on the same bill. Obviously I have nothing against filmmakers, but I didn't make Jenny Ringo and the Monkey's Paw for them. I made it for people like me. The non-filmmaker me, who is an obsessive fan of films and music and stuff.
I figured this was an ideal way to get my film to the people most likely to enjoy it. Hopefully, some of those people will enjoy it enough to want to see more and by the time we actually finish the sequel we may even have some kind of audience already waiting for it.
So I booked the table, made 300 copies of the film on DVD, printed some posters and fliers and came up with a plan to give the film away in exchange for e-mail addresses. That way I can hopefully keep up some kind of interaction with people despite the fact that there won't be a new film for quite some time.
Here's how it went down...
Got up at 5.30am to get the train from Worthing to Clapham and then on to West Brompton. This bears no significance to the wider story, I just want to point out how early it was and that as far as I'm concerned getting up at 5.30am really is suffering for your art. Met Rich on the train as he had very kindly agreed to help out, which was awesome as I would have been stuck behind the table all day otherwise. Andrea had already set up the table the night before so when we got there we just had to grab a coffee and get started.
Then John Hurt walked past and said 'Good morning!' and I kind of waved in a rather starstruck fashion. And I imagined an alternate reality in which I walk past John Hurt on the way to work every morning, which would be awesome.
Shortly after 9am people start turning up. I didn't think anyone would be that interested first thing in the morning - I assumed they would all be in a hurry to get to the guest signings. We actually did really well in the first couple of hours and had managed to give away 20 DVDs by 11am. I'd only brought 100 copies along and was starting to wish I had more. Our strategy at this point was to wait for people to glance down at our table then ask them if they wanted a copy of the film. At this point most people would either run away shaking their heads or move in closer with a suspicious look on their face. Then we would explain what we were doing and 99% of them would sign up to the list for a DVD.
Another friend, Joel, turned up to help. With 3 of us there this would be a breeze. Then things really started to slow down.
A couple of things made it difficult. The positioning of our table wasn't great - we were at the opposite end of the hall to the main talk area. The most popular guests were in the middle somewhere. Other than browsing to kill time, there was no real reason to come to our end of the hall. Added to that was the more serious problem of low attendance that day. I was basing my experiences on the last event I attended in July where you could barely move down the aisles because there were so many people. This one was looking a little dead.
We struggled on through lunch time, then Joel tried a new tactic - shouting 'Free DVD!' at people walking past in the manner of a super-enthusiastic carnival barker. It worked surprisingly well. By the end of the day we'd given away 87 copies of the film, met some really interesting people and found ourselves struggling not to shout 'Free DVD!' at strangers on the train home. It had been a lot of fun, if not quite the success I'd been hoping for.
On Sunday it was Producer Andrea's turn to help out. We got up at a slightly more reasonable hour as the earliest train from Worthing wasn't until ten past seven, which also meant we didn't get to the table until 9.30am. It was already busier than it had been on the previous day. David Tennant had really pulled the crowds in.
We had another advantage - Andrea was brilliant and jumped right into the 'Free DVD' routine with surprising effectiveness. She should totally be on The Apprentice. Within an hour we had given away the thirteen that remained from Saturday and had made a dent in the 100 copies I had brought along for the Sunday. By 1pm we had no DVDs left and I was wishing I brought along a lot more. I'd left another hundred at home because I'd run out of labels and I wasn't sure we'd be able to shift them...oops.
Meanwhile a couple of people who picked up the film on the Saturday came over to tell us what they thought. Even though I had been hoping this would happen I was suddenly incredibly nervous. What if they hated it? What if everyone hates it!?! They didn't hate it. They gave me some constructive criticism but on the whole really enjoyed it. Which is a good sign.
Overall I had a fantastic weekend and getting out there and putting my film in people's hands did feel like a more positive step than sending it off to festivals/competitions and waiting for a response. It was a bit of an expensive experiment (though I could easily have spent more entering a handful of film festivals) and I'm not sure I'd do it again without some way of making at least some of the money back, but that's something to think about for the future. For now I'm more interested in whether the people who have it like the film or not.
So 200 people now have copies of the film, which is loads but not enough. The next stage of my plan is to figure out a way to get people to see it online, without just sticking it up on YouTube. I'll let you know how that goes...