Before I forget, we have just launched our trailer for The Last Lullaby. If interested, please take a look here.
Okay, now on to my thoughts for this week. Some people have questioned my model. Is it sustainable? Isn’t there a better way? I don’t know. Is there?
I know I’m having to get out there and speak a great deal about the movie. But, I go on indieWIRE and see that Barry Jenkins (Medicine for Melancholy), Lance Hammer (Ballast), Azazel Jacobs (Momma’s Man), David Gordon Green (Snow Angels) and now Ramin Bahrani (Goodbye Solo) are all doing the same thing. And all of them are much more established than I am. So that at least tells me, in this current landscape, you can’t be an anti-social moviemaker.
You can no longer just make your movie and know that people will be there to see it. Like a politician running for office, you have to be out there, among the people, talking about your work.
Speaking of some of the movies above, I’m a little disheartened by the numbers of Ballast and Medicine for Melancholy. Here are two movies that, in my book, totally hit home runs. Both are critical darlings that gained acceptance into pretty much every top-tier festival. Yet, look at the numbers: Ballast couldn’t do over $100K in domestic box office and though Medicine for Melancholy is still in play and will probably cross the $100K threshold, in its nine weeks of release now it still hasn’t done so.
What do these two examples tell us?
First off, they depress me. If movies like this can’t be real financial successes, then I’m not sure what can be. I can tell you, at least for me, having critics champion my work and festivals recognize the quality of my movies are things I’m striving for in my career. Yet, to realize that even when these two things happen there’s no guarantee of financial success… it certainly makes me question some things.
So, does it tell us that festivals are no longer important?
I’m not sure. I personally think they’re still important. Without them, how do you convince people that your movie is good and worth their time? Also, festivals give us the opportunity for critics to see our work and to meet other moviemakers who are struggling with the exact same questions. Festivals are costly, time-consuming and often exhausting, but I still see their usefulness in this changing landscape.
Does it tell us that critics are no longer important?
Once again I’m not so sure. Nothing sells something more than third-party validation. I can go around until I’m blue in the face talking about my movie and how great it is, yet none of that will hold a candle to a reputable critic saying the same thing. Sure, there are too many critics nowadays and I’m not sure anyone in this overly crowded, noisy world has quite the import that Pauline Kael once had in the ’70s. But a great review by J. Hoberman, Amy Taubin, Scott Foundas, Manohla Dargis, to name but a few, still carries a certain amount of weight.
It’s tough out there, folks. No doubt about it. Yet, personally, I still feel like I’m doing the best thing for my movie. But, please, if you have a better suggestion, let’s hear it.
After living in Los Angeles for seven years, Jeffrey Goodman returned to his hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana to direct The Last Lullaby. Co-written by the creator of Road to Perdition, and starring Tom Sizemore and Sasha Alexander, The Last Lullaby was filmed entirely in and around Shreveport and financed by 48 local investors.