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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

California Knows How to Party

Life has been a bit of a blur for the past week and a half.  It’s as if we’ve been on a bender that started the instant Tim Robbins opened the envelope and uttered the words “Red Doors.”  I don’t remember much from that point on, save that I screamed like a little girl and immediately burst into tears (so much for hip nonchalance).  Today I woke up in Los Angeles, fully clothed, with my arm around my guitar.  Empty Jolt cans littered the floor, and I’m pretty sure I saw Paris Hilton sneaking out the back window.  Yup – just another Tuesday morning at La Mia Casa.

Here are the facts I’ve managed to piece together:  1)  Red Doors won Tribeca.  2)  I spent the rest of the awards ceremony texting the news to every person I’ve ever met (and some I haven’t).  3)  Tim Robbins is really tall.  4)  We had a victory screening the day after we won.  5)  Katherine, my 7-months-pregnant college roommate, was turned away at the door because we were oversold.  6)  We flew to LA.  Coach.  7)  We spoke to a bunch of Boston University students about the joys and perils of independent filmmaking.  8)  Freda hosted a cast party and plied us with champagne and gouda.  9)  We screened the film for an audience of 600 at a museum in Little Tokyo.  10)  Jane’s uncle hosted a dinner and plied us with martinis and ahi tuna.  11)  We were swarmed by agents and “industry” types promising fame, fortune, and personal manservants.  12)  My mom hosted a dim sum lunch and plied us with oolong tea and pork buns.

Georgia and Jane went back to NYC, and I’m finally getting more than five hours of sleep.  I’d say it’s settled down – but I have a feeling it’s only just begun…

Song du jour:  “Your Daddy Don’t Know” by The New Pornographers.  Because it’s Mother’s Day (or was), and I’m feeling feisty.


Monday, May 02, 2005

I remember that time we sang karaoke

Jane here.

I wanted to take some time and describe the absolutely phenomenal job our volunteer street team did for us during Tribeca. For those of you in New York City, you probably saw the posters, postcards, pins, light necklaces, t-shirts, and fortune cookies that they tirelessly handed out all around town. Super props to michaelb and Peter for their outstanding work.

It's not easy to market a small indy film with almost no promotional budget. We made a lot of tactical decisions - i.e. printing up hundreds of cheaper 11x17 posters and only a handful of the much more expensive 27X41s. But we also knew that we would have to stand out to get people's attention.

Early on in our strategic process, our sales agent Ira Deutchman had the brilliant idea to turn the simple image of double red doors into an icon. No explanation necessary. People may not know that Red Doors is a movie, but they would surely reconize the iconography of a pair of doors painted red. This is not dissimilar to the pi symbols that were spray painted everywhere when Darren Aronofsky's film was released.

I just loved Ira's idea. I immediately went home and threw together a mockup of the double red doors on Powerpoint (my design software of choice). It took me about 5 minutes. The version of the doors that you see on our pins and t-shirts are essentially that same design I dashed out in Powerpoint. Then I went online and googled all the custom swag places looking for a place that could make square buttons. It was only by accident that I discovered these really cool plastic necklaces that glow with red light.

The necklaces have been a huge hit. Several people have offered to buy them. They are great at parties and at screenings - the red glow looks really cool in a dark room. Everybody asks about them when they see them so it's a great entre into talking about the film.

We also ordered custom fortune cookies with fortunes that say things like "RED DOORS bring harmony and happiness" and "You will prosper with RED DOORS." Michael and Peter handed these out in front of the theater and in nearby Chinatown. We also befriended the manager of Lili's, a Chinese restaurant right next door to the main Tribeca movie complex in Battery Park. He let us hang up posters in every one of their windows and he served our custom fortune cookies to his customers throughout the opening weekend of our film. Peter convinced a number of Chinatown merchants to also display the poster in their windows. This was one of our key strategies. Since we didn't have the resources to poster everywhere, we made sure to poster only in exclusive locales where we could be the only movie featured.

Our publicist Wellington Love (yes, his real name) was also instrumental in helping us build buzz. We brought Wellington on board fairly early in the process, over a month and a half before the festival started. While we had been prepared to wait until the official Tribeca press screenings to kick off our publicity machine, Wellington very prudently advised us to start sending out screeners right away. At the time, we only had screeners of the rough cut and wanted to wait until our final edit with sound design and color correction was complete. But Wellington insisted that we send out screeners immediately. He was absolutely right.

It turns out that most of the magazines and even some of the daily newspapers begin their story assignments and planning process well in advance of the festival. Obviously the big films with big stars (i.e. The Interpreter) will naturally get press coverage. Building early awareness is key to standing out from the throng.

I believe that Wellington's proactive and early promotion of our film directly led to our great coverage in The New York Times, Time Out New York, New York Magazine, and the Daily News. Once we got the name of our film out there, I think the subsequent buzz developed organically.

We are really eager to take our show on the road. Our next stop is closing night of the VC Film Festival in LA on Thursday night (May 5th). I am very tired and very happy and looking forward to spending some time in sunny California

Kathy with our guerrilla marketing
superstar, Michael Bartholow
Wellington Love,
publicist extraordinaire

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Made in New York

Wow.  Wow.  Wow.  

I don’t really know what to say.  We won Tribeca’s Best Narrative Feature award in the NY, NY category.  I am absolutely thrilled, stunned, and honored beyond words.  It is now 2am in the morning and I desperately need to sleep but I wanted to at least enter a brief blog to let everyone know how amazing and moving tonight was.  I still can’t believe it. 

I am so grateful that Tribeca truly is out there to support diverse voices and independent cinema.  Our tiny little film that Jane, Mia, and I poured our hearts and souls into could not have found a better home to premiere.  The film was conceived in NY, shot in NY, and edited in NY.  So it is rather romantic and storybook for me that we opened at Tribeca.  And to win the Made in New York award is the perfect ending to this already unbelievable fairytale. 

All I could say all night was thank you.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  To everyone that made this possible.  To everyone who believed in the film and in me.  To Jane.  To Mia.  To my family.  To the cast.  To the crew.  To the post production team.  To David Kwok.  To the festival.  To all our supportive friends.  To our investors.  To the jurors.  To the audience.  And last but not least, to my mother.  I know she is with me in spirit and watched proudly tonight.   


Blog Archives by Month:
04/01/2005 - 04/30/2005 05/01/2005 - 05/31/2005 06/01/2005 - 06/30/2005 07/01/2005 - 07/31/2005 08/01/2005 - 08/31/2005 10/01/2005 - 10/31/2005 11/01/2005 - 11/30/2005 01/01/2006 - 01/31/2006 02/01/2006 - 02/28/2006 03/01/2006 - 03/31/2006 04/01/2006 - 04/30/2006 05/01/2006 - 05/31/2006 07/01/2006 - 07/31/2006 08/01/2006 - 08/31/2006
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