The other day listening to The Treatment with Elvis Mitchell, I heard his interview with the director of the independent movie Ballast. Between the interview and seeing the trailer, I am sold. This seems exactly like the kind of movie I like. One of the downsides of living in Myrtle Beach is that even last week when the town was having a film festival, it’s highly unlikely that a film like Ballast will be shown here.
Listening to the interview with director Lance Hammer, he talked about how they chose to distribute the movie themselves. He said the deals that indie movies are getting nowadays are so bad that it is effectively free on the front end. His statement was “We decided that if we were going to be working for free, we can do that ourselves and then not have to pay out a percentage of the back end.” OK, fair enough.
However if they are distributing this thing themselves and control all aspects of that, what reason is there to not make a day and date DVD release available? I’m enthused enough about the thing that I might be willing to drop the cash on the DVD right now if I could. Hammer is doing publicity for the film and I heard it and it worked on me. However right now if I’m not in Omaha or Portland this week I can’t see the movie. There just aren’t that many screenings of it. However if they had the DVD ready to go concurrently, they could be selling it at the screenings for those people who really loved it, they could be getting people adding this to their Netflix queues from the Treatment interview, etc. It seems a risky play to bank on people in this busy world to remember to look for this movie in 6 or 12 or 18 months when it is available outside of the screening areas.
It seems like they are doing about 85% of what needs to be done and missing the last 15% that might actually get it into people’s hands and get their money. I am at this moment enthused about this movie and it is top of mind. I can guarantee that in a few months that won’t be the case. Strike while the iron is hot, kids. There is no reason not to get your DVD and maybe even iTunes/Apple TV/whatever other online movie services versions ready to coincide with your national release. Particularly when you are only ever screening in a handful of cities at a time, put yourself in a position to capitalize on whatever buzz comes your way. Otherwise you are just squandering it.
PS – for a movie set and filmed in the Mississippi delta region, why is the closest screening to where it was shot in Shreveport? How about showing a little love for the people of Mississippi and have a screening near there?