Well, after a 3+ week break since the end of the Australian Tour for Street Dreams I think I’ve recovered enough to write a bit about it. Joking (partly) about the recovering bit…Jason and I had to return to “normal” life after the extended traveling for the trip and try to get a sense of where to go from here. More about that in a moment… firstly, for anyone who is interested in seeing a bit more of a visual wrap-up to the Tour, I’ve put together a bit of a Photo Gallery on Facebook…
I think that much that needs to be said about the tour has been said in the previous blog posts during this tour that I did on the road while it was fresh having just happened or in the process of happening (you can only watch the same movie so many times so I wrote during some screenings!). Our overall impressions and gleanings of doing this tour can be summed up in tidy bullet points:
- it was an excellent learning experience. We had never put something together like this tour on a scale like this (21 screenings in 34 days throughout 5 states, where a Red Earth representative was in attendance at each event) so we learned a lot about the costs, logistics and promotion required to make something like this work, and what to do better next time
- despite the process of traveling around being a tiring and expensive way of doing this tour was, meeting people face-to-face plus fielding their questions and making a direct impact is something that we are very happy that we did. We feel that it was tremendously important for audiences to see a bunch of blokes standing up there, pouring their hearts out and trying to make people realise why it’s so important for men, in particular, to stand up for both women and people who are in desperate situations who need our help. The feeling went both ways; we felt an outpouring of love and support from many places that we went and a genuine desire for people to learn about and acknowledge that this is a significant problem. It helped us to understand the types of concerns and conclusions people come to when confronted with this issue.
- although we already knew it, it made us realise where our limitations are and why it takes more than 2 guys to make a film and then adequately promote it!
- we made valuable connections with people along the way who are currently, and in the future, able to: donate their time to help us promote the film; spread awareness about the issue; get on board with their own activities to fight slavery.
- among many other things I could list here, it also gave us some confidence as filmmakers that we did something that could be critically viewed for both its content and the way it was crafted
Here’s a few things that we thought were special over the 5-weeks of the tour:
- seeing our name up in lights! Every filmmakers dream I reckon. We only saw ours in 2 places (Tribal Theatre, Brisbane; the electronic listing of films at Sydney’s The Ritz) but it was still pretty cool.
- the film on the big screen! Probably moreso than the name in lights, seeing your film (especially one shot on a digital SLR camera) on a 5 meter high screen is great.
- hearing Katie Wallis speak passionately about her personal story and her plea to audience members to pay attention to the welfare of our global neighbours.
- visiting the students of Unley High School in Adelaide (thanks Jodie!) and seeing the clear expressions of acknowledgement of how wrong this issue is (particularly young guys) after we showed them the trailer.
- the fantastic and passionate women of the Central Coast who brought the audiences and their energy & enthusiasm to the events
- Tasmania! Such a beautiful place. Jason and I were both smitten with it.
- despite being one of our smallest audiences, the folks at Parks Community Centre screening were passionate and very thankful for our visit. We visibly moved the projectionist who desperately wanted to help more. Fantastic to see.
- the amazing folks who offered us places to stay with no hesitation, many of them were strangers or people that one of us had never met. We only paid for accommodation 4 times in 35 days (in Tassie, for 4 nights. We knew nobody there!). Thanks to Scottie & Mel, Chris & Beaux, Nick and Kirstie, Ralph plus Donna and family for your generous hospitality!
The next immediate step for Red Earth is get the DVD out to supporters and people who purchased the film on the Tour. The DVD won’t be widely available just yet as we don’t want to jeopardise our chances with overseas festivals, many of which will not accept a film if it is available for distribution on disc. Since we have done a modest tour and aren’t broadly publishing the DVD, we may still even be able to appeal to Australian broadcasters like SBS or ABC, but then again they have not had much interest in our attempts to woo them even before this, so I can’t see that they’re going to take the leap with us anyway.
One of the gracious people who wanted to donate her time to getting us started from a PR point of view was Robyn Devine from Devine Media in Brisbane who offered her marketing expertise to us at one of the screenings. We are hoping to nail down a plan moving forward as we are currently juggling the possibilities of DVD self-distribution vs a distributor, how to access the education industry and how to best target young males, touring the film more vs putting more effort into investors for growing the campaign or turning it into something more (like a series), film festivals and broadcasters vs a home-grown campaign focusing more on the issue than on the film, etc.
I guess at the end of the day we just want the film to be an effective medium to educate people, give them insight and motivation to do something to help people in need and allow us to make more of these films. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? erm….
Thanks for taking this journey with us folks! We look forward to the next stage of this adventure, whatever that may be!
Mike & Jason