How in the world did I ever get distribution for my second feature film?
The year was 2002. It was a hot summer in Jacksonville, Florida and I had rounded up a bunch of first-time actors and crew to start filming my new script Kracker Jack’d. We had already sweated through two weekends of filming on our no-budget concoction of “Friday meets Friday the 13th ” when we decided to take a break and head to Miami for the ABFF.
ABFF – The American Black Film Festival – was in its first year and, being that we were making a film with an all-black cast, we edited together a little teaser trailer from the footage we had shot (only 2 weekends into filming), loaded up the cast and headed south looking for distribution.
Arriving in Miami, we pulled into a random parking lot to get our bearings. As I stepped out of the car, I noticed three husky fellas walking right towards us. “Well, we might as well ask where the film fest is before we get mean-mugged,” I thought. Sure enough, the guys were going to the same damn festival! I whipped out our mini-DV camera and showed off our little masterpiece right there in the parking lot to these fellas on the tiny 2-inch fold out screen. They must’ve liked it because they said we needed to show it to someone and proceeded to walk us right into our future distribution company: Maverick Entertainment.
Crazy how fate looks in hindsight.
The following day, we arranged a meeting with the distributor at the Miami hotel room where they were staying for the festival. Hearing a few folks laughing at our trailer (which we had already hooked up and were playing on the hotel room’s tv) the boss emerged from the shower wrapped in a towel, looked over at me and asked straight-faced, “Did you write this?”
I told him I did.
He replied, “You’re a funny motherfunker!”
I said thank you.
He asked, “Is it finished?”
I stretched the truth and said, “We’re almost finished filming.”
And he told me to send him a screener once it was complete.
By that Halloween, we had our premiere at Jacksonville’s beloved San Marco Theatre, which sold out. (I had to stand for my own premiere!) By February 2003, Maverick Entertainment and I had agreed on a distribution deal and by August of that year, Kracker Jack’d was sitting on every Blockbuster Video shelf in America.
Not bad for a $7000 dollar, urban comedy with a cast of first-time actors and a second-time director, right? Call it beginner’s luck, God, the Universe conspiring to help out, but in the end, I just call it awesome!
Chad Hendricks is a Florida-based independent filmmaker. He can be reached through his website: www.chadhendricks.com