So, it’s time to finally let go. As of this morning, Fallen Soldiers is out of our hands. I just dropped off a hard drive at the distributors offices with the movie and it’s deliverables. In theory, the next time we see it, it’ll be on a shelf in a shop somewhere.
It’s a bit hard to write about the adventures that Fallen Soldiers has led us on over the last year, because, put simply, very little happened. At the start of February, I spent a very sleepless week, slapping together a viewing copy in order to have our grand Cast and Crew screening at the Curzon cinema in Soho on Saturday the 7th. That was the first time the entire film was together. I’d received the finished sound and music files a couple of days earlier and had spent the week before frantically grading it, (thanks to Marco for trouble shooting) and I had real problems finally transferring the damn thing, to the point that at 7pm on the Friday night, we genuinely didn’t know if we’d have a film to show at 11am the next morning. I forget, but i think it was around 1am when it was finally, definitely sorted.
Around 70 people came along, cast, crew, friends of the production and a few work colleagues, and we watched the movie. Everyone was very enthusiastic and I think it was a surprise to a lot of people, as so many of them had worked on their little bit and never really seen the whole finished film. Unsurprisingly, we then spent the rest of the day/ evening celebrating and discussing how we’d do it better next time. It was a great way to end the process of making our first film. I’ve said it before, but I’ll do it again…
A huge thanks to everyone who helped us create Fallen Soldiers, we absolutely could not have done it without each and every one of you.
So, after about 2 years, we finally had our finished film.
Then we did nothing with it.
It sounds stupid, but we didn’t really do anything with it for quite a while. Jason started a new job which meant he was doing even more hours than before, and I was beginning to get more paid directing work. Fallen Soldiers became one of those things on an ever growing list of “things to get round to doing something about”. We did enter it into a couple of festivals, but had no replies, and i started cutting a new trailer but that was about it.
Later in the year we talked to a couple of acquaintances who knew about dvd sales, but I think in all honesty, we didn’t really know what to do with it. We’d had feedback from a sales agent that, as the film didn’t have anyone famous in it, and wasn’t made by anyone famous, that it was probably unsellable, and that pretty much stopped us in our tracks. I think I’d probably feel worse about our inaction, except that I’ve seen a few people in the same situation as us do very similar things. I’ve come to the conclusion that actually making a film is the easy bit. Knowing what to do afterwards is a whole different ball game.
Then in October, we’d had it sitting on our shelf, and on our consciences for so long, we decided to have one last stab at it. If we hadn’t sold it by January, we’d put it out online. At least that way our friends would all get to see it, and if we were lucky, we might make a tiny bit of money out of it.
So, with a deadline to work to (that always makes a difference) I arranged a meal with Ben, a producer Kiera had worked with on several jobs. He’d sold a film of his own before and managed to raise funding for another, so he knew more than we did. He’d also come along to the crew screening, so he knew the film.
We explained where we were at with it and asked for his advice on what to do, where to go, and who to speak to. He was of the opinion that the advice we’d had about it’s sellability was probably right, but he offered to show it to a couple of friends in distribution, not to ask them to buy it, but to see if they thought it had legs or not.
A couple of weeks later he forwarded on some feedback which pretty much confirmed what we’d suspected.
“Good to see you earlier this week and thanks for the screening link to FALLEN SOLDIERS. I’ve now had a chance to view it and whilst I enjoyed it, I don’t think we can generate enough business to make it work for the film makers or ourselves. I’m sorry and another time I hope.”
So, we figured that was pretty much it. As I’m writing this, it seems like we were pretty defeatist about it all, and in some ways perhaps we were, but I think also, from the start, we’d made Fallen Soldiers for a whole collection of reasons (see my first blog), and, in Kickstarter terms, actually selling the film was always our stretch goal., the thing that it would have been nice to achieve, but not something we really expected to happen. We’d got a massive amount out of the process, and even a near miss had taught us a little bit more, so if it didn’t sell, it wasn’t the end of the world.
That’s all bullshit though. We should have got off our arses and pushed much, much harder than we did.
So, again, we did nothing else about it. I’d landed another series for Sky so everything else fell by the wayside as I had to throw all of my energy into it. Then, completely out of the blue, I got a text from Jason on set. Ben had been in touch. He’d taken a punt and sent our film to another distributors, 101 Films, and pretty much straight away, they’d made us an offer. I didn’t have time to respond because we were in the thick of shooting, but it completely spun me out for the rest of the day.
We met up with Ben and the guys from 101 about a week later and received the contracts. Because we met immediately before Christmas, we didn’t get final confirmation of the deal until the New Year, so I spent all Christmas with the nagging feeling it was going to fall apart. In the end, I got the call on the same day that we finished the series for Sky, and we popped champagne on set as a double celebration. It was particularly nice that quite a few of the guys and girls who had worked on Fallen were also there, working with us on the Sky series.
101 will be distributing Fallen Soldiers on Blu Ray and DVD, in the UK, Ireland and Australia. We don’t know exactly where yet as it depends on who picks it up, but in theory it’ll be available in supermarkets.
Once the series was out of the way we gradually worked our way through the deliverables for 101, things like Rachel and Chloe’s photographs and a synopsis for press blurb, credit lists and loglines for the DVD cover, etc.
Ceri Williams also shot and directed a short “making of” for us, and Drew Cunningham recorded us talking rubbish for the commentary track, while Carl and Bennet finished off the music and sound for the new trailer, which should go on line shortly.
So, yeah. The deliverables are all delivered, 101 have the film, and sometime towards the end of August, Fallen Soldiers will probably be lurking in the bottom of a bargain bin, somewhere near you…
(I’ll wait 6 months or so, until we see how it does, and then I’ll do an article about how the money side of things work etc. once we’ve found out more about it).