This weekend, film maker colleague Simon Cox and myself have been selling our movies on DVD at Memorabilia – you can see the video above, just how the day turned out, and how much of a graft it can be.
I have always known the value of being able to sell your own stuff, but an event like this offers more than just the opportunity to sell some DVD’s. It’s a real learning experience. Getting that title right, killer artwork, expected cast and clear genre all make for an easy sale. While editing, I noticed something new in the footage, something I had never really noticed before in the heat of the sales floor – I noticed just how much time and how often people read the back of the DVD case. Those few sentences really seemed to be as important as the artwork and the title. I can see now that this synopsis is vital to get right as the customer will almost certainly pass if they don’t like what’s written there.
Something new for Simon and myself this time round was asking people for their emails, which they typed into a laptop, so that we can contact them in the future regarding our next movies.
I didn’t push Gone Fishing hard at all, as it’s a short film, but I was delighted that a few people did know of it and were very eager to buy it and watch it.
I also bumped into Warwick Davis, who we all know from Willow, The Star Wars movies and Harry Potter. I gave him a copy of Gone Fishing and reminded him that he made a film as a director which was in competition with my short film, ‘The Thing From Beneath The Bed’, back in 1988! Sadly, his very entertaining short ‘Video Nasty’ about a VCR that ate people, lost, as did mine, to a rather incomprehensible social realist angsty film that I forget the name of. Seems little ever changes!
One other sign of the time also took place at Memorabilia. A guy I was speaking to said that he had Urban Ghost Story and really liked it. I asked which DVD release it was, and he said, neither, he had downloaded it illegally. Just plain came out and said it. I suggested he could now own his own legal copy and he seemed a little ‘stunned’ that I would be so direct with him. I didn’t push it.
We all know piracy is going on, at an incredible scale too, but to own up to the film maker that they downloaded their film, and then be surprised when the film maker gently suggests they should buy a legal copy tells us a great deal about the state of things. People really do expect music and movies to be free. This leads us all into thinking, how can we better protect our work (or is it even possible)? Or more likely, how can we find new models that pay us to give the film away for free or nearly for free? Blimey. It’s the Wild West out there!
UPDATE – I forgot to tell you how much a stand costs… Of course you have travel and accommodation, but parking is free for Exhibitors, the stand costs £120 for 2 days and electricity is £90. So all in £210 for a stand at the convention. Not too bad.
Onwards and upwards!