By lance weiler, April 29th, 2007

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A few weeks ago the HEAD TRAUMA mashup / cinema ARG had its first screening. The event was a collision of movies, music, gaming and theatrics. In a previous post I questioned the viability of traditional theatrical releases for “truly” independent films. The mashup / cinema ARG has promise and event driven theatrical experiences could in fact become an interesting model for independent distro.

- The event attracted regional and national press. Not only reviews but a collection of articles that explained the event. Even though I received press during HT’s theatrical release in Sept. 06 the mashup resulted in even more press.

- The ticket price was $14 dollars and over 150 people attended the event – one night was better than the average gross of each of HT’s traditional theatrical week long runs. The event also allowed me to sell DVDs, Posters, and copies of the HT soundtrack.

- The HT mailing list grows as audience members sign up to receive updates about the film

- The evening was recorded and now there are more promotional materials for the film – a behind the scenes doc, a new alternate soundtrack that syncs with the movie and a couple hundred photographs

- National press leads to a number of amazing opportunities. I’ve been contacted by managers, agents, advertising agencies, additional venues and sponsors that are interested in taking the cinema ARG on the road.

- The success of the first Cinema ARG leads to bookings in NYC, London, and San Francisco

- The Cinema ARG is picked up by a number of trend tracking firms who have the following to say:
“Director Lance Weiler has created a “remix” presentation of his cult indie horror flick Head Trauma, the result of which sounds like a good approximation of the future of film. …As theatres increasingly compete with home entertainment, we believe live film presentations such as this could be a way to keep audiences going out to movies.”

- Wired sends a reporter to the event. To read his take click here.

OVERALL: Even though it was a lot of work, I think an event based theatrical model can be the right answer for films looking to stand out in a crowded market. The important element is finding the right event to center around your work. A good starting point is to identify your film’s hooks. What is it about your film that people will find interesting? Once you figure out the hooks then you can start to build an event. If you do move forward with an event based screening we’d love to hear about it. Send your emails to work [@]

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Posted in arg audience case study development distro diy gaming promotion remix theatrical

lance weiler is the founder of the WorkBook Project and also a story architect of film, tv and games. He's written and directed two feature films THE LAST BROADCAST and HEAD TRAUMA. He's currently developing a number of transmedia projects


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