14-08-11 Marketing

    On July 14th, the day ALGORITHM had its world-wide free premiere, someone I know only as Adrian contacted me saying that he (I’m assuming Adrian’s a he, she could easily be a woman) watched the movie and wanted to screen it at 44CON, in London. He told me 44CON is a hacker convention, more on the black-hat side.

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    Hackers are divided into groups based on moral alignments. These groups are labeled based on the color of hats. White hats are the people who work to protect computer systems. They’re the defense. Gray hats are morally neutral. Black hats are the people who break into systems for their own gain.

    Here’s a situation and how each hat would react to it. A hacker researches a piece of software/hardware. They find a flaw that allows them to do something on the system they’re not supposed to be able to do. The white hat will turn in the vulnerability to the company that makes the software/hardware. The gray hat will do that, and they will also publicize the vulnerability, forcing the company into immediate action. The black hat will exploit the vulnerability for their own gain, either money or control.

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    In my research I had never heard of 44CON, which makes sense. There are all kinds of hacker conventions all over the world and I only really know about three: HOPEX, Defcon, and OSCon. But, Adrian seemed nice enough, so I told him I’d be more than happy to have ALGORITHM screen at his convention.

    Adrian shared ALGORITHM with the rest of the board and they approved. ALGORITHM would be screening at 44CON. But, I told him I couldn’t afford to go because the tickets at the time were $1,700+, plus hotel fees. I told him that Stu Kennedy would be willing to show up, or I would be happy to Skype in.

    A few weeks later, they got back with me letting me know they’d cover some of the flight and all of the hotel. After chatting with my wife, who emphatically said I should go, I bought the ticket.

    Individually, in the middle of things, it doesn’t feel like much has been doing on. But, looking back, after 44CON, ALGORITHM will have screened in L.A., New York, and London. That’s pretty cool.

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    Shortly after writing the 08-05 entry, I got an email back from Shoreline, saying that my contact was watching the movie as he typed that. A day after that, he let me know he had forwarded the movie to Shoreline’s head of acquisitions. I replied “Excellent. I look forward to hearing from you next week.”

    I haven’t heard anything yet, but it’s only Tuesday.

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    I had a long talk with Joseph and Phillip about what amount we should accept for the movie, what would be fair and how much rights we would be willing to sell it for. Joseph made the point, with which I fully agree, that for the cast and crew distribution was as important, if not more important, than the money. It was publicity, showing their credibility and their skills. And, that fact had to be weighed when considering the price.

    I know, earlier, I said I wouldn’t sell ALGORITHM for anything less than $2 Billion. It’s not because I actually expected to make anywhere near that amount of money from it. It’s because I’ve heard to many horror stories from directors who wished they hadn’t sold their first movies. It’s not a mistake I want to make.

    But, with Joseph’s argument in mind, it’s hard to know what the right thing is. It’s not about the money. It’s not even about creative control over ALGORITHM. It’s about what I want as a career. Do I want a career as a filmmaker? And if so, what kind of career? Do I want to be making highly entertaining but philosophically vacuous movies like Guardians of the Galaxy? Or, do I want to make low to medium budget movies that count for something more, that have something to say?

    Even from the way I phrased those questions, it’s clear where my bias is. I have to choose the latter.

    Then the question becomes, what choices must I make now that will facilitate my having that kind of career?

    Ultimately, all those questions are moot since Shoreline hasn’t called with an offer and until they do, I’m in charge of ALGORITHM’s publicity and distribution. That’s a lot of work and I’m not very good at it. I’ve got a plan. 

    If I do end up doing the marketing, I’ll know how to do every single aspect of the movie business, from writing the script, to raising the money, to pre-production, to post-production, to marketing and distribution. There aren’t many people in the world who know and can do it all.

    The reason for that is because no one person should be doing it all. It’s a lot of work and I feel myself starting to burn out. So, for the rest of this week, I’m on vacation. I’m just too tired. If I keep pushing myself, the results of my work will continue to deteriorate until I melt. I am currently experiencing the law of diminishing marginal utility. That’s when a thing becomes less useful the more its used. 

    Hopefully rest will cure that. Or, getting picked up by Shoreline with an amazing deal!