Thursday, May 7, 2009

Who wants to see Star Trek, anyway?

Exhibit A:

"But what should I do on Friday, May 8 instead?"
"You like movies, right?"
"Well, sure!"
"And you like your movies small scale, with little or no budget?"
"And you're looking for drama? None of this popcorn/escapist fare?
"Now you're talking!"
"Then you're in luck, because
Fire Creek is opening on Friday, May 8, opposite Star Trek and Wolverine and Fast and Furious and a big studio RomCom starring Matthew McConaughey, and it's sure to meet your needs."

I don't know if you remember what you were doing four years ago this month. Mikey was in Hawaii acting like he was going to school, D'H was also acting like he was preparing for Med School. I'm sure Holmes was creating miracles out of soil and Duerden was saving some adolescent soul on a river.

I was trying my hand at directing a feature film. It was really rainy. My daughter was almost 2 and Jayne was expecting our second in the fall. We had no money and I was ditching my plans to be a commercial/editorial photographer in NYC for the rest of my life.

We were into our third week of shooting and the representative from Excell (who had verbally agreed to distribute the film) came to visit the set. We were on location at a scuzzy motel in Heber and between recurring power failures, thundering trucks on the freeway and the talent's violent allergy to a dog on the premises, I was ready to go home. Ready to forget any of it ever happened. The representative from Excell didn't stay long. He didn't even tell anyone he was leaving-- he just escaped. And I could just hear his frantic phone call back to headquarters as he drove away: "Pull out! Pull out NOW!"

On one of a hundred '5-minute breaks' I took my third Pepsi from the cooler and left the claustrophobic lobby that was our set. The actual location was so small that only grip was aloud on set with the talent and camera. Even the producer was on monitor in one of the adjoining queen-sized units. I splashed down the line to a room where my mom had taken shelter on one of her many visits to the set that month. I fell on the bed and came as close to crying as I had in any of my 26 years. My mom sat quietly in a stinky armchair and listened. Then she stormed out and called lunch. That's what happens when a Stage Mom graduates to a Film Mom: she calls the breaks.

She and I went into town and got a burger.

"Well, this sounds Great! I live in Seattle, can I see Fire Creek in a theater near me?"
"No, you're out of luck. It's only playing in select theaters along Utah's Wasatch Front."
"Oh, well, I'll be in Utah next week, so I'll catch it then."
"Well, there's a snag there too. As of now (May 7) you can only see this film on Friday, May 8 in select theaters along Utah's Wasatch Front."
"Hmmm. You're not making this easy, here."
"Don't give up yet. If the theaters see enough of an audience on Friday, they'll extend the run. There may be some dates in the future to catch this picture-- what would you say to that?"

Four years later, we had three kids and I had all but forgotten that film project of yesteryear.  There were some good memories attached to it.  And a certain amount of heartache-- watching it languish for a year, then two, after the festivals tour; seeing the list of potential deals and distributors who quit returning calls get longer and longer.  

I got a job.  I got another job.  I bought a house and moved on with my life.

Then two months ago I got an email from the producer asking if there were some images on hand to revamp the publicity materials, because they had landed an opening in May and they were looking to redesign everything.  Wait, what?  I told him I wouldn't believe it until I saw it.  He produced proof, we shot some new stills, cut a new trailer, got a rating from the MPAA (the first cut earned a PG-13 and we had to remove some blood to get that much coveted PG) and we're opening tomorrow.

"Why haven't I hear of Fire Creek until now?"
"Well, as is often the case with independent cinema, advertising money is mighty scarce.  But there is a fatty billboard on I-15 and there are trailers running in theaters and on TV."
"But I haven't seen them."
"I guess I don't know what to tell you, then."

...And waiting for the PG rating put us back two and a half weeks on the posters.   A handful of things got in the way of advertising this opening properly.  And Cinemark is sketching, of course, because they haven't seen ads enough to hold the film.  Hence the new 'Friday only' deal.  But that's why I'm here beating the bushes on this blog.  And on twitter.  And if I had a facebook account, I'd be saying something there as well.  Please, if you can, go see this movie.  If you don't live in the valley, send your parents.  I don't make any money if you go, but the more tickets they sell tomorrow, the longer its life span could be.  And that could mean more opportunities for student work to be seen by a larger public, etc., etc.

"How can I see this movie?"
"Visit and follow the link to ticket info.  It is showing only at Cinemark theaters in Provo, American Fork, Sandy and Layton."
"And you say it's only showing on Friday?"
"Well, that depends on you.  If enough tickets are sold, they'll hold it over as demand requires."
"Do I know anyone involved in the movie?"
"You sure do!  Duerden and Guido make an appearance at a boxing ring along with Steve Walters and a few other colorful locals.  D'H plays a substantial and pivotal role as a Marine in the Afghanistan war."
"What do you mean by pivotal?"
"I guess you'll have to see the film to find out!"
"Well, gee whiz, I might just do that!"

And just for sitting through this, I'll leave you this treat in parting:


  1. My name is Kirk. I am large. The Red House meets all of my furniture needs.

    Great to have you back on the Provonian, Jed. You may not know by my very infrequent comments, but I check the blog almost daily (Holmes can probably attest if he's tracking traffic on the blog) hoping for something new. Sorry that I can't make it to a theater in Utah tomorrow being that we're in New York. Best of luck. I'll be pulling for you.

  2. Wish we could come see it--we're stuck here in soggy old rhode island. But I'm going to tell my parents about it. Maybe they can make it.
    So cool that it's in theaters!! Good luck with getting a longer run.

  3. I'm giving my class extra credit to see it, but ONLY if they see it tomorrow.

    I also spent 35 minutes figuring out how to create an event on facebook, and then I sent it out to all of my facebook friends. ALL OF THEM!

    Is facebook difficult for others as well? I'm good with technology and gadgetry, but facebook is completely counter-intuitive for me. I can't find ANYTHING on that blasted networking thing-a-ma-bob.

  4. Congrats on getting some distribution! I'd heard that you'd made a film and read a review a while back. I'm sure it is rewarding to finally get a chance to show it off. I wish I could go! I will e-mail my Utah valley family to let them know. (Red House!)

    Tone--I think Facebook is NOT user friendly. I really can't stand spending any significant time on it (except to look at cool old pictures that people like Ginna post). I guess I like the groups feature too, it's useful for staying in touch with the youth in our ward--but I hate most of the other gadgets.

    Moose--today is my last day of the school year so expect more Holmes posts over the summer. Speaking of furniture, how about a Moose post every now and then?

  5. Congrats Jed. I hope things go well. As someone who has seen the film I can only give it two thumbs up and encourage Utah folks to get out and support this film.


    Finally my acting debut. As Jed mentioned Guido and I Co-star as pivotal characters. Our chemistry is pretty amazing, like Hoffman and Deniro. Although all I have to do to finish my PhD is a handful of revisions and some paper work, I'm casting it all aside to pursue my reborn acting career.

  6. I am proud of you, Jed! This is such an awesome accomplishment!

    I would love to have seen your movie and hopefully will yet get a chance. I hope your distribution will eventually include Kansas theaters or at least DVDs.

    Here is the address to a making of the Red House commercial

  7. I saw it. Liked it. Worth seeing. All of you would enjoy it, not only for the fine film making, but for the cameo's from the fellahs, and the Wells/Clark clan. I especially liked Gawain as a fight doctor.

    Nice work Jed.

  8. thanks, tai, for the link to the redhouse vid. still can't tell what's going on. it's too surreal to wrap my tired brain around.

    thanks also for the kind words.