Monthly Archives: November 2008

Non Theatrical vs. Theatrical

I had the opportunity to see Lance Hammer’s Ballast on Sunday night at the Laemmle Sunset 5. It is a wonderful film and as you probably know – Lance eschewed the standard distribution deals he was offered and decided to self distribute. I had a chance to talk with him after the screening to compare war stories and we both agreed that there needs to be a paradigm shift on the definition of ”theatrical”. “Theatrical” is the industry term for the first “window” of a release normally in movie theaters where they are screened for at least a week starting on a Friday night. This is a very limiting notion of what a theatrical experience should be and has the potential to constrain our own imagination of what constitutes a theatrical experience. I feel that any screening in front of a live audience in which the film is projected in the dark with good sound – approximating the way in which the filmmaker originally intended (so long as they intended to screen it for such a live audience) should be considered a theatrical screening. This should include not only Hollywood’s definition of a typical theatrical run – but should also include festivals, museums, clubs, colleges, film societies or anyone else who will set up a screening of your film in front of a live audience in a manner acceptable to you. This should include Brave New Films network of Living Room Theaters (which are often much bigger than a living room – many of the screenings are in community centers).

Lance and I both agreed that some of our best screenings were in non-theatrical venues. Usually the film is screened for one or two nights and is promoted as a special event – which helps to pack the house.

We also agreed that we as filmmakers need to create a database of such venues similar to the Workbook Projects Theatrical Mapping Project. Eventually we should combine theatrical and non theatrical lists – but currently they need to be approached in slightly different ways – so I feel it is best to keep the lists separate for a little while.

Lance and I have agreed to cull our own information but we could use your help.

If you know of any non traditional venue that has screened films on a regular basis – such as museum, film society, college student or screening association, please send them to me at and I will add them to the list.

We will post the list here for a start within the next couple of months.

Bomb It in Jacksonville, FL – SEGD Meeting

We’re screening at another SEGD meeting this time in Jacksonville FL – Friday the 14th of November – I’ll be there in person – Reception is at 6:30 – Look forward to seeing you there.

Bomb It Screens in Atlanta, GA

The Atlanta chapter of the Society of Environmental Graphic Designers SEGD invited me out to Atlanta to screen Bomb It at the wonderfully restored Plaza Theater (which just added very nice digital projection). Come on down!

Bonham’s Panel

I’ll be appearing of all places Bonham’s and Butterfield’s for a Panel on Collecting Contemporary: Urban Art. Shepard Fairey is supposed to be on the dias with me – so it should be fun. Organized by the wonderful Seth Carmichael of the Carmichael Gallery. Stop on by.

More Film Festival Tips – and Website Tips

Again in relationship to another post on Truly Film concerning the need for filmmakers to have a website prior to going to a festival, I thought I’d offer a few more comments about having a filmmaker website. In fact it is crazy not to have a website during production or pre production these days as a way to start building your audience.

The king of using the web is Lance Weiller – definitely check out his Filmmaker Magazine article “Lessons in DIY” from Winter 2007.

But one quick tip – you don’t need to spend a lot of money designing a complex static website with lots of information about your film. I recommend using a blog as your main page. It is much easier to set up and is easier to keep current and dynamic. For Bomb It nearly all the traffic is to our blog – very rarely do people check out the other static pages on the site. With a blog format – most likely using WordPress – you can create all the information pages you need such as “About the Film” “About the Filmmakers” and have these in a box on the right or left. (we have Press and Screenings links at the top of ours)

I am slowly turning which is what you are reading into a main page for my site. It is much easier to update all of your information using “pages” in a blog than to have a web-designer have to rewrite your information using html.

Feel free to check out the difference in:

Another good example of a blog as main page, and a site you should check out anyway is