While Man Camp’s strongest appeal will be to men in the 18-39 demographic, anyone can relate to the characters and themes of the movie. From parents who see their own kids in the three brothers, to women who, like Adam’s wife, see them as a bunch of overinflated man-children, the dysfunctional family dynamics of this film are universal.
It’s no secret that horror movies are the most likely to break through and find an audience, but what about comedies? Research has been done that the most financially viable independent comedies are those with strong family themes, especially films centered around weddings. The reason being this kind of comedy is universal, cutting across cultural and geographical divides. We all have families, and every single one is dysfunctional. This allows our story to translate well for international sales, a large part of any indie film’s financial success.
As filmmakers, we recognize that audiences want to see actors that they know. They are far more likely to get a ticket, rent or purchase a film if it features an actor that has already earned their trust. Plus, there’s a reason these actors are working consistently: they’re great at what they do. While Man Camp is meant to break through with new talent, solid name actors will unquestionably elevate the story and quality of the film. Our first approach will be to pitch the project to specific actors we have in mind for certain roles, reaching out via their agents and managers, getting the scripts in their hands, and meeting with them to see if it's a fit. Once we get closer to production, if those roles are not yet cast, we will hire a professional casting director to get our project coverage at upper-tier agencies, and bring in top talent to audition for the project. The goal is to lock in committed, marketable actors for the roles of Alan, Kevin, and Theresa. We will also use our professional networks and connections to seek known actors for the few short cameo/supporting roles in the film, further increasing the talent level on screen.
We still believe that upper-tier film festivals are one of the best ways to build an audience and create strong buzz and publicity for an independent film, with the added bonus of possibly securing distribution or selling the film in the process. While we will submit to all the major festivals, the main program we are gunning for is South by Southwest (SXSW). SXSW has given rise to what many have dubbed the “mumblecore” film movement, of which our film would be considered a part, which features microbudget films driven by a small cast of characters and plenty of improvisation. The style of our film is right in that wheelhouse, and it’s only fitting that we should seek to premiere at the festival that champions this type of filmmaking.
After looking at acceptance and determining the best festival to premiere the film, we’ll bring the film through the smaller festival circuit throughout 2018, building our audience, and wrapping up at our hometown Denver Film Festival in November.
Once we have a cut of the film finished in post production, we’ll begin submitting it to Sales Agencies, who will represent our film to buyers and distributors. Getting representation from a top sales agent will help us with getting a longer look from festival programmers, and their established relationships with distribution companies will be much more effective in selling the film than independently shopping the movie at a film market. This avenue is the best chance for a theatrical release, depending on the reach of the distribution company we ink a deal with.
There are many widely available channels for self release on streaming services such as NETFLIX, AMAZON, iTunes, VUDU, FLIXTER, and more. While these streaming deals are often not lucrative ways to make money back on a film, they are undeniably the best way to get visibility and grow an audience for the film, and lead to stronger physical and cloud-based sales. Creating awareness for this film will also create more opportunities for future projects, opening doors to larger budgets, more marketable talent, and much greater ROI down the line. Filmmaking is a long-game investment, and growing an audience is the only way to make it profitable in the long run.
Another part of the self distribution model is direct sales, offering the film for rental or purchase via a user-friendly streaming service such as Vimeo, or even YouTube. Most sales from this avenue will come through social media and online engagement, calling our networks to action, running targeted facebook ad-campaigns, and getting reviews and writeups on popular websites and blogs which point the user to our streaming service of choice.
Pitching Man Camp at film markets can open up distribution opportunities domestically and abroad, and securing a foreign distribution deal is often considered essential for strong ROI on low budget, independent films. The style of Man Camp traditionally has done very well in Europe, where one of the most popular American imports is the sitcom Two and a Half Men. Immature guys making dumb choices, and the compications that ensue. Sound familiar? We strongly believe in the foreign sales potential of this film, and our specific brand of humor, highlighted by the fact that only 50% of our sketch group New Feelings Time’s 3.9 million YouTube views come from the United States.