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:



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  2. Honestly? Big deal. Lots of movies are made on small budgets and don't have stars and get picked up. And they basically get the release you're getting. Theatrical? You're kidding yourself. A movie like this was made for straight to video, where it will probably do fine. Hatchet 2 was sort of a bomb when it played theaters, and recently that crappy crocodile movie got a wide release for some reason, and DIED. This release seems just about right for your movie. Great movies like Martyrs got about the same.

    1. You're obviously not who this blog entry is directed to.

      This is for the people that WANT to see the film in theaters and on Blu-Ray. Have other films gotten similar releases, yes? Have better films had worse and worse films gotten better? Absolutely. Completely irrelevant.

  3. Part 2 of 3

    At this point you're saying to yourself, "What's this guy's problem? All I tried to do is make the best film possible, with the limited resources I had. Why all the venom? Just chill dude." Here's why: you had the AUDACITY to say 'This film deserves the widest audience possible..." 'DESERVES' ??? EXCUSE ME? No filmmaker with an UNPROVEN TRACK RECORD comes out and says their film 'deserves' an audience. If Quentin Tarantino comes out and says his film 'deserves' an audience, so be it. He's EARNED that right. But you've said it. Called your shot. And you've done it on behalf on a complete piece of garbage that a year from now--maybe less-- will be completely forgotten and buried in the annals of horror cinema.

    That one word - 'deserves' - reveals the DELUSIONAL ARROGANCE that permeates the minds of you and your filmmaking buddies. The endless praise you've no doubt received by friends and family has disconnected you from REALITY. You once wrote, "Will this be remembered on the same level as THE SHINING? Probaby not." Probably?? How about DEFINITELY. I would have respected you more if you simply said, "A lot people worked hard on this film. If you like it, please support it by spreading the word." But to force feed this dreck to the general public and imply its support as important to the livelihood of the independent film movement? Unacceptable. The only livelihood it's important to is your pocketbook.

    1. Dear Cinema God,

      I appreciate your thoughts and OPINIONS on my film.. which is completely subjective.. as are MY OPINIONS on this blog. I'm sorry you think I'm a talentless hack, I'm sure I'd feel the same way about your film.. if you made one. It's really easy to be a "fan" of something and sit behind your keyboard as a warrior for justice, but the truth is.. My TEAM and their WORK DESERVES to be seen as far and wide as possible.. as does ANY OTHER FILM that's made AND APPRECIATED.

      The fact that you go straight to QT as a direct reference of cinema greatness (which he is), yet he's one of the most criticized filmmakers for "stealing" (which I don't agree with), shows just how much of a film school snob you are.

      Since you seem to not know the difference between SUBJECTIVE and OBJECTIVE, I'm going to refrain from continuing any sort of conversation with you. But if you feel the need to retaliate, I suggest you do so without your cover of anonymity. But I doubt you will.

      Thanks for the kind words you did share and I appreciate you watching the movie.

  4. Part 3 of 3

    There's a brief clip of a Stephen Spielberg interview from many years ago that you should check out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmhAWUI-7K8&feature=related
    The point he makes is many directors are able get what they want, but the hardest thing about filmmaking is KNOWING what you want. I want you to think about this. Now think about it some more. Because while you would never admit this, you DID NOT KNOW what you wanted. You THINK you know what you wanted, CONVINCED yourself you know what you wanted. But you did not know. That is why the tension building and release is so awkward, and why there were several abrupt scene transitions. The resulting film is completely void of any filmmaking style. And without style, there is no vision.
    So in essence what you you are.... is a CON ARTIST. And given you've been able to convince people to continue to invest in your upcoming films, you're apparently a very good one at that. But like I said at the top of this post, the mere existence of this film is quite an achievement. Again, you should be COMMENDED. But know this: you will be ultimately judged by the AUDIENCE. And there are only so many times the audience can be fooled.

  5. Part 1 of 3

    I am not a filmmaker. I am simply a fan of the horror genre. But I give you this WARNING: What you are about to read is a rather scathing review of MADISON COUNTY. However, before I unleash a barrage of negativity, let me say this: You should be COMMENDED. At 24 years of age, you have accomplished what most filmmakers aspire to achieve, yet never do. You made a full-length feature horror film AND secured a distributor. That is quite a feat, and something that can never be taken away from you. You are clearly AMBITIOUS, DRIVEN, RESOURCEFUL and have the ability to INFLUENCE others. All necessary ingredients for succeeding as a director of feature films.
    But what you are not is a TALENTED STORYTELLER. That is proof positive after watching the 81 minutes of dribble that is MADISON COUNTY. The fact that you were able to convince investors to buy in on a concept that is utterly unoriginal and offered nothing new to the genre is nothing short of amazing. The fact that you were able to generate enough buzz to sell out Mann Chinese theatre twice is... AMAZING. And I bought into the hype. Shame on me. The $3.99 I plunked down to watch this movie on Amazon will never be recovered.

  6. Part 1 1/2 of 3

    Where most films fail is in the script-- and this film is its poster child. Lackluster pacing, one-dimensional characters and ridiculous plot points inhabit the world of MADISON COUNTY. I seriously doubt you asked an experienced screenwriter (i.e. one that's smart and actually knows what he's talking about) to critique your script prior to production.

    Let's start with the set up: 5 friends getting together for this trip to Madison County to interview the author of a book. Nearly 30 minutes of the film is dedicated to the friends' ride up, with only one major plot point: meeting the man who will ultimately turn out to be the book's author. "But I really wanted to develop the characters and get the audience to care about them", says you. Rubbish. This wasn't character development-- it was needless backstory. A good screenwriter infuses backstory at critical points in the story and keeps it to a minimum. Committing the entire first act to backstory is quite simply, a CARDINAL SIN. Example: At the 20 minute mark, Will and Brooke reveal their relationship to Kyle. Big mistake. How much more interesting would it have been to reveal this towards the middle of story, when their lives are in jeopardy? How about... MUCH MORE. Instead this dynamic is revealed much too early on, kissing all future relationship tension bye-bye.

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