Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Madison County: Strength in Numbers

I was originally planning on publishing this blog a week before the release of Madison County.. but since today it was pirated, I figure what better time to do it? 

A lot of ideas get tossed around in this town.. especially when it comes to the making and distributing of a feature film. In the pre-production process; it's potential actors, possible cameras, budgets, shoot days, locations, etc. In the distribution phase; it's theatrical, number of theaters, DVD, what stores, Blu ray, etc. Beyond all of that, there's the single thing you wanted before you ever got the chance to make your movie.. people to see it. A chance to tell your story. Because, let's face it.. what's the point of telling a story if there's no audience?

Tons of scenarios were tossed around with Madison County before it was bought. There was talk of possible theatrical screenings, DVD covers, Blu ray discs, promotional tours, etc. All of those fun and cool ideas get narrowed when you finally decide on a distributor. We've met some AMAZING people over at Image Entertainment and love them to death.. They're a big part of the reason we felt comfortable signing over our movie to THEM.

But even once the papers are drawn up.. things are still subject to change.

The purpose of this blog entry is to shed light on what is happening with Madison County, what's going to happen from here on out, and how with just a couple of clicks.. you can make a huge difference in the life of our little film.

First of all -- Madison County WILL be released on May 8th through IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT.

A few places to find MADISON COUNTY (Click the link):

Madison County on Amazon

Madison County on iTunes

Madison County at Hastings

Madison County in RedBox

Madison County at Blockbuster

Wondering why you're not seeing it in theaters? Or in stores? Haven't you seen all the ads online and the big marketing push?! Me either..

We don't have a massive marketing campaign.. we don't have a massive advertising budget.. we're less than a month away from the release of the film and the only people that know it's getting released are the HARDCORE Horror fans.. I want to change that.

Up until very recently, I was led to believe that we'd be in retail stores across the country. Places like Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target, etc. All carrying the movie IN STORES. They have it up on the websites.. right?

Madison County on Walmart.com

Madison County on BestBuy.com

Madison County on Target.com


While they carry the movie online, the movie will not be seen in stores all across the country. Only a handful, at best. The reason? We still don't know. We can only guess that someone in one of the offices of these outlets isn't as confident in our little film as WE are.

Take a look at that little phrase next to the bright RED "add to cart" button..

We were also led to believe that the movie would be on Blu-ray. I mean, after all.. Blu-Rays ARE outselling DVDs now, right?

Wrong, again. Well, at least about the movie being on Blu-ray..

I think there's a format missing..

Madison County will not be released on Blu-ray until later this year. Why? "Seasonal/Holiday" release is what we're hearing.. which sounds great. But why not RELEASE IT NOW and have a promotional PUSH in the MARKETING around Halloween?! The answer? Demand.. we need the demand.

Many of you have demanded the movie on Blu-ray and asked if it will be shown in theaters near you. I'm here to tell you that my producers and I are doing everything in our power to bring the movie to theaters and Blu-ray as soon as we possibly can.

When we first signed the distribution deal, we were asked to put together a THEATRICAL PLAN.. a promotional tour, of sorts. An old school, grassroots kind of tour that would take us to select cities around the country, show the movie, shake hands, sign posters and just have a kick ass time -- just like they did back in the day with THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE and HALLOWEEN..

These people couldn't wait to see Madison County in a theater!
Neither could these folks!
In fact.. at SCREAMFEST, we were given an ENCORE screening (only film to get that last year!) and at the Arkansas screening? Well.. let's just say the people that paid their hard earned money to see our movie SPOKE!

The tour isn't happening.. YET.

The point I'm getting at is that as much as WE, the filmmakers, can push to have a movie released as far and as wide as we possibly can.. the truth of the matter is we're still just a couple of guys in a room with other people that have fancier suits, make a lot more money and have way more important things on their hands (like bigger budget films that they paid a lot more money for).

From a purely marketing standpoint (which is what most distributors care about anyway), Madison County is constantly compared to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise, Wrong Turns and The Hills Have Eyes remake.

TCM: The Beginning made $16M in DVD sales:

Texas Chainsaw DVD Numbers

The Wrong Turn SEQUELS (which Madison County ALSO gets compared to a lot) has raked in over $15M in DVD sales:

$8M for Wrong Turn 2

$5M for Wrong Turn 3

$2M for Wrong Turn 4

And The Hills Have Eyes wins all with over $20M on DVD!

$20M for The Hills Have Eyes (Remake) 

The fact of the matter is.. MADISON COUNTY should not be receiving the major distribution that it is. It's a tiny, micro budget movie that no one (except for the people who made it) ever expected to go as far as it has or do as well as its done. But now.. it's being compared to the big boys and being praised and respected.. but that's not enough.. the push has to continue.The people who make the major decisions HAVE TO SEE..

When we set out to make MADISON COUNTY, we wanted to make a movie for US. Not just US the filmmakers.. but YOU, ME and everyone like US that loves these kinds of movies. And not just HORROR fans.. but MOVIE FANS.

Is it perfect? Not by a long shot. But I stand by this film proudly and want to show it to every willing set of eyes that I can. The film, in a lot of ways, is like the little engine that could.

People said "You can't make a movie like that on a budget that small!".. we did.

They said "You can't sell a movie that doesn't have any famous actors in it!".. we did.

We got into the biggest horror film festival IN THE COUNTRY.. with some of the most anticipated genre films at the time and WERE THE ONLY FILM TO SELL OUT THE MANN'S CHINESE THEATER!

This movie DESERVES to be seen by the biggest audience possible. If not just for the pure passion behind the filmmaking.. but because of the AMAZING work put into this film by every single filmmaker and actor on the crew! So this is what I ask of you..

1. REPOST THIS BLOG! Let everyone know that this is where it all starts. Links to everything they need to know. And on May 8th, I ask that you BUY THE MOVIE! Get it from Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target, wherever.. just buy the movie! If you already have, buy a copy for a friend! Give one away! Litter the streets with Madison County DVDs.. but of course, don't break the bank!

2. Can't afford to buy one? No problem.. RED BOX IT! For a mere $1.29, you can rent the film for a night of old school horror/mystery fun!

3. Don't wanna leave your house? NETFLIX IT! It'll also be available on iTUNES and XBOX! With just a few clicks of a button, you'll be watching the film within seconds! If you like it.. do me a favor and buy the DVD! But please.. whatever you do, DON'T PIRATE THE MOVIE!

4. And lastly.. here's the MOST IMPORTANT REQUEST..  Over the next several weeks..



We want this movie to SEND A MESSAGE and the best way to do that these days is to show your support.. NOT ONLY WITH YOUR WALLET.. but YOUR VOICE! Go to all of the links above. Amazon, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target, Hastings, iTunes, RedBox, NetFlix, Xbox, etc, etc and RATE the film.. Leave COMMENTS! Re-post them on your Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest, etc!

Tell your friends to tell 10 friends.. you'd be amazed at how fast that word will travel. We want to send a message that people DO enjoy these types of films and they DESERVE and bigger and BETTER release!

Some of the greatest compliments that I've gotten about the film have been people who have seen it in theater at a festival.. so we're going to CONTINUE to try and get the film shown in THEATERS in major cities all around the country. But in the meantime.. we want to get the film IN STORES and ON BLU-RAY a lot faster than what people anticipated.

Let's send a message.. that people WANT quality films. If you go to Wal-Mart right now, there are probably a bunch of really bad movies that you've never heard of on the shelves.. I'm not saying that our film is better than them.. I'm saying that WE DESERVE TO BE THERE AS WELL!

So do me a favor and let IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT know what you want! Buy the movie, rent the movie, share the movie on your pages.. TELL YOUR FRIENDS. Even if you just talk about it in conversations.. PLANT THE SEEDS and tell people to go watch the movie. You'll be surprised at how far your words can travel.

Let IMAGE know you want MADISON COUNTY on Blu-Ray or in THEATERS by contacting their pages HERE:


Friday, April 20, 2012

Sometimes It's BusinessShow

The one thing they never teach you when you're a kid is that money rules the world. And if you don't believe it, you're a fool. The truth is.. it does. Whether we like it or not, the almighty dollar is always the deciding factor.

Now, I'm not a hippie by any means, but as I get older, I start to identify more with our spacey, furry brethren. They live off the land. They don't pay taxes. They sleep where they want.. but most of all.. they're happy.

That's what life is all about for me. Anyone closest to me will vouch for that. Since I was a kid, I've always hated money. It's the root of all evil to me. Always will be. Ask my Mother, even as a kid, I didn't like to go into the gas station to pay for gas. Even to this day, when I grab lunch with someone, if they're paying or I'm paying.. I usually leave when the bill comes. If I'm paying, I'll just throw my card down and ask them "Will you give this to them when they come back by?"

It's not something I make a conscious effort to do. It's just something that happens.. because I hate money. So when I moved to LA, I had a rude awakening. Money runs everything. You have to make it. You have to give it to people. You have to make it FOR other people. One of the biggest catch 22's in Hollywood is you need to make money before someone will give you money to make a movie. The indie route is the way to get around that.. but at some point in your career.. you're gonna have to play by the rules.

That's where the managers, the agents, the lawyers come in. Back before shooting ROADSIDE, I got my first manager at a company called MOSAIC. They're the mad geniuses behind such comedy gold as STEP BROTHERS, BAD TEACHER and ELF.

The other day I was told by someone closest to me, "You're super lucky" -- and not that I landed such a great management company (which I am, lucky in that regard) -- but that I landed such a good manager. That part is also true. My manager, Brent Lilley, was introduced to me on a referral from a client of his (and a good friend of mine). We hit it off immediately and in less than a week, we were in bed together.

At first, I had no idea what to do. I've heard so many horror stories about managers and agents that I was a little cautious. I was scared to talk to him. Scared to tell him anything. I didn't want to bother him.. especially since a lot of his involvement would be monetary in my life. Afterall, he would be getting 10% of whatever I made.

But the great thing about managers is that they're not just money suckers (like agents), they're pals.. or at least, they're supposed to be. I knew a ton of filmmakers that had managers that were pure assholes. They acted like agents. Could barely get 'em on the phone, and when they did.. it was cut and dry. Brent was different. He is different. He cares. Every time we get on the phone, my entire day is better. He goes out of his way to ask me how I'M doing.. how I'm feeling. Where my mental state is.. makes sure I'm okay.. which is the greatest thing about hm. HE CARES.

Brent and I on the carpet at the MADISON COUNTY premiere.

Which is why I was told I was lucky.. I completely agree. But recently, Brent went above and beyond.. he introduced me to my lawyer, Joe. Joe and I jumped into bed rather quickly as well. I needed a lawyer to look over some heavy paperwork. It was a tough job and Brent immediately took on the task of finding the right one. Within days he hit the nail on the head with Joe. Joe started gnawing away at the paperwork.. and Joe's not the kind of guy that has a lot of free time.

By the time I had actually met Joe face-to-face (a lot of our first interactions were through e-mail and phone calls), I felt like I had known the guy my whole life. Family.

That's what makes this town bearable. Brent always says things to me like "I'll take care of it" and "I'm on it". At the end of the day, the guy has always got my back. And the great thing about him? He's got other clients too.. so I know he's giving them as much as he's giving me (or at least I hope he is). He's not spread thin at all.. there's just a lot of genuine integrity ingrained in his DNA. A lot of good.

It's an amazing thing to me.. One of the things I feared most; Money, politics, managers, agents, lawyers, contracts, etc.. I lucked out on (and I haven't exactly always gotten lucky with things my entire life) and fell into the hands of a couple of really great guys. Guys that have my backs (and I've completely got theirs). In fact, I wish I were able to do more for them. But thus is the weird relationship between manager and client. It's like they're there for you.. but I want to be there for them just as much. It's just harder on my end. It's like they're a really hot girl that's sleeping with a lot of guys. But when she's with you.. she makes you feel like you're the only guy in the World. It's great.. but you know you have to be really special to make it last.

That's where the money comes in. But with a project like me (and don't kid yourself, I'm a work in progress), you have to be patient.. because I'm not made of money yet. They're putting their time and effort (and sometimes money) into me in hopes that I'll pay off.. and God, do I hope I do that for them.

I always say things like "I want to make US a lot of money" and I mean it. I hope I make them super rich.. which would have to mean that I'm Oprah rich.. but I don't care about that. I literally just wanna be able to sustain my lifestyle of movies, diet coke and diner food. I'm not Diddy. I just want to make movies. If producers came to me and said "we'll pay all your bills, feed you and put a roof over your head as long as you make movies for us", I'd be a lifetime contract.

Lately, the contracts, money, percentages and all that crap have really been bringing me down. Taking me away from the part of filmmaking that I really love.. the creation. The actual process of making movies. But before movies can be made, contracts have to be drawn up. That's just how it is. It keeps everyone from being ugly (or it tries to). If movies could be made on good faith, we'd be in a completely different place (one I wish I could be in).

But at the end of the day, no matter how much BUSINESS gets in the way of my SHOW.. I know that I'm in good hands. Hands that care. That keep the evil away.. or at least keep it at a safe distance. And for that, I'm thankful.

Til next time,