"The Silence After Life" cover

Feature film released 2020 on Blink in the Endless

releasing and promoting a no-budget feature film

The Silence After Life film poster


The original intention for release when the film was first being developed was to sell the film to a known worldwide distributor. Ideally this would have then meant that:

- The film would have been seen by a larger audience
- The film would have been promoted globally
- The film would have gone into profit
- Sufficient interest and profit would be generated to make the next, bigger film (APWIS)

Once our film "The Silence After Life" had failed to get into the major and medium-sized film festivals we knew our chances of selling to a distributor were effectively nil and at that point we decided to release the film ourselves. Several options became clear:

- Hire cinemas ourselves (as we did for the main cast and crew screening)
- iTunes
- (Amazon) Prime Video Direct
- Vimeo On Demand
- YouTube

Hiring cinemas was not advisable because of the Covid-19 pandemic so we immediately ruled that out (although we felt very grateful that we had done this once for the first test screening).

Using iTunes felt like a good option ... but it was expensive, even for making the film available for a single year, and it takes a true mountain of paperwork to get accepted so we discounted that quickly too.

Prime Video Direct was showing a lot of promise (even though the rental income was likely to be a pittance, the potential audience is obviously enormous) but our film would have been a very tiny fish in an enormous pond and Amazon have a less-than-glowing ethical record (reference https://www.ethicalconsumer.org) which conflicted pretty hugely with our own efforts to be more ethical and green. So they were out.

YouTube are obviously enormous ... but, again their ethical record (partiularly with paying artists) is poor so they got crossed off quickly. Plus we'd competing with a thousand and one cat videos.

Which left us with one option: Vimeo On Demand.

And this, thankfully, felt like a good option as it is (relatively) much cheaper and easier to set up than the other professional options for selling film rentals and downloads, has reliable and high quality playback technology and has a really good royalty payment back to the owners of the film (which was us as we had never sold the copyright to a distributor).

There are downsides: Vimeo On Demand is not widely available as a TV app yet and it is nowhere near as well known to the general public as Netflix, Amazon or iTunes. On balance, however, VOD felt like the film equivalent of Bandcamp for music releases: a practical, straightfoward, professional but artist-focused method of making art available to a mass audience.
Vimeo On Demand page for buying / renting TSAL


Since our promotional budget was small and all being done by myself part-time, promotional activity was quite limited.

- Official film trailer and film clip posted on Vimeo, YouTube, website and social media *
- Email newsletter update to cast, crew and supporters of the film *
- Email newsletter update to followers of Daniel Thomas Freeman / Blink in the Endless *
- Print adverts in two pre-eminent UK film magazines (20k+ readers) *
- Web advert on one prominent UK film site (50k impressions) *
- Web ad on one UK experimental / ambient / drone music site (around 30k impressions) *
- Reviews of the film requested from 57 websites and magazines
- An official IMDB page was created (a mere 7 hours work!)
- The series #21FramesFromTSAL was released on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter
    (For 21 days 1 new frame from the film was posted daily with a 'making of' story)
- The Q&A cast and director interview from the Ramsgate IFTV Festival was re-posted
- The Q&A cast and director interview from the Brighton Rocks Festival was re-posted
- Official website (this site) updated with full details and new articles on the making of the film
- Reviews of the film's soundtrack album requested from 23 websites and magazines

* All posted with a limited number of free film rental codes, first come, first served

Sunday 17 January 2021

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