It all started so well! Jenny Ringo and the Monkey's Paw was in 1st place in Shooting People's Film of the Month competition for the first few days of the contest. It held onto a spot in the top 5 for the whole of the first week. In the second week there was a battle to stay in fifth place and though the film frequently dropped out of the top 5 we always managed to claw back enough votes to get us up there again.
But by the end of last week it had all started to go a little bit wrong. And now, half an hour before the end of the first round, the leaderboard looks like this:
That's my film, down in 24th place.
It's not a complete loss. Last month the top film in Round 1 won by around 450 stars. I figured this month would be more competitive so I decided we needed at least 500 and there were times when I wasn't sure we'd ever hit more than 250. But we made it past 500 in the end, it's just that everyone else did way better.
The film did get the most views, which means very little in the competition but it makes me smile. As a result of this and me mentioning it at every available opportunity it has also been played over 1,000 times on vimeo which was my other big target for this year (now we just need 1,000 Facebook likes and 1,000 people signed up to the mailing list).
I think the fact that it had more views than plays is the root of the problem. I think people were put off by the running time. The fact is, I know where pretty much every single one of those 505 votes came from. The majority came from people I know or have worked with or have helped out in some way or another. The rest came from people I approached directly. What we missed out on was the casual voter, because I think the casual voter clicked the link, saw that it would take 25 minutes of their time and moved on (I refuse to learn anything from this). Also, surprisingly few of my filmmaker friends are Shooting People members, which didn't help.
But the fact that we made it so far in spite of all this is pretty amazing. I'm really grateful to everyone who checked out the film and voted and to all the people who shared the link and were almost as relentless in promoting it as I was.
The film also received some great comments which you can read in full here, below are some of the best -
"Really liked the ending. Also, the mess in the kitchen reminds me a lot of my time at uni of course. You've nailed the layabout student to a tee with his character."
"Love this, especially the Jeff Awesome character and the musical number. Looking forward to the sequel."
"Talking washing up = awesome."
"I love this piece of work. It's funny and disturbing - but it had the potential to have been so much more intense."
"Terrific film. Great story, love the leads, excellent camera work - and very, very funny (particularly liked the chanting hippies!!)"
"It made me smile, cheered me up, amused me greatly and left me looking for more!"
"One of the best shorts I've seen in ages. Very ambitious and delivers, Jenny Ringo needs her own series!"
Overall it's been an exhausting, time-consuming and occasionally stress-inducing experience but one that was totally worthwhile for all the extra people that got to see the film because of it.
Would I enter again?
Ask me that question when I've finished Jenny Ringo and the Cabaret from Hell. Speaking of which, I have work to do...
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