By Dan Witherall
English MA Student
So, festival submissions have been made. We eagerly await, and…
We get into Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival. We are ecstatic. I’m not going but Colin is. He will do a Q&A after the showing, and we will have our North American premiere. Lovely.
Then, some bloke who runs a distribution company in the States contacts us. He wants to offer us a deal. We employ the expertise of Pip Piper as our consultant and we learn a bonkers amount about the industry simply from observing his negotiations. We cannot thank Pip enough.
Pip Piper is a human male that I have met due to my time in BCU*. And my time at BCU is a very recent edition to this tale. The tuition that we’ve garnered from Pip’s experience as a producer are of immeasurable importance and quality. The journey that Lost Creek has taken us on has merged with my enrolment at BCU at the perfect time. Like a river, in fact. A creek is a river, see. See? See!?
Anyway, the point is that my involvement with BCU has boosted the momentum of Lost Creek like one of those tsunamis that sort of swell rather than storm through the town and destroy everything instantly. The impact is the same, but the initial wave is less noisy. Nevertheless, BCU has been a serious, serious factor in where we are today. We only wish that I had started the course earlier. The guidance and advice that Screenwriting tutor Andy Conway has given me during my time here has made me a better writer, one thousand percent. We cannot thank Andy enough.
Then, we win Best Feature Narrative at Pittsburgh. Colin sends me a text as I walk through Digbeth at 2 AM. I feel like a total rock star until I observe a homeless man urinating next to me, and I’m succinctly brought back down to earth.
The festival director at Pittsburgh gives Colin a contact to an L.A. sales agent and we give him a call. He sees the film and wants to represent us. We end discussions with the current distributor and go with the sales agent. His plan is to sell the film in as many territories as possible. Sweet.
While writing / filming, we never once discussed “The Amblin Feel”. But when we were editing and adding the score (which is bangin’, by the way), someone said, “Why not give it that sun-drenched Amblin thing?” So, y’know, we did.
Then, Stranger Things came out on Netflix.
It has a similar theme, feel, sound and look. This helps us massively. Suddenly, our trailer is approaching HALF A MILLION views as of October 2016. Also, as I write this, I learn that our film has been cropping up on IMDb watch lists and we’ve garnered a Google Sidebar. It all seems so legit, right? Now we just need a Wiki page!
Then, we get into the International Horror Film Festival (later rebranded as FEARnyc) in New York. I book my tickets. The jury members are people that Colin and I have wanted to meet / work with / exist near for years. They have seen our film, and we’ll get to meet them. It’s also an industry festival which means that we’re automatically considered for distribution. There’s a red carpet event and we will be expected to speak to media outlets at the opening ceremony. Colin will wear a sharp suit and bowtie. I will wear whatever fits.
Then, we get accepted into Freak Show Horror Fest in Orlando. It’s the same week as FEARnyc so we won’t be going (we have a representative going, though).
We are exhausted and elated and terrified and excited and feel slightly unprepared for whatever comes next.
But then, in our sparse moments of clarity and soberness, we are determined. We take the compliments and the criticism (it took a long time to convince Colin to stop reading the YouTube comments on the trailer) and we steady ourselves. This is our lives, and what we want. The only thing we want. We believe in ourselves and we know we are capable. Just like anyone else is. We spent a long, long time saying, “We’re gonna make a film”.
And then we did. Just like anyone can. And seriously, you can!
Next time, I’ll be banging on about my experiences in New York, and whatever else this insanity has dumped on our laps. So stay tuned! Or don’t. I’m not your mother.