There’s more than one way to premiere a film

“Necessity is the mother of invention,” they say. Or perhaps they should say poverty instead of necessity.

Awakening, written, directed, and produced by Evie Warner and starring Ali Ferda, Titus Young Wolverton, John Bradley Hambrick, and JoAnna Lloyd, is the story of Amy, a young woman recovering from a traumatic kidnapping and the loss of her friend. Amy faces a spiritual crisis in order to come to terms with the ordeal and to help the FBI find the still-at-large second kidnapper.

Most of us were first-time film makers and were learning as we went. With some initial footage, we cobbled together this trailer to promote the film:

The actors turned in some fine performances in this 45-minute film and it took a year and a lot of hard work to complete. It deserved to be seen by as many people as possible.

As with many independent movie productions, budget is rarely adequate. Renting big theaters for a red-carpet movie premiere is not always possible. The movie started production in the early summer of 2013. By September, editing had begun and by Christmas it became apparent that there was little money for a theatrical premiere. Although Dayton Access Television (DATV) would give the film a late-night local premier, the production company, RenRaw Films, wanted to promote the film further than the metro-Dayton market.

RenRaw Films is the brainchild of Evie Warner, a young Communications student at Wright State University in Dayton. This was her first film and, as you might imagine, students do not have a great deal of money to spend on movies.

Evie had written the script and readied the film for production. She hired local and area actors for the part. By joining Dayton Access Television (DATV), Evie was able to use their equipment for production and keep production costs low.

We had till mid-March to find a solution to the premiere and distribution question and get it organized and ready to go.

So what did we do?

With a little imagination and the benefits of the modern digital age and social media, there’s new ways to premiere a movie and reach a good sized audience. Instead of renting an expensive brick-and-mortar movie theater, we decided to use social media to spread the word about the movie’s online premiere.

Modern technology gives a new slant to watching the “dailies”. Actors Titus Young Wolverton, John Bradley Hambrick, and Ali Ferda watch their just-completed scene in-camera before deciding to move to the next scene.

The Awakening Facebook page was the primary vehicle to create buzz with daily posts about the cast, crew, and the movie. We included some stills from the film and used YouTube to post and deliver some teaser film clips to the Facebook page.

On the night of the premiere, our audience arrived at the Facebook page where we posted the Vimeo link to the movie at the appointed time. While the movie was playing, we used Twitter and Facebook to allow our audience to speak with the director and actors. Over the next two hours we had about 150+ views from three countries — not bad for a local indie debut. In the month following, that figure jumped to almost 2.000 views in more than 30 countries!

To close this project, we simply collected social media and viewing metrics. For future projects, follow-up actions could include an online questionnaire for viewer’s reviews or even a Crowdfunding link to help finance the next production.

Watch the full Awakening movie and be sure to watch the fun/bloopers reel.

All video content and elements related to the movie “Awakening” are © Evie Warner, of RenRaw Films, and cannot be reproduced without permission. All content on this page is used with permission of the copyright holder. Since Awakening, RenRaw Films has released their second film, “As it Appears”, and are in the middle of their next production “But I’m an Actress”

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