Filmmakers vs Writers

One of my ongoing projects has been converting Shadows Over New England over into six individual books with a broader topic – adding more folklore and archetypal ghost tales, especially if they were used in horror films/stories. As such, in addition to collecting material created since the first book went to print, I have returned to my work folders to review those items I wanted to include but simply couldn’t devote any additional time to researching. The burial location of Arlo and Harriet  Bates being one that still irks me (look them up, prefereably in your copy of SONE).

For the 307,000,000 US citizens who didn’t buy copies of the book, it is essentially a reader’s guide to horror film and stories, set up as an atlas or gazetteer. So, for an example, Dark Shadows is listed under Collinsport, Maine with references to the 1966-71 series, the remake, the two films and the books (of which there are more than you might suspect). There are also cross references to the locations in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Maine which were filming locations for the various incarnations.

One thing that puzzled me when working on SONE was the attitude of some indie film makers. The film is made, it’s being distributed and yet, when I write asking qbout a filming location – nothing. Blockbuster is circling the drain and Netflix acquisition system is a joke; how are you planning on promoting the film after your BFFs review it on IMDB and Amazon?

It’s not a New England phenomena – there are small films included in Shadows Over Florida that have 4-5 listings and there are films that have one generic listing. The difference is that the filmmaker helped me to promote his film by providing filming locations. I’m not asking for a free DVD or spoilers – all I want to know is where that scene at the gas station was filmed, or what river did you film the kayaking scene? There’s one film in the Florida book only because I was able to track down one of the actresses who gave me a location. I still haven’t heard from the filmmaker. Lest I be accused of painting with too broad a brush, the other end of the spectrum is my buddy Joel Wynkoop, who has appeared in so many movies that even he has trouble keeping track, is always ready to help promote his films and I have a lot of films in SOF that are there because Joel mentioned them, not because of my research. However, Joel is the exception.

Authors, on the other hand, couldn’t be more accomodating. Perhaps my co-author brother is more charming than I am (as if!), but suggestions for addition mentions, actual word docs of the original stories, references by other authors – the print crowd couldn’t be more helpful.

So, it appears that writers are more self-promotionally self-aware. Whether this is because film school doesn’t teach basic marketing, the film makers didn’t get permits and won’t admit it, or just some sort of artist mentality about the film being able to sell itself by word of mouth.

All I know for certain is that I am trying to promote indie films by putting them on equal footing (sometimes higher). But I can use a little help now and then and just replying to an email will almost certainly get you listed in print.



About goudsward

Writer of stuff not easily categorized. (Trust me, I got the royalty checks to prove it)
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