Hells yeah!! Amazon Prime Video selected the movie for distribution on the VOD platform and it will go live in the next 12 weeks!! WOOOOOOTTT!!!!! ANOTHER MILESTONE!
I won’t know the exact date it will go live. Amazon doesn’t alert for that. Instead, I just have to keep checking until it shows up on search queries. Once it does show up, I will need to game the algos and get all my friends that care to search and watch the film to leave a rating. That will be the best thing anyone can do for me. I won’t see much money from this but it will push the movie up for Recommended Movies and, hopefully, I can get some kudos that way.
I also noticed that another platform selected the film. I figured this would happen once Amazon selects. I’ll have to see if more will follow but I’m happy to be picked by any of these platforms. I will time the release of the graphic novel with the film going live. I noticed that it became trendy in the Fil-Am scene to have a graphic novel nowadays so I decided to hold off and let the shallow trendiness subside. Although my target audience and topics are not the same, I still don’t want to be lumped in with all them unnecessarily as it would dilute the authenticity of mine. I’ve been working on it for over a decade and I’m careful with how the subject matter is told, versus getting a comic book out there ahead of others for personal satisfaction. It’s too important to rush.
I decided to do a special screening of the film once the movie is out on Amazon. It will be an intimate affair and may be an invite only event. I plan to feature other Filipino American independent artists that tackle subjects NOT about cultural, political, or sexual identity. I would like to give a hand to other Fil-Am indie storytellers who are deserving of praise but have little to no support from organizations like Bindlestiff or CAAM. If you know of anyone like that, please do link me with them. If you are Fil-Am and have a short film you made that has nothing to do with being Filipino, please contact me and let’s collaborate!
Great news! Love Letter Templates was selected by Amazon Prime Video for channel distribution consideration! That means they selected it to review and they can still reject it like Tubi did but I am hopeful that they will take it and be available before my birthday this year on September 30th. Nevertheless, something told me to check the status of distribution channels and saw that Amazon had already selected it about two weeks ago. This is an important step, although as someone who’s experienced rejection after rejection, I take it with a grain of sugar and will wait to cross the finish line before doing any dance.
The music video has been posted on YouTube and has been quietly waiting for me to start on another campaign push. Now that I’ll be anticipating an Amazon release, I’ll be making some video ads to promote it on Amazon as a way to drive traffic and get noticed by their algorithms. Look for some residual content associated with the movie in the coming month!
Watch the music video on the front page if you haven’t already!
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted and it seems that I’ll be posting less frequently until I get confirmations from streaming channels that my movie was purchased for streaming. When I first submitted my film to the distribution platform, they altered the images I created to fit their submission guidelines but I was completely shocked with the quality of the graphics! It was out of brand and I was really taken aback as to why anyone would alter the graphics for the movie instead of just rejecting the assets and have me do it again. Instead, the rep for the platform decided he wanted to make graphics for my movie himself?? I complained to him and set up a Zoom meeting to fix it but the dude cancelled on the minute of our meeting like a total pro. I was so pissed!
The following week, he messaged me to say that any changes I request at this point will cost me $50 and I was like, ‘Oh hell nah!’ First the guy messed with my graphics then flaked on our meeting, now he wants to charge me for changes?? I was infuriated so I went on LinkedIn to search his name, found him, then looked at this post activity, found out he just started 3 months prior and included his new boss on his post. I messaged her and told her what happened like a real Karen. Lo and behold, he messages and tells me that he’ll waive the charge and fix the issue, thanks to his manager’s direction. Sometimes, being a Karen is the best thing to do. Just let their managers deal with them.
But now, the movie has been sitting idle on the queue and there hasn’t been any channels that picked it up for streaming. I was told I have to wait up to several months. I guess I’ll be patient for now. Meanwhile, I will be releasing the official music video for A Lesson In Trust, featured on the soundtrack album. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and hit the Like button because every single thing counts. Thank you!!
I finally got around to submitting the movie for QC. This is the last step before it goes live on Amazon Prime, Apple TV, iTunes Movies, Redbox, iMDB, and select other platforms that will be willing to stream this without the MPAA rating. I couldn’t pay for the NC-17 label but the movie will now live as an unrated adult animation drama until I do.
I opted to do it independently so as to close the loop on this whole DIY project. I was approached by a sales agent in Los Angeles, asking me to retain him for $5000 with the promise to sign me for only 10%, typically 25%, supposedly. The contracts he will go after are at $100,000 so I would only owe him another $5000 on the back end. Sounds fair, right? Umm. No.
When the movie was screened in Tucson, I befriended the festival director there who also worked for a film distribution company. He told me that asking for a retainer is scummy Hollywood stuff. Instead, I should just skip the agent and pay myself $5000 to go through the process and send it to a central distributor myself and keep the 10%. That’s exactly what I did!
I finally got the QC results and the movie passed! That means channels can start delivering them. I did notice a few things though. The graphics for the movie were tampered. The platform rejected my graphics and someone from in-house just whipped something else up. It’s not brand but I’ll find out if I have a choice. I also forgot to submit the trailer. DUH!! I totally forgot. I guess there won’t be a trailer for it unless I pay to update it. Anyways, I got this far so I better do it right.
I’ll find out whether Amazon Prime and Apple TV will stream this title in the next few months. For now, I will be sunsetting direct links to private screenings except for those who received NFT keys. Those will live for as long as there is an internet.
I’m almost done with the comic book and will be updating everyone about that soon!
Hey y’all! I was interviewed a few weeks back right before the SF IndieFest screening by Bitch Talk Podcast, hosted by two AAPI sisters that spent time living here in San Francisco back in the early 00s. They screened the movie ahead of time and gave it some good reviews. I wanted to thank them here for having me on their show. They seemed very familiar to me and I think I did spend time partying with them back then. Check out the podcast episode featuring the interview here:
Derby’s of San Francisco
I went and visited the Derby’s store on Haight Street the other week to show them the graphic novel strips that feature characters in original Derby jackets. In the comic book, I go a bit deeper into the relevance of the SF iconic attire worn by certain neighborhoods. I give a bit more context into it based on urban legends I held growing up in the Sunset and Mission district.
The young lady working at the shop took a liking to my story and suggested I cross advertise with them on their blog, which I might do. I told her that I will show them the full thing so that they can have a better idea of how I represent their brand. They have rebuilt themselves into a classic brand and I reflect on it from the perspective of white punks on dope. I was happy to hear back that they were down for that too. I look forward to working with them in the near future, another dream come true!
Check out the sample pages from my upcoming graphic novel, Spare Change, named after the controversial chapter from the film! I made great strides with the comic book conversion of the movie right after the screening at The Roxie. I wanted to take some downtime and figure out what was next for me and the movie. I did have some correspondence regarding distribution possibilities but I’m still considering the options which I will elaborate on later.
What’s more exciting is that my creativity is flowing again. I have been so engrossed with marketing and promotion that I really missed being the writer so I took the time to walk around the city for inspiration and think through things. This is the phase of my creative process when I say “yes” to everything and gallivant around town at night for adventure and new experiences. It’s not a good habit, actually, since it could be dangerous but that’s exactly what I need.
I’ve been researching other graphic novel prints and reading quite a bit of comics to reinvigorate my love for the medium. I’m really stoked and inspired. Speaking to distributors and publishers, they really like my concept and movie adaptation reversal so there is no rush. The interest is growing and the right time will come so it’s only a matter of the extent the book will take to properly complete.
Spare Change will be the first of six anthology editions focusing on Metatron’s storyline. Each chapter will dive deeper into the background of each character and fun facts behind obscure references in the movie. There’ll be a few other neat things about it but I’ll hold out and surprise everyone. Stay tuned!!
Deal Or No Deal
After the screening, I was messaged by a distribution label from LA offering me an opportunity to get my movie out on Amazon, iTunes, Netflix, HBOMax, and all kinds of crazy stuff. The guy basically found me on the roster for selections at SF IndieFest and pitched me to hire him as an agent. He wasn’t condescending when he explained the way it works in Hollywood but I played dumb and pretended to be intrigued when he said, “you just have to pay me $5,000 up front.”
This prompted me to call up another film distributor I met in Tucson, Arizona when my film showed there last September. The director of that festival also work for a distro and he told me what sort of deals they run. Learning that I can skip this agent guy and go directly to platforms, I decided to pay myself $5,000 and forego the Hollywood Rolodex for now in favor of going the indie route at this stage of the game.
To share some numbers, this is what the offer was: 10% of any distribution made (instead of ~25% that sales agents charge) with a $5,000 retainer, meaning if he gets me a $100,000 deal over 10 years, he would only be due $5,000 of that. Like a lawyer. My first reaction was, ‘oh hell nah.’ What I did find out is that most distro centers will take 20-30% with no money up front without any marketing (only platform distribution). That $5,000 could go toward publicity for promoting the film online so going direct to platforms sound like the best thing. So, expect the movie availability on Amazon and iTunes this summer as planned. And the comic will be done too!!
The movie showing at the Roxie Theater was a success. It sold out the screening room a good hour before the show. I was really glad that I was able to reserve some tickets ahead of time so my closest friends were able to get in. There were some ticket confusion at the box office and some seats were sold twice, resulting in an overpacked room. Luckily, there were folding seats available and I didn’t have to give up my seat. I sat at the front row last seat. This is important to know because I really have no idea what the surround mix will sound like in a theater–the experience I wholeheartedly have been looking forward for.
I was reluctant to write about the premiere right after the event because I had mixed feelings. I truly am grateful to the universe that conspired to let it all happen the way it did, my friends who came out despite their busy schedules and distance, the festival with all the covid restrictions and budgetary restraints, and the film file itself which played flawlessly with the color grade I intended and surround sound mix I was so anxious to hear finally. I want to say this first before I express what my real emotions were during and after the event.
I watched the other films being featured in the festival and, I must say, I am humbled to know that my movie was in the same roster as these magnificently made flicks. I wholly enjoyed the movies that I saw and I’m really honored to be considered as in the same league. Because of that, it was easier for me to accept that I did not get the audience award, even though the showing sold out. I remember the person next to me checking her watch about 3/4 into the movie so I think that many people thought the movie was too long. I poll’d the friends that did show up and they all said the same thing, basically.
After the showing, there was a quick Q&A and questions that have been asked before like, “was this based on yourself?” and “what took so long?” were asked, as anticipated, and I’m glad I was able to respond with a polished answer. Some people asked some questions regarding the music programs and the visual processing I used and I started nerding out kind of hard. Luckily, I caught myself and was able to take command of the audience again. It was strange. I was anxious about being in front of people but, somehow, I felt the most comfortable I’ve ever been. It was like being on stage at The Stone. Or, in front of class at Ex’pression. It just felt normal and where I should be. It really made me think where my anxiety is really coming from???
The friends that came all genuinely made me feel at ease and the love I felt seeing them there were enough for me to have the bravery in exposing myself to so many strangers. I’m so glad to have these friends who stuck by me even when it was inconvenient or unpopular. Friends who weren’t able to make it but posted, shared, messaged others, linked me up with folks, those friends also prepared me. I’m really thankful to them.
But while I saw the faces of people I love, I also noticed whose faces I did not see, words I never heard. It made me realize something about this whole filmmaking journey that made me sad. The community of underground artists I’ve supported for years showed zero support. It was as if the writing was on the wall and I pretended the message wasn’t for me. But, it very much was. It made me sad to realize that people who I thought were my community did not rally for me and, some, really never did care, evident in their passive responses to my invites, if they responded at all. I can tell if they read the message by the way. It really did bum me out. I totally understand not being able to make it because of covid, family, work, whatever it is. But, there was absolutely zero buzz. One person straight up said they don’t support my movie because “It’s not (our) jam.” They never even saw it.
One thing that was interesting was the reception for the music in general. People in the audience not familiar with my music really liked it and friends who watched the movie before said that listening to it in the theater was a totally different experience. I heard words like “brilliant” and “outstanding” so my ego was a bit flossed but, most importantly, I felt validated by the universe. I was doing exactly what I should be doing, when and where I should be doing it. As to why…it is because of my mother’s grit. Underlying this movie journey, which took over a decade to complete, is the spirit of my mother’s testament that anything we can “conceive and believe, we will achieve”.
I plan to detox from social media for a little while and focus on next steps. The director’s cut premiere is now done and I will be shopping out the abridged version for theatrical distribution. I’ve also started writing a book related to the film. I’ll have more news on that soon. Meanwhile, I’ll be working on the next phase of this movie’s journey: THE TOUR!! This is just the beginning!
SF IndieFest is now showing the movie online on their event stream happening now until end of the week! Click on the image below to take you there. It only costs $10 to support SF IndieFest, a non-profit organization that supports independent filmmakers keep indie films alive in San Francisco. I’m stoked to support it myself and their slot of films are real tops!
I was walking from Roxie Theater the other day after checking to see if they’ve put the movie poster up yet. I was hoping, but they haven’t. Instead of turning back, I decided to walk over to Zeitgeist to have a beer instead. On the way, I saw someone who made a cameo in the movie 15 years ago! His name is Ronnie Buders and he’s an amazing “muralist” here in San Francisco, having tagged numerous murals all over the city throughout the 2000’s up to now. I was so stoked to see him and let him know that the movie is out! He was able to reconnect me with another person from the party days who made a cameo AND help promote the party shoot at Rickshaw in 2005. Her name is Rosie and I couldn’t find her for the life of me because I didn’t know her last name. She goes by Rose Eden now and it turns out she is the editor for Broke Ass Stuart’s Style column so she said she’s coming to write about what people were wearing. I told her don’t lol. She’ll be at the afterparty and will most likely take photos so come to the party anyways!
I wasn’t able to hook up turntables and a mixer for the party. I was just too busy. Instead, I’m gonna keep it easy and pull together a killer playlist and drink specials for the schmoozers. That’s okay, right? Someone said I should be talking to people and schmooze since everyone is expecting that. I’m pretty sure most people will be like, “ummm…I didn’t get it.” Lol
With the advent of finding the Unknown Actor, Ashon Martin, I was able to complete the credits for the movie and transcode it into a Digital Cinema Package (DCP) format with 5.1 surround audio files for the movie premiere at the Roxie. This wasn’t an easy task. Most film houses send their large format video exports to a post-production house that specifically create DCP packages, the format required by most movie theaters, for $800 to $1200, last I checked. I had to create one and had no choice. So, in the spirit of being truly DIY-or-die, I hit the interwebs to figure out how to do it myself. Luckily, I was able to using Davinci Resolve and a free open source app DCP-o-matic to do the final transcode after several failed attempts.
The final transcode, an overnight render, came out to 180 GB so I needed to either pay for a cloud drive service or hand deliver it in a drive. I did just that and met the technician at Roxie name Lex, who explained to me more technical details for the proper projection of the movie. Imagine working on something for twenty years, then doing all the ground work and late nights to prep for the movie premiere and the file doesn’t play. That would be devastating so I made sure I got it there in time to test. I’ll be hearing from them by tomorrow to find out if all is good or if I need to do it all over again.
Before I left, I asked if I could put up my movie poster before the festival. Normally, they put them up only on the day of the showing but they sometimes fill space up with upcoming shows. I showed her my augmented reality movie poster that I used in Tucson, Arizona and Lex was impressed enough to suggest that I drop it off sometime and they will personally look for space when the chance comes. I thought that was nice.
I modified the new poster to reflect new awards and made the video simpler to make it easier to load in the app needed to view the AR content. To print the poster costs about $60 but I found a print shop to do it for $50 so I hope it turns out nice. I plan to frame it, of course, but I hope I see it on the display at the Roxie.
SF IndieFest Q&A
We recorded an interview for the online stream and post screening instead of holding a live Q&A. I guess this was a good idea since some folks are still uncomfortable being in closed spaces with many other people. We recorded about 35 minutes but I requested to edit it down after feeling concerned about one answer I gave to a question I didn’t want to answer. I was asked about my friend who committed suicide and was reluctant to answer but when the interviewer asked what his name was, I spat it out and regretted it right after. I wanted to edit it out and found the 35 minute interview very long and full of my babbling about stuff that had nothing to do with the question. I was talking too much so I cut it down to focus on the actors and the most important things I had to say. It came out to 15 minutes and you can watch it here:
Advance tickets to the live showing and online stream is now available on the SF IndieFest event site for $10 ($14 at door). I’m urging friends that plan to attend the screening to get tickets ahead of time since there are only 47 available seats. I can comp anyone who worked on the film, cast or crew, just hit me up. For everyone else, I want to encourage supporting SF IndieFest. They truly do help make dreams come true. Mine for sure.
Please help me put the word out by sharing the movie and afterparty flyer to trusted friends as well as on your news feeds. I would appreciate it so much!!
Back in 2002, I stumbled back toward the back room at the bar on 16th and Albion after realizing the music being played wasn’t the jukebox but a DJ, as someone corrected me. Right when I stepped in the smoke filled room, the song Surrender by Cheap Trick came on and it blew my mind to see a girl with pitch black hair behind the decks on the platform. I looked around and everyone had dyed black hair. I was at some kind of MySpace vortex, I thought. Then the next record hit. It was Don’t Stop Believin’. I used to hate that Journey song but, all of a sudden, I found myself singing along with the whole room because, even then, we knew we were having the time of our lives. That bar was Delirium.
I tried setting up a show at The Rickshaw but it just didn’t come together. They wanted a bar guarantee for a Wednesday during the pandemic and I really had to struggle with scaling down but I did. SF IndieFest director preferred Delirium since it was only a few doors away. He was pleased that I put it together. It makes better sense to just keep it easy after the screening.
Working with the bartender, Sheau-Wa (I love that name!), was real easy too. She gave me a jello shot before we spoke and I was totally jello for whatever after that! She hosts Wednesday metal nights and have rotating DJ’s so I asked if I can DJ that night and the movie yada-yada so she was totally cool with opening up the back room and setting up some turntables for punk and metal records. But! Get this. I’ll be playing stuff like The Damned, Siouxsie, Ministry, and Cocteau Twins too! So come to the movie showing (if you are cootie free) and have a drink after at Delirium because I know you’ll have questions. The movie is fairly complex.
Advanced tickets for streaming are now available on the SF IndieFest Event site.
I was randomly on the Birthday notification section of Facebook the other day and caught a glimpse of a profile that looked like this guy. He had a birthday the other day and his name rang a bell right away. I clicked on his profile to make sure and, sure enough, it was. Another Ex’pression student posted a happy birthday note on his profile even though he hasn’t posted anything for over a year. I was SOOOO ELATED!!! I messaged him right away and still waiting for his response.
The first thing I did after writing him was fix the movie credits. The movie is now fully complete.
12 FPS conversion: done
5.1 Surround Mix: done
French subtitles: done
Final credits: done!
DCP Format for theatrical screening: HOLY CRAP NOT DONE
My next big task, the most critical task that needs to happen or all is for naught, is to get a Digital Cinema Package done by next week so I can test it before hand. This is no easy task and typically costs filmmakers $800-$1200 to have it done professionally. I’m going to pay myself to do it for $500 since I’ve never done it before. Wish me luck!!