All in all the three of us kept quite busy on the road, Erica took over 160 photographs with her medium format camera, Xander collected over 30 different plants that he pressed, and I recorded just shy of 4 hours of footage… plus Erica and I did a lot of writing on top of everything else; it was a much needed get away for all of us.
We’ll have everything ready to start sending out in the next few weeks - Xander’s plants needed to stay pressed for a solid two weeks before they could be removed and ready to mail, and it was just yesterday actually that we picked up all of the negatives, which will take a few days to scan in and prep :)
And last, I meant to get to this video sooner after getting back home, but it took a while to go through all the footage (I took more than I meant to, which is never a bad thing) and mark which parts of clips I needed to set aside (for backers) and which I could use. In any case, I hope you’ll enjoy watching this video of our summer road trip - you helped make it one that we’ll remember.
- Mike, Erica & Xander
A week from now, I’ll be sitting down with our wonderfully talented sound-designer, Alexandra Fehrman, to wrap up the final sound mix on FOR THOUSANDS OF MILES; even just writing those words is incredibly exciting for me, I’ve long-known that sound would be one of the most important aspects of the film — that there was so much to do with it, so much to say with it, more than could be done visually — it’s been something I’ve looked forward to even before leaving to film during principal photography.
So, what’s the plan after that?
That’s something I’ve been working very hard on these last few months, which has involved a lot of picking back up where I last left off in regards to distribution research and outreach. My desk lately has been a mess of festival schedules, TUGG toolkits, VHX forums, IGTM case studies, on and on. It’s a lot to keep track of, and it’s moments like this when I realize all this hard work I’ve put into getting the film this far, it’s still only half way there.
This year I’ve been approaching film festivals very differently, thanks in large part to the advice of Rodrigo Reyes, who has stressed never submitting to festivals cold — to always find a way to personally reach out to festivals before hand, it helps to start a conversation about why you’re sharing the film with that festival, why you believe they are good fit — those are hard questions to answer sometimes, but it helps knowing that if you can’t answer those questions, then that festival might not be a good fit after all.
Of course, with any festival you’re stuck playing a waiting game, and it’s best to have a game plan for giving your film a long life after it plays or never-plays at a handful of film fest — with FTOM my main focus has always been self-releasing the film, to do this we’ll be using services like VHX, as well as self-organizing screenings through services like TUGG; meaning that any upcoming festival interest will only strengthen and validate the film.
Often filmmakers hope to use festivals as leverage when selling their film rights to various distributors… personally, having complete control over how the film is shared, sold, promoted, etc, is invaluable; not simply as a learning experience, but more so as an assurance that the film is not misrepresented.
As an example, every marketing team and conversation we’ve had about how to represent the film puts all the pressure on “it’s a bike movie!”, “slap a bicycle on the poster, get Trek to sponsor the film”, etc, but all of these things would, personally speaking, present a version of the film that I wouldn’t be interested in watching. So, for me, that’s a dangerous road to go down - and although I don’t know how to market, I do know the film… it is an intimate and personal part of me, and I plan to share the film in a way that is personal and intimate.
The long, trying experience of making this film has taught me far-more about myself than I ever expected - and, if making the film is only half the process, if the remaining half is giving that film a chance at a life of it’s own out in the real world, than I want to be 200% involved in that, I want to understand how to be the best advocate and defender… of something I worked so hard to create.
If you’d like to pre-order the film, you can do so here. Note! If you’ve backed the film on Kickstarter, you likely already have a copy of the film coming you way when it is released, if you’re not sure, please write us to find out. If you’re interested in bringing the film to your hometown theater, you can add yourself to a list of people who we’ll reach out to in the near future, when we are ready to really start pushing for self-organized events.
View more #7x7s at mikeambs.com/7x7 1) Dropping by to surprise my Mom at work. 2) Going through old photos with family. 3) Racing Nick in a quick game at the arcade. 4) Heading back home after a far-too-short visit with family… 5) Trying to keep cool and calm during a big meeting. Feeling very jet-lagged. 6) Xander and I racing around Cars Land. 7) I got talked into buying a Vinylmation — everyone got exactly the one they wanted except for me :P