Our First “Tipped” Screenings

Knoxville TheaterGoing into this unique form of distribution has been somewhat like navigating on a curvy road through a snowstorm. We know that other filmmakers have paired with “On Demand” movie theater distributors in the past and had mixed results. When you decide to put your movie out this way, you are truly having to rely on the fans of your film and have to figure out how to motivate them. We’ve worked very hard to cultivate our fan base over the last three years, and received tremendous support, both through monetary contributions and honest excitement for the film. We know that people who love the marching arts are passionate. That’s actually an understatement because we see countless discussions online about things like, why this drum corps era is better than the other, or why one drum corps would be more successful if they did this or that. This can often be mistaken for people being stuck in their ways, or acting like they are better than others, but it’s because their drum corps experience was so meaningful. We get that…we truly do.

We want people to channel that passion into motivating others to see our film, especially those who aren’t familiar with the marching arts. Now requesting a one-night-only screening of our movie is easy, but getting enough people to buy tickets? That can be challenging.

The first thing is figuring out how to pitch our movie to people…how to get them genuinely excited about it. Our movie trailer is a good place to start. Let people know that we won an award at each of our first three film festivals in 2014, but also tell them WHY you think our movie is important. Being part of a marching arts group can be a life changing experience. It’s an activity that turns young people into better adults by teaching them life skills that are often absent in many 21st century activities. It also creates a family and supportive atmosphere that too many kids are lacking at home.

The other very important thing is to educate your potential ticket buyers on how the process works. We are all used to deciding at the last minute whether we are going to go see a movie, and it’s second nature to buy tickets at the theater’s box office. That’s not how these screenings work. Tickets must be pre-ordered in advance therefore you must make it clear that there’s a deadline prior to the screening date. If the ticket quota isn’t reached by that date then the screening goes away. Tell people that this an “event” screening, much like a concert or a stage play. Once you convince them to purchase tickets, emphasize that they should persuade their friends to go too. Then it can turn into a snowball effect and pretty soon you are narrowing in on your “tipping point.”


“Scouts Honor” fans, Ann & David Walter at the Sturtevant, Wisconsin screening

Our first “Theatrical On Demand” screening, via Gathr Films, took place this past week in Southeastern Wisconsin and more than 80 audience members braved the subzero temperatures to attend. We received reports from multiple people who attended that people in the audience were crying, cheering, applauding and even singing along to “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” We are thrilled that new people are getting to experience our film, and in a movie theater like it was meant to be seen. Additional screenings have “tipped” and received the “green light” to take place. Screenings in Anaheim, CaliforniaPittsburgh, Pennsylvania…and Madison, Wisconsin are taking place over the upcoming weeks. Along with those screenings over two dozen new opportunities have popped up on our Gathr Films Map widget from New Jersey?to Hawaii. Take a few minutes to browse the map to see if there’s not only a screening near you, but if there’s one near a friend of yours. If so, let them know, or pre-order a ticket for them.

We spent 3 1/2 years making this film and now we want people to see and hear it in a movie theater environment. I often tell people that I feel like our film is a child that is now being sent off to college. We have to guide the process of the film going out into the “real world”, but the amount of success it has is largely out of our control. Of course we check in on it, hope it gets good grades and doesn’t wander down dark alleys. You can be instrumental in its success by encouraging people to see it. The hope is that through people’s viewing of the film we inspire people to get involved with the marching arts as a participant, a supporter, or a fan.

Thank you!

Mac Smith, Producer/Director

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