Alt-release...

This week I travel to London for a screening of Voyageuse on Friday 14th at Picturehouse Central to take part in a Q&A with the wonderful Siân Phillips and Anna Smith, film journalist and President of the Critic’s Circle. This comes after the film’s recent showings at the Glasgow Film Theatre where I also did a Q&A with the broadcaster and journalist, Siobhan Synnot, that seemed to go down well with the audience.

As I write, I’m trying to find slots for the film in cinemas around the UK. If successful, these will be one-off events where I’ll get to meet the audience. Given how hard it is to secure a distribution deal, this kind of alt-releasing is becoming the new norm even though it’s fiscally unviable once you factor in the cost of travel and accommodation against the likely returns, with the maker/distributor receiving only 35-40% of the box office receipts.

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Reflections...

A recent email from Jamie Dunn at The Skinny got me thinking. In it he asks three questions about my thoughts on making independent films, finding an audience and whether event screenings are the way to go. That Voyageuse is showing at the GFT next week and at Picturehouse Central next month is a coup, just when I was about to commit the DCP to a drawer, destined to exist only among the morass of online content.

So thanks Jamie, you’ve made me think. Among the thoughts you prompted is a reminder of when I made my first feature almost 20 years ago, a time when everyone from Hollywood A-listers to Danish mavericks to chance-their-arm UK production companies believed that DIY, micro-budget, DV-driven films would fill their boots. Guess what? They didn’t. They toyed with the notion, made their tapes and grabbed the headlines only to realise no one gets a payday out of no-budget films, and so reverted to the same old high-budget ways of making their movies.

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Online/nonline...

Recently on Twitter I posed the question – should I create a new account for my latest film? Already I juggle three accounts @MayMilesThomas, @deilsplantin and @VoyageuseFilm so a fourth is probably overdoing it. The jury’s verdict – stick to my main account – seems only logical so in future I’ll restrict myself to posting here – and linking there.

This, I realise, could easily turn into a full-time job but it’s a necessary one when so much of one’s life and identity is paraded on the conveyor belt of social media. Long before revelations of mass data harvesting, fake posts and dodgy algorithms, the wisdom accrued from years of posting on Facebook (deleted) LinkedIn (inactive) and Instagram (lapsed temporarily) led me to limit my exposure. Thankfully I never strayed into Friends Again or MySpace and so far I’ve avoided WhatsApp, Snapchat and their derivatives. However I admit to having YouTube, Vimeo Pro and IMDB accounts though I’ve failed to exploit them.

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