For a number of months now, Joe Lewis and I have spoken about producing and creating collective films as our mainstay of output for TUGM. If this experimental idea was going to mean anything to us, then it has to produce work expressing our philosophy. Planning in your head and having weekly meetings are fine, but the time came to pony up – and we did with Sisters of No Mercy.
This feature was definitely a grand experiment, but our wonderful cast and crew rose to the occasion. They helped mold Sisters of No Mercy with a collective spirit that reinforces the strength of TUGM. The proof was the very positive feedback from the enthusiastic audience attending the show. Here are some reasons I feel the film’s premiere went well:
1) We made the film quickly with frequent teasers to whet the appetite.
Sisters of No Mercy was actually made of over the course of a year. Three main sections of the movie were created and released a few months apart. The third section was divided into 8 smaller chapters and uploaded online weekly. In between portions of Sisters of No Mercy, we uploaded videos of other shows, all to prove that TUGM is a viable active production studio.
2) We made the film cheaply
I recently figured that the entire budget spent for Sisters of No Mercy did not exceed $100, and that’s being generous. We’re talking about a movie that was shot on-location in two cities, utilized dancers, original music, vaudeville-style entertainment and good make-up artistry. Filmmaker Joe Lewis did not even hold a steady job during the entire creation of the film. We believe as long as the cast and crew have a vested interest in the production, they will be happy to share their passions and talents for free.
3) We allowed for script flexibility
One thing Joe and I have a great affinity for is the ability to take disparate film clips and ideas found online and find a way to make them fit into a narrative (similar to the way we are able to incorporate people with different talents into our cast). In this way, we don’t become so attached to the script that we can’t be malleable. As long as the original idea is solid, we can come up with whatever wild ideas we can and still put on an entertaining show.
4) We targeted the right audiences in the right venues
What Joe and I do is something we’ll never expect AMC theaters to allow (although they are certainly welcome to prove us wrong), but indie venues like Facets Multimedia and The Little Theatre did. Horror fans, sci-fi fans, cult moviegoers and those frequenting independent theaters understand that independent movie venues need our support desperately. Thankfully, we’ve garnered some fans along the way who agree with us. Interactive movies with the inclusion of music, live performance and audience participation is one of the methods we believe theaters can use to fight back against the trend away from the big screen shared experience to the cloistered isolation of home streaming.
Our thanks to all those who attended Sisters of No Mercy at Facets Multimedia and the theatrical premiere of Scumbabies at The Little Theatre in Rochester, NY. We’re lucky to have great fans out there.
And we’re just getting started…