Guess what…Volcano Girl is screening at IMAX!

Yep, you heard right. IMAX!

I secretly want to bootleg my own film, so I can send it to the "Volcano Girl" crew back in Los Angeles...don't tell anyone.

My thesis film, "Volcano Girl" and my DGA award winning film "Friday Night Fright" will screen in a Private Screening on July 10th at the Wells Fargo IMAX Theatre at Marbles Kid Museum in Downtown Raleigh... did you get all that? It's a long name and took me awhile to get the hang of it, but it rolls off the tongue now! Especially since I have been telling everyone and their mom to come to the screening!

We Just Made the Call

Tim McKay, a former boss of mine and Executive Producer on all of my films, cold called IMAX and got in touch with their manager. He pitched them the concept of supporting a local filmmaker and they jumped at the opportunity.

I talked with them on the phone and met them in person. Their manager, Tim, was the best help. He was equally as excited to show the film to their Power Pass Holders and then share it with their regular audiences whenever they have the chance.

They're even giving us vouchers for a "Night Out at IMAX" to raffle off to the attendees of the July 10th screening. I'm trying to raise funds for film festival submissions and future films. And it turns out all of the fire effects and live music of 'Volcano Girl' drained our budget and we don't have enough $ to make DVDs... you'll see a Kickstarter page soon! Yay for fundraising!!

Not only is Wells Fargo IMAX hosting this screening on July 10th, but they are also screening "Volcano Girl" in their lobby and before feature films like Cars 2. We created the below video to play right before "Volcano Girl" screens. This way everyone knows why IMAX is showing "Volcano Girl" and also shows how they are supporting local filmmakers -- something very important in the Raleigh community.

Volcano Girl IMAX Intro from Ashley Maria on Vimeo.

Thanks to Tim McKay, Sam Griffin, Neal Gettinger and Lea-Ann Berst for their help in the production of this video.

We basically took over IMAX's balcony for an hour to film this 30 sec intro. The sound guy, Neal, yelled at small children to keep them quiet, and Tim yelled "quiet on set!" mainly for the popcorn guy to hush...

It was quite strange being on the other side of the camera...let me tell ya. Sam, the camera guy, ran into the C-Stand at one point and I literally stopped talking to the camera to help him. Everyone stopped what they were doing and looked at me. Oh yeah... I'm not a production assistant on this set... The guys laughed. Luckily, these were guys I worked with a ton in the past -- I was even their production assistant when I first started out in my film career. I remember running to cover Sam's gear in a huge rainstorm. That's dedication.

And, having to edit yourself on camera - or stare at your own face for hours - is not fun. I always make fun of how people talk when I'm editing their interviews. It helps me stay sane - seriously, ask other editors. But what do you make fun of when you have to look at yourself?? It just seemed so counter-productive to say, "Ugh, that girl on camera can't pronounce 'thanks' correctly...oh wait...that's me..." That was painful. I can edit footage of anyone else, just not me anymore.

Formatting

Making sure "Volcano Girl" and "Friday Night Fright" would screen on the IMAX projectors was an adventure all in its own.

If you like technical terms...then read on... if not, skip to "Test Screening."

I brought my hard drive with the various formats of "Volcano Girl" for them to export to their Digital Cinema Package (DCP) format. When they said they wanted to screen "Friday Night Fright" as well, I hesitated because I didn't have its hard drive with the editing file - it was still in Los Angeles. Luckily, I saved the 30 GB animation codec version of FNF onto my desktop, and I worked with their tech guy, Emmaus, to properly transfer it to a file their system would understand.

It took 4 visits to IMAX to finally get all of the files in a format their computer would understand. You'd think it was simple - just click all the right stuff and export, right? No. We often found out the hard way that one thing wasn't clicked and that screwed up the whole file! I had about 8 different exports of Volcano Girl (2 hours each) before I got it right.

My computer and I have spent a lot of time together the past few weeks...

Test Screening

This Friday, we are test screening the DCP files to make sure everything will play correctly on Sunday. If we have a problem, then we can screen off of a DVD. But that's just not cool...

Invitation to a Private Screening

Now, I talk so openly about this screening, but it is private. If I held a public screening open to everyone in the city, then it would be considered the "World Premiere of Volcano Girl" and that would really hurt our chances at festivals. The top film festivals want to be the first to show a movie. They want to be the ones to promote "World Premiere" or "North American Premiere." They want that pride - that marketing.

So, we have to be smart in our wording, because I want to "World Premiere" at Sundance!! or SXSW or someplace equally awesome!! (fingers crossed)

IMAX Power Pass Holders Invited

Here is the invitation IMAX sent to their Power Pass Holders -- I literally jumped from my seat and ran to show it to anyone who would look. It's so awesome!


New Poster


And here's the new poster, designed by Cyn Mallard (click here for her website), and officially premiering at this screening in the IMAX lobby.

Note the different tagline and the QR Code - both new changes that I feel make our poster more noticeable. The QR Code is actually quite nifty to encourage an audience to scan and see where it takes you (it takes you to the Volcano Girl web page which will have our trailer up soon!). I was at the movies the other day seeing The Green Lantern and only saw one movie poster with a QR code on it - and printed very small too. I think that's a missed opportunity Movie Industry!!

5 Responses

  1. AM:

    “We often found out the hard way that one thing wasn’t clicked and that screwed up the whole file!” Any chance you’ll post a tutorial on exporting to DCP properly? I’m sure many first-time filmmakers would love to know.

    Congrats on your private IMAX screening. Have you considered handing out audience survey cards? That might allow additional insights and criticisms people might be uncomfortable providing except under cover of anonymity.

    Best,
    Ted Morée

    P.S. Why bootleg for crew copy?

  2. AM:

    “We often found out the hard way that one thing wasn’t clicked and that screwed up the whole file!” Any chance you’ll post a tutorial on exporting to DCP properly? I’m sure many first-time filmmakers would love to know.

    Congrats on your private IMAX screening. Have you considered handing out audience survey cards? That might allow additional insights and criticisms people might be uncomfortable providing except under cover of anonymity.

    Best,
    Ted Morée

    P.S. Why bootleg for crew copy?

  3. AM:

    “We often found out the hard way that one thing wasn’t clicked and that screwed up the whole file!” Any chance you’ll post a tutorial on exporting to DCP properly? I’m sure many first-time filmmakers would love to know.

    Congrats on your private IMAX screening. Have you considered handing out audience survey cards? That might allow additional insights and criticisms people might be uncomfortable providing except under cover of anonymity.

    Best,
    Ted Morée

    P.S. Why bootleg for crew copy?

  4. AM:

    “We often found out the hard way that one thing wasn’t clicked and that screwed up the whole file!” Any chance you’ll post a tutorial on exporting to DCP properly? I’m sure many first-time filmmakers would love to know.

    Congrats on your private IMAX screening. Have you considered handing out audience survey cards? That might allow additional insights and criticisms people might be uncomfortable providing except under cover of anonymity.

    Best,
    Ted Morée

    P.S. Why bootleg for crew copy?

  5. Hi Ted —

    Thank you for your questions!

    DCP Tutorial: I won’t be able to give a complete tutorial, but I can tell you that we used “Final Cut Pro,” “Audacity” and “OpenDCP” to create the files. The trouble I had was converting my files that were edited on AVID into a file that Final Cut Pro would understand. Then I gave those files to Emmaus, the IMAX tech guru, and I watched him as he created the DCP. It took a week for the 20 minutes to export into a working file. (fyi)

    Survey Cards: I think survey cards are great when trying to get constructive criticism on a rough cut of a film or to get quotes for your marketing team. I believe that’s how they do it in the “real world.” ha! Survey cards are a great suggestion for anonymity as well. I know how hard it can be to tell the filmmaker in her face how you really feel! As a filmmaker, it’s also good to offer yourself for more discussion after the Q&A so people can talk to you directly. I experienced even more honest opinions and questions when it was just one on one. Both processes work well. Thanks for sharing!

    And to answer your final question – I wanted so badly for my cast & crew to be sitting next to me as I watched the film in this massive IMAX format. If it were possible to film the experience in the theater of the audience watching the film, I would! But don’t worry, they do have their very own copies they can play in the comfort of their own homes 🙂

    Thanks, Ted!
    -AM