In January of this year I started a campaign called “Die Hard for the National Film Registry.” Through Twitter and other social networking sites, I went about informing people what the National Film Registry was all about; how they were set up more than 20 years ago to help honor and preserve classic films. The Registry’s board selects up to 25 films each year, based on their criteria which states a film must be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” The board accepts recommendations via email and they take them seriously, so I also set about asking people to send their votes in for DIE HARD. It’s not in the Registry, but it’s a worthy candidate. Then I thought, what’s a great way to honor and show off how great the movie is? Why, I have to screen the movie, of course. That’s where Tugg comes in.
I immediately loved the process behind Tugg when I first heard about it. Setting up screenings and promoting it to your social network. It’s a process that was made for a campaign like mine that thrives on a social network made of movie fans. I set up a screening a day after the film’s 24th year anniversary at the greatest movie theater I’ve ever been to, the Alamo Drafthouse. Tugg went about it pretty quickly and got an even page started in about a week. That was probably the easiest thing about the whole process. The hardest part was getting the screening filled up.
I sent the event page link to everyone I knew. I went to my @DieHardNFR Twitter page, Tumblr, Facebook, etc, in order to promote this to all DIE HARD fans. I think the key was to get not just DIE HARD fans interested, but regular movie lovers. When you have a movie that is as beloved as DIE HARD, it’s only a matter of time when the right people hear about it via their social networks.
Seeing a more than 20-year-old film like DIE HARD on the big screen doesn’t happen every day. The “event” angle is important to promote. “Come see this classic on the big screen!” and “Don’t miss out seeing DIE HARD the way it was meant to be seen!” were phrases I kept repeating. With just a few days before the event’s deadline I met my goal of tickets sold. It was the biggest success for the “DieHardNFR” campaign.
The screening itself was a lot of fun. I chose to screen the movie in 35mm, because I’m a fan of film and thought it would be great to see the film how it was meant to be seen. The movie ended up a bang and the crowd loved it. It was a great night and I can’t wait to set up my next screening.
“Die Hard for the National Film Registry”
This movie is a trip! There have been some great Tugg events for it. It definitely lends itself to a pretty hilarious costume contest ;)
The FP (Brandon and Jason Trost, 2011)
Who woulda thought that one of the only two silent films to win Best Picture at the Oscars would have been made 84 years after the talkie revolution.
It’s one of our favorites of 2011, and now it’s available on Tugg. Wanna bring it back to your town for an encore? Set up a screening!
Vincent Price as Paul Toombes, in Madhouse.
Vincent appeared in several movies with house in the title - most of them horror movies - including The House of the Seven Gables (1940), House of Wax (1953), House on Haunted Hill (1959), House of Usher (1960), La Casa de las Mil Muñecas (1967), The Hilarious House of Frightenstein (1971), and Madhouse (1974).
Directing duo Mark and Jay Dulpass (The Puffy Chair, Cyrus, Jeff Who Lives At Home) released the long-awaited Do-DECA-PENTATHLON, starring Steve Zissis, Mark Kelly, and Jennifer Lafleur, this Spring to rave reviews from every corner. Do-Deca tells the story of two grown brothers who rekindle a self-devised sporting event from their youth (including such feats as arm-wrestling and ping-pong) to settle a long-standing sibling rivalry in one epic weekend.
After touring film festivals and releasing in the larger markets, Do-Deca has joined Tugg to allow fans around the country to create screenings wherever they want, whenever they want. Actors Mark Kelly (the card-shark brother who reignites the competition) and Jennifer Lafleur (the disapproving wife of Steve Zissis’s character) leapt at the chance to take the film back to their hometowns.
Jennifer hosted a screening in Sturbridge, MA where her family lives, and Mark hosted two in Salem, OR where he grew up. Mark also organized two successful Tugg screenings that will be held tonight in Lawrence, KS and Sioux Falls, SD.
After completing their first-ever Tugg events, Mark and Jennifer spoke with us about the long-awaited release and what it was like to bring their work home and share it with their friends and families:
The time between shooting a film and the release always seems like a long wait when you’re excited, but Do-Deca-Pentathlon was shelved for four years before finally making its debut. What was it like to see the film for the first time so long after shooting it?
MARK: Seeing the film for the first time after the long wait was a joyous occasion for all of us on team Do-Deca. Waiting four years for it to be released after principal photography felt like we were literally athletes on the Olympic team having to train and prepare for our next shot at gold that you get every four years. Let’s put it this way, I wept like a baby and drank a delicious adult beverage or three.
JENNIFER: We were looking forward to seeing this movie from the moment we stopped shooting it. So to wait for years and years to get a glimpse of what we created was really exciting and nerve-racking. Mark Kelly, Steve Zissis and I all felt like we had been part of a really special experience. So when the time came for all of us to gather for a screening, I was both thrilled and terrified. On the way to the screening, I decided that there was no way the movie could be as good as I envisioned it and was trying to brace myself for disappointment. But when it came down to it, I was really able to enjoy the experience and just watch the movie. I laughed, I cried, and I stole many glances at Mark Kelly’s wife, Breanna, who just so happened to go into labor during the screening. But she knew how long Mark had been waiting for that moment, and she was a super-human-trooper-wife who suffered in silence with a smile on her face— and then swiftly moved Mark out the door and to the hospital. Good thing it’s a short movie!
The film debuted at SXSW 2012 and has played at several film festivals since. Having experienced the festival circuit and now bringing the film back to your own stomping grounds, with family and friends in the audience, how do the two experiences compare? Which is more nerve-racking for you?
JENNIFER: They mean different things. With SXSW and other film festivals, you are looking for validation and appreciation from the film community. With a hometown screening like the one we had with TUGG, there’s nothing to prove, only a really special moment to share with your friends and family. And especially with the knowledge that that specific evening exists just for the people in that room only makes it more fun and special.
MARK: I’ve enjoyed screening the film in both the Festival circuit and back in my hometown of Salem, Oregon. I’m glad the festival circuit came first as far as my nerves were concerned. I always seem to feel more pressure screening a movie in front of friends and family, but being that Do-Deca got to launch in Austin to great reviews and then on to San Francisco, and then Seattle with the same response, I felt like we had a film that was being universally appreciated in different parts of the country. And then having the film actually open in New York, Chicago, LA and other cities all with critical acclaim, it took some pressure off before presenting it to my family and friends back home. But there is nothing in the world greater than returning home to screen this feature that we’re all so proud of. And of course I have Tugg to thank for that. I’ll never forget it and I will always be grateful to (event coordinator) Alex Dobrenko and Tugg.
What was it like leading a Q&A in your hometown?
MARK: I was initially a bit nervous to lead the Q & A’s in my hometown, but they ended up being a total blast. I was encouraged by the questions that combined both a personal slant and genuine interest in actor process and filmmaking curiosity. We had some fun, certainly, with the subject matter of the film being of brotherly rivalry and my two older brothers being in attendance, as well as a slue of other brother combos of other families we grew up with who came out that night. I have to thank my family and most importantly my dear friend Mark Farrow for getting Salem in the theater that night.
JENNIFER: Totally different from a film festival! At film festivals the audience is usually very interested in the style of direction that Mark and Jay Duplass have, the use of improvisation, development of story and characters, etc. However, at the hometown TUGG screening, the very first question I got was from my grandmother who asked, “Jennifer, who loves you even more than your parents?” That was pretty representative of the style of questions from that room! We covered a lot of the other stuff, too, but it just had a really sweet and supportive forum for friends and family to let us know how much they enjoyed the movie.
Mark, you had a screening in Salem, Oregon (your hometown) and you now have two more tonight in Lawrence, KS and Sioux Falls, SD. How did you choose these two cities for your next screenings?
MARK: Yes, because we sold out the first Salem Tugg screening we were actually able to add a second screening. The support we received was unreal and I couldn’t be more grateful to Tugg and the Salem Cinema for making it happen in record time. Alex @ Tugg and I were on a mission to make it happen in Salem at all costs and we pulled it off in flying colors. As far as picking Lawrence, KS and Sioux Falls, SD those were two no brainer cities for me to try to make happen due to a couple of reasons. Lawrence is my wife Breanna’s hometown and she and her family have introduced me to many great people from that fine city over the last few years. Through Facebook and other methods, they’ve helped spread some of my other TV and film work so much that it encouraged me to give it a try. Also, Lawrence has such creative vibe with a taste for quality art that I suspected our film was a perfect fit. As far as Sioux Falls, my dear friend and filmmaker Nick Simon is from there and he and I have worked together in TV and film for years now and have enjoyed tremendous support from his family and friends and colleagues. I’m thrilled Tugg is responsible for launching Do-Deca in two classy towns of the great Mid-West.
Tugg is such a new model for film distribution, what was the reception like when you started promoting the screenings?
MARK:It actually went rather smoothly. I can’t emphasize enough the power of Facebook, e-blasts, and text messaging. Those combined made our job a lot easier to direct people to the Tugg event pages and to urge people that they have to buy the tickets in advance in order for the event to occur. It definitely took a lot of persistence, but doesn’t everything good in life require a little extra effort, or Tuggin’ if you will.
JENNIFER: The most usual response was, “That’s so cool!” We had an amazing reception. I think there was some skepticism from the theater at the beginning whether we would be able to get the requisite 60 people. We hit that number in the first couple hours the tickets went on sale. For an event like this, especially in smaller communities, word spreads fast. It’s something that feels really special— and I think that’s because it is. This movie is being brought to your local theater just for everyone in that room. And especially when there is a local tie to the movie, that makes it feel even more interesting and exciting. We kept selling out each theater they put us in until they had to upgrade us to their largest theater!
What worked (or didn’t) when it came to getting the word out? What would you do differently next time?
JENNIFER: Reaching out personally to people was a big help. You can’t just put it as your Facebook status and hope that everyone will see it (although believe me, it was often the subject of my status!). I wrote emails, Facebook messages, made phone calls, created a Facebook event page, asked friends and family to spread the word to others, tweeted about the event, etc. Every one of those things was helpful.
MARK: It all worked fine as far as I’m concerned. As far as what I would do differently is to simply get approval for my events with more advanced notice. With more time, you get more press, more advertising, and less stress, let’s be honest. I would certainly have enjoyed the whole process a lot more had it not been such a rush, but I’m hoping to try a few more cities that are Tugg technology capable.
What’s next for you?
JENNIFER: Right now I’m enjoying some time in NYC with my East Coast friends and family, auditioning, adventuring, and gearing up to head back to LA to throw some things at a wall and see what sticks.
MARK: Currently I’m developing a few TV and Film projects, I just shot an episode of Kiefer Sutherland’s new show TOUCH on Fox. I shot some web comedy with Rachael Harris, and I have a role in the feature THE PRETTY ONE, opposite Zoe Kazan and Jake M. Johnson. I’m also pumped to revive my role as Han Solo on stage in Patrick T. Gorman’s ”The Star Wars Saga in 60 Minutes” in August. But my greatest role at the moment is parenting our 15-month-old son with my wife Breanna.
As veteran Tugg promoters, what advice would you give to someone creating their own screening?
JENNIFER: I would choose a movie that has meaning to you, and that you think would mean something to others. You have to really believe that your event is going to be a really fun night, and that will give you the energy to spread the word far and wide to get a good audience together.
MARK: I would advise other promoters to simply put in the time. You can’t just post a link once and simply walk away. It takes phone calls, texts, multiple posts, local press of radio, TV, print, whatever to get people to actually buy something in advance. You also need aggressive but polite people on the ground in your cities to carry out this strategy along-side you, as well as have them encourage friends of friends to do the same. You have to make it feel like a community event, or like a rock concert, and rally people around a party atmosphere. Then by the time the actual screening goes down, people are pumped and ready to have a good time. Can you tell we had a great time in Salem? I can’t wait for Lawrence and Sioux Falls tonight!
Want to bring Do-Deca to your town? Request a screening!
Jennifer Lafleur plays the female lead in the Duplass Brothers/ Fox Searchlight film “The Do-Deca-Pentathlon.”
Other film/television credits include: “The Pretty One” with Zoe Kazan and Jake Johnson and directed by Jenee LaMarque, “You’re Whole” with Michael Ian Black and directed by Michael Showalter, “Mutual Friends” with Cheyenne Jackson, Ross Partridge and Michael Stahl-David and directed by Matthew Watts, “Tiny Miny Magic” directed by Danielle Lurie, “Baghead” and “Jeff, Who Lives At Home” both directed by the Duplass Brothers and “Bunker Hill” with Donnie Wahlberg and directed by Jon Avnet.
She has also performed extensively on stage in Boston and NYC. Boston credits: “Romeo and Juliet”, “To Kill a Mockingbird”, and “Scapin” with New Repertory Theatre; “Measure for Measure” with Actors Shakespeare Project; “Winter’s Tale” directed by Tina Packer. New York credits: “Play America: Life Is Short Wear Your Party Pants” and “The Screens” with Sister Sylvester Theatre Company; ”Dogs” and “Things Beyond Our Control” with The Grid Theatre; and “Bash: Latter Day Saints” with Adakia Theatre.
She grew up in Brookfield, MA, attended Tantasqua Regional High School, received her BA from Westfield State College and her MFA in Acting from Brandeis University.
Virginia born/Oregon raised Mark Kelly’s current feature work includes a starring role in the Jay and Mark Duplass movie The Do-Deca-Pentathlon (Fox Searchlight, 2012), the starring role in Removal (Lionsgate, 2012) with Billy Burke, Oz Perkins, Emma Caufield and Elliot Gould directed by Nick Simon, and a lead role in Answers To Nothing with Dane Cook, Julie Benz, Elizabeth Mitchell, and Barbara Hershey (Roadside Attractions, 2011) directed by Matthew Leutwyler, and a lead role in Lo-Fidelity (2012) directed by Devon Gummersall. Mark’s T.V. credits include the recurring role as Dale in the Emmy/Golden Globe winning drama Mad Men, CSI, CSI: NY, Alias, Angel, a series regular (Travis) on VH1’s scripted comedy I Hate My 30’s, and over 50 commercials. He has enjoyed stage roles such as Han Solo in Patrick T. Gorman’s The Star Wars Trilogy in 30 Minutes, Lemuel Pitkin in The Dismantling of Lemuel Pitkin (world premiere) directed by Michael Uppendahl, Eddie in Fool For Love, and Ben Cook in National Anthems (European premiere). He has thrice appeared on stage at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe performing in 17 productions (five world and European premieres). He holds a B.F.A. degree in acting from the University of Southern California.
Twitter - @gomarkkelly
Tugg puts the keys to the projection booth in our own hands, as audiences and independent filmmakers: we have the power to put worthy films back onto big screens.
- Joe Bailey Jr.
Independent documentarian Joe Bailey Jr. and his partner Steve Mims were some of the first filmmakers to put Tugg to the test with their film INCENDIARY: THE WILLINGHAM CASE. Since the first Tugg screening in December 2011, INCENDIARY has played to audiences across the country, from big cities like San Francisco and Boston, to smaller markets like Durham, NC and Cedar Park, TX - all thanks to the local communities who made it happen.
As part of their series on crowd-sourcing platforms, Tribeca Film asked Joe to give them his perspective on independent distribution and the role Tugg can play in getting your film on the big screen.
You can read the full article here.
Haven’t seen award winning doc INCENDIARY: THE WILLINGHAM CASE!? Well, you can bring it to your theater!
Can’t wait to see this film. Opens in ATX on Friday!
Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin, 2012)
We’re very excited to be working with this unique and powerful new documentary about Iran’s Green Revolution. A film about a movement born on Twitter and Facebook, you can use those same tools now to bring it to your local theater. Request a screening here.
"Like the Green revolution itself, which pioneered the use of Twitter, Facebook and amateur video, Ali Samadi Ahadi’s "The Green Wave" uses a blend of mediums, including pieced together Twitter feeds and blog entries, video, phone records, interviews and animation."
-Read the Huffington Post’s full article on The Green Wave.