Bullets as a Gimmick

“You want what?” The voice on the other end of the
phone asked, politely, but obviously taken aback.

"Some spent bullets," I replied, wondering
if my sanity had left me. "What’re you going to use them for?"
he wanted to know.

"The marketing of my independent feature movie."

"Oh."

There was a beat in his voice. "Well, c’mon down
and help yourself."

On a wet Tuesday, I did. The shooting range was north
of the city.

Guns and shooting ranges and bullets have always been
spooky things to me, but here I was in this large facility, surrounded
by a huge display of pistols, semiautomatics, and the sharp, thunderous
explosions of bullets going off

The manager directed one of his employees, to help
me gather spent slugs. He led me to a room, gave me headsets to
protect my ears, plastic glasses and gloves. We then marched through
two sets of doors and came to an empty shooting range.

I had entered one of my nightmares. We hardly said
a word to each other as we walked to the far end of the room; my
mind was too busy being bombarded by issues/05/images and memories. One was
of a photo taken during World War II when the Nazis had overrun
Paris, showing prisoners executed in an underground bunker exactly
like this room. My stomach churned uneasily.

On the ground, behind a rising lip, were thousands
of spent slugs. I got down on my knee and began collecting a sackful.
Was this in my job description as a filmmaker?

As I drove home through the monsoon, I stole glances
at the slug bag in the passenger seat, as if I were hauling spent
nuclear fuel. Suddenly three letters came to mind – FBI. The plan
was to send the slugs through the mail to distribution companies
in Los Angeles. I had forgotten to think whether this was legal
or not. I had visions of being arrested.

"Instead of sending the actual slug, why not
send a photo of a bullet?" my fiance wanted to know.

Not a bad idea, but I wanted something physical to
be send with the marketing letter. A picture would not have the
same impact.

"Why not try sending the bullet shell?"
a friend and fellow crew member from the movie inquired the next
day. "It’s lighter than the slug and probably more legal."

Bingo. But that meant returning to the shooting range.
I mustered the courage and went back. The manager directed me to
the back of the place, where I hunched over a barrel and filled
my little brown sack with spent shells.

Once again, I was caught in the vortex of something
eerie. To what lengths would I go, I asked myself, to sell this
movie, and in the same breath, what a bizarre thing it was that
I was doing.

That’s when Adam’s (Adam Gold, my partner on the project)
words about the film biz came to mind: "If it were easy, everybody
would be doing it."

My own spin on it:   "If it were
sane, everybody would be doing it!"

Next issue you’ll find out what, if anything, happened
with this marketing effort. MM

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