Last week I posted AMATEUR, the prequel to my forthcoming feature MANCHILD, and the response to the short has been downright amazing. Thank you to everyone who has watched it! If you haven't seen it yet, it is embedded below, and if you have seen it, here's how two seconds of your time can make a big difference for the project:
The two second-version: scroll down to the twitter box (with the MANCHILD header) and click the "tweet @" buttons!
The longer version, with story and nuance and the behing-the-scenes of how the release has gone:
First off, I'm working on a number of behind-the-scenes posts to share how we made it, and I'm looking forward to sharing the details and what I learned in the process. But first we need to do a better job of getting it out there. We've gotten some great coverage in the film world, as we've been selected as a Vimeo Staff Pick, interviewed in Filmmaker Magazine, and had nice pieces written about us at Indiewire, Short of the Week, and Directors Notes. The reception in the indie film world literally could not have gone better, so thank you to everyone who wrote about it! But the success of AMATEUR depends upon showing there's an audience for the feature, and that depends on reaching the sports world. The short is free watch and free to embed, if you haven't seen it yet:
I think it should make for a good story at many sports sites, and I've sent a lot of cold emails to that end, but they haven't gone anywhere and it has been incredibly frustrating to not be picked up by a single basketball site. I feel the work is strong, the topic is relevant, and both the short itself and the approach we're taking is newsworthy. So here's where I'm asking for your help -- it's part two of the twitter campaign we did during the Kickstarter campaign, which amazingly resulted in Phil Jackson backing the campaign, thanks to Los Angeles Lakers VP Jeanie Buss finding out about it from the No Film School community on twitter:
If you enjoyed AMATEUR, if it whets you appetite for the feature, if you appreciate this site (which has taken years of my life to build), if you appreciate the DSLR guide, please help me show the sports world that there are a lot of us who want to see this feature. The best way is to take two seconds to let some hoops journalists know about it on Twitter. When I say "two seconds" I mean it literally -- we've pre-populated the tweets so all you have to do is click on the "tweet @" buttons:
If you would rather write your own tweets, here's a select list of basketball journalists most recently active on twitter: go to this list and tweet @ anyone there. The list is better in some ways as it puts the journalists who are on twitter right now at the top of the list -- and they're the ones most likely to hear us right away.
The biggest help -- do you know anyone in the sports world?
The best way to reach someone is through a connection. So -- do you know someone in the sports world? Do you know someone who knows someone? As I posted about on Kickstarter, reaching out to anyone in the basketball world could be a HUGE help. I've tried to make it easy, so here's a template email you can copy-and-paste and modify for your need, to send to any connections in the sports world:
Hope you're well.
A friend of mine, Ryan Koo, released a short film about under-the-table high school basketball recruiting and I think you'll like it. Give it a minute and I think you'll watch the whole thing (it's only 9 minutes):
The filmmaking team is looking for support from the sports world in order to show there's an audience for the feature, MANCHILD, which is about a 13 year-old phenom and the pressures he faces. This short is a prequel to the feature. Phil Jackson backed their Kickstarter campaign!
Ryan is trying to make the writing process easy, so there's background info, hi-res photos etc. here for anyone to cover it online:
Thanks for taking the time to check it out and let me know what you think.
Thank you for any emails you send! Feel free to cc or bcc firstname.lastname@example.org. We don't have a PR budget -- I'm not touching the Kickstarter funds at any point in this process, as they're for the feature -- so I'm really hoping the No Film School community can help spread the word.
Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter
If you're not on Twitter and don't know anyone in sports
Upvote us on StumbleUpon -- Hollywood studios are trying it, why can't indies too? If you don't see a thumbs-up on the top bar next to "Stumble," you'll need to sign in at the top right (you can just sign in with Facebook if you don't have a StumbleUpon account).
What if we never get picked up in the sports world?
Unlike with a limited theatrical run, a short film online does not expire. One week is not the end of this short, and while it would be easy for me to lapse into a depression about the fact that we haven't been getting traction on sports websites, that would be ignoring two things: one, the response has been overwhelmingly positive on this site, on vimeo, from friends, and from film publications; and two, timing is everything. In this case, our timing was downright awful, in ways that we couldn't plan for or just didn't have the manpower to overcome.
Here's what happened: despite my launch date for the short being strategically focused on the basketball calendar -- after the NCAA championship on April 8 and before the NBA playoffs on April 20 -- you can't plan for assholes bombing the Boston marathon, which happened just as I was planning on releasing the short free on the web. Being vulnerable to the news cycle is one challenge of going directly online with a topical short; another challenge is, as a low-budget short with no PR budget, doing many jobs yourself often means delays and not enough time to do things "right." By the time I finished the short and launched the website, I was exhausted, I didn't have a PR list ready to go, the Tribeca Film Festival was about to take over the film news cycle, the Boston story was all over the front page of every sports and non-sports publication, and the NBA playoffs were here. A perfect storm.
The story of every independent film is one of overcoming countless obstacles. As filmmakers we problem-solve and make adjustments all the time -- on-set, and in this case, online. We can never take no for an answer. If you guys can help me show the sports world there's a community of film fans who want to see the feature, I'll feel like Rudy:
Who's the wild man now?!
Thanks so much and let me know what you think.