Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Night Shift: Seeking Distribution

The Night Shift is the production diary of Fighting Owl Film's new independent supernatural-adventure-comedy of the same name currently in "post" in Mobile, AL. Over the course of the next several weeks and months, you'll get an insider's peek at what it's like for filmmakers to craft a new entry of paranormal pop culture from Erin Lilley, a producer and actress on the film.

Seeking Distribution

Planning the movie was hard. Casting, costuming, prop and set design, rehearsals and making sure Herbie could talk were all very difficult tasks, but they were doable. There was a lot of work involved, but we had control over the situation.

The Lost Skeleton of CadavraMaking the movie was tougher. I got to wrangle actors and extras, Thomas had to try to get the best performances possible in 100+ degree heat and, oh, about a million percent humidity and we had a very limited amount of time in which we could shoot. Sometimes Production and Photography didn't exactly mesh, and folks might butt heads. Things were stressful, and a common joke among the cast and crew was, "The skeleton is not working! Repeat, the skeleton is not working!" but overall, everyone got along and we had a right jolly old time. We also had control over the situation, which helped tremendously.

Post-production was awful. We dealt with people who overstated their qualifications, disappeared and in one case, just outright lied. Luckily, we had a godsend in our sound department, and eventually, we were able to get things how they needed to be. We had a little less control over the situation, but at least we had the power of veto.

This "Seeking Distribution" chapter sucks. It's a necessary evil and one that Thomas and I both knew was coming, but it's nerve wracking. We fill out festival entry forms, pay the ridiculous fees, mail everything off and hope for the best. We contact distributors, make up press kits for those who are interested, mail everything off and hope for the best. We contact reviewers, burn screeners for those who want to evaluate the film, mail everything off and hope for the best. Do you see a pattern here?

Basically, we've taken our baby and tossed it to the wolves, and all we can do is pray that they raise it instead of eat it. Right now, we're both pretty much wrecks.

Luckily, the early reviews have been positive, at worst, and glowing, at best. I won't bore you with them here, but you can read the good-parts versions on our website, Okay, I'll bore you a little bit: B Movies and Beyond said we had the potential to become a cult classic, and Ain't It Cool News said it was in good company with The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (one of our all-time faves), and that it was charming and fun. There are others, and I highly encourage you to check out the site for all the happiness.

We've also had the good fortune to be selected to screen at the Fright Night Film Festival in July, where John Carpenter will be receiving a lifetime achievement award. The short version of the film played there last year, and we're so excited that they liked the feature. I've been told that the competition was fierce this year.

We also, just lastt weekend, screened at the first-ever Paranormal Pop Culture Film Festival, and we're still getting over the excitement from that! We couldn't go (darn economy), but couldn't be more thrilled to have our world premiere at the Stanley Hotel.

We're still plugging away at this thing. In the meantime, you can follow The Night Shift at You can check out the poster, trailer, cast and crew, and some fun downloads. Heck, if you like, you can even be our friend on Facebook and Twitter (@NightShiftMovie), where you can follow more of the progress of the movie.