The plan was for my dad and I to go directly to ArtWalk so that we could pass out postcards and help publicize the film to folks as they meandered about. But after a day of driving, and our faster-than-the-speed-of-light trip through New Orleans, we were pooped and wanted to relax a bit before the screening.
I always go into screenings with a bit of trepidation. The gnawing question as pre-stage jitters set in, "Will people show up? Are they going to get the humor? Will they fall for the prank at the end of the film?"
I looked around and noticed that the lobby was completely empty, with no sign of the anticipated swarms of people we had hoped to see.
When we were first alerted by South Arts that we had been invited to tour with our film, my dad and I brainstormed the possibility of pulling a prank to help spread the word. But pulling a prank isn't as easy as putting a banana peel on the sidewalk...there is actual planning and pre-production along with recruiting people to help, setting up 'protests,' building a legitimate looking website (a la The Yes Men) and alerting the media. We just didn't have enough time or manpower.
Back in the 70s, my parents 'paid' people with hot cocoa and donuts to stand in line in the cold outside of the movie theater where they were screening their film. It attracted so much attention that they packed the house every night without fail.
But this was forty years ago and modern media consumption in the digital age has totally altered the habits of cinema goers, even those who consider themselves die-hard film junkies.
On with the show, my dad and I had a great time talking with the folks who came and answering their questions. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. And it was by far the coolest space we've ever screened the film. The projection and sound were both excellent. Special thanks to Dennis Thibodeaux, Crystal, and the staff who came to the screening!
[The above entry was originally posted on the Southern Circuit - Tour of Independent Filmmakers blog on 2/12/11]