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Sunday, October 16th, 2011

DISPATCH Premiere at Hollywood Film Festival

Well, it has been a long journey since our last Film Radar Indie Blog post, but DISPATCH is finally getting its moment in the sun. To kick off our DVD and cable distribution deals, DISPATCH is having its World Premiere at the Hollywood Film Festival; Sunday, October 23 @ 7pm at the ArcLight Theater in Hollywood.

In the year-plus since we completed DISPATCH, I have become more a lawyer than a filmmaker. But that seems to be par for the course these days in the truly-independent film world. If you are lucky enough (as we are) to get distribution for your film, that comes with a lot of baggage- contracts, music cue-sheets, insurance, key art, dubs, closed captioning, etc. Tasks that the distributors used to handle are now the responsibility of the filmmakers. The tough part is that we also have to incur all the expenses for these ‘deliverables’ while receiving little to no up-front compensation. So the business model for truly-independent filmmakers appears to be completely inside out. The vendors are billing us as if we are a big studio or a distributor; the distributors are only interested in taking our product if we practically give it away. And right here in the middle, we stand as lawyer/filmmakers, paying to have our films shown.

For example, we prepared for shooting by paying to get a title search report and copyright report. But nobody informed us that there is a 30-90 day expiration on this report. By the time the film was done and we were ready to license it for distribution, we had to go back to the clearance company and get another report (for an additional fee). This is required so that we could take out an E&O insurance policy. We then were informed by the insurance company that we needed an ‘opinion letter’ to clear the title, because apparently there were some short films that had the same name as ours. So, for several hundred dollars more, we got an ‘opinion letter’.

We’re still waiting to hear if we need to do a new sound mix (for several thousand dollars) with the dialogue stripped out (M&E mix) in order to comply with the delivery requirements of a major cable network that is going to license our film.

Don’t get me wrong. I am excited about this and all the other positive response we are getting for our work. We have had some really notable people say wonderful things about the film. And in addition to this major cable network (which we will be announcing later this year), in the coming months, DISPATCH will also be available to buy on Amazon.com. Unfortunately, in order to get on Netfilx, we need to have an unspecified number of people saving us to their Netfilx Queue- if we can even get in their database in the first place.

I am able to say that it was worth the work. I just don’t know that I will ever do it this way again. Next time I will get as many name actors as I can at the lowest price possible… or just shoot it true guerilla-style on a couple of DSLRs… or BOTH! But somebody still has to show me how to get my film shown on decent platforms without spending untold months and money to complete all these ‘deliverables’.

For details about DISPATCH at the Hollywood Film Festival screening on Sunday, October 23, 2011, and to watch the trailer, etc., please visit www.DispatchFilm.com.

Hope you can make it.

Steven Sprung
Writer/Director, DISPATCH
www.DispatchFilm.com
www.StevenSprung.com

Written by Steven Sprung on 10/16 at 07:41 PM

7 Comments:

  1. Hey Steven, thank you for being so forthright and candid about your experiences. Most filmmakers try to keep a big smile on their face and not mention all the difficulties we face at ALL stages of the game. It’s important for aspiring filmmakers to know these challenges, especially in a forum like this. And I’m sure you know, these are good problems to have. Many filmmakers never get this far. I will say this—don’t regret your decision to make the film the way you did, without stars, etc. Even with your editing experience, (and I KNOW how good an editor you are!), it might have been next to impossible to get a name cast as a first-time feature director. Certainly very difficult. With this film under your belt and distribution assured, that next project with names will be much more attainable.

    Best of luck on the premiere. Can’t wait to see the film!

    Posted by Steven Sprung  on  10/17  at  05:51 PM
  2. Hey Steven,

    I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate FilmRadar, and have really enjoyed reading all of the articles you have posted for a while now. I have seriously learned so much about the film industry from you blog, and reading about your past experiences with everything in the industry. I found this blog post especially interesting because I myself have been having quite a bit of experience with film festivals lately.

    Since your film blog has really helped me out with finding out about the film industry in general, I thought that this time, I would be able to help you out (by telling you about a Film Festival opportunity, no less!).

    I just found out about this John Wayne tribute event that is going to take place on November 10th, in Los Angeles. The event is being put on by the Jules Verne Film Festival and is going to be showing the original “True Grit” movie. If you are at all interested, please check out their website to buy tickets or just get some more general information: http://www.julesverne.org/index.php .

    Thanks for your blogging, and keep up the good work!

    Posted by Steven Sprung  on  11/04  at  10:13 PM
  3. What an interesting glimpse behind the curtain of film making. We all think we know something of what happens in production but as your post illuminates, we know so little of the many other aspects of how a movie makes the journey from idea to something we see on a screen.

    Posted by Steven Sprung  on  12/19  at  11:26 PM
  4. I agree with Mark. It’s great to read posts with the positive and negative things that happened. It makes people think about what life is really like.

    Posted by Steven Sprung  on  03/16  at  10:09 PM
  5. I was looking up film festivals and saw this. just wanted to say thanks it is helpful to hear such reviews

    Posted by Steven Sprung  on  10/15  at  02:29 AM
  6. Very interesting, that will help me for my future articles.

    Posted by Steven Sprung  on  12/29  at  08:04 AM
  7. i hate all the legal mumbo jumo your referring to, i had a similar problem when helping a freind on his 3rd year media dissertation, i mean let people just get on with it

    Posted by Steven Sprung  on  01/09  at  04:53 PM