The Day of Importance

Today’s probably the most important day for “Rocks In My Pockets”, but it surely doesn’t feel that way – it’s overcast and sort of gloomy. Inside I feel a bit like a partly deflated birthday party balloon. The fun times, the party was in May when the studio was full of quietly focussed people who knew how to tell good jokes at a lunch hour. Today it’s only Wendy and me – Wendy is putting the locked picture together with the final sound mix and that will be it.

The film is done.

Yesterday I went to Yessian to have the final sound mix session with Weston Fonger, “Rocks” sound designer. I was feeling down because the film didn’t make another round of big festivals – if by now we haven’t heard from Sundance and Slamdance it means it didn’t get in. The doubt was eroding the last of the delicate optimism I had managed to save despite of months of rejection.

We chitchatted before the session. I like those professional chitchats, they put me on the same emotional and mental wavelength with the person am about to work with. The chitchats force me to get out of my head, to connect with the person in the room.

I complained to Weston that film is not doing well with the big festivals, that we have to solve the distribution and marketing puzzle ourselves and it might be a good thing but it would be better if the film was somehow recognized by the industry.

– Am starting to think maybe I haven’t made a good film, – I said, while biting my fingernails.

– But the film is beautiful, – Weston said soothingly. – Don’t despair. It’ll go to places.

Then we re-recorded the opening scene’s scream. I screamed my head off 12 times. The 12th attempt was the best and so Weston put it in. After that I had to sit in the middle of the room, watch the movie with the final mix and take notes.

When the film started I was not looking forward to it. After all it was the source of my  recent agony – how could I enjoy something that has been rejected so many times? But as the film went on I perked up more and more. The sound mix was excellent and the sound quality through the speakers was superior to any other experience with the film I had had before. I was thrilled. Proud and amazed that I got to work with the talented smart people like Weston and Kristian, the film’s composer. The effort that the production team lead by Wendy and Rashida put into the project have paid off. The film looked great. And I started to get a burning desire to see the film in a theater, with good projection, as a shared experience. Maybe I shouldn’t give up the festivals yet? Or perhaps we should hire a theater booking agent?

After the session I thanked Weston, we chitchatted again a little.

He said that maybe because he comes in the last part of the process he gets to see the filmmakers in despair, or depressed, or in panic mode. But in the end, all the films he had worked with do well.

– It’ll be good, – he said encouragingly. (I guess by working with filmmakers so near postpartum he had to develop his nurturing side. I appreciate that.)

And so I took the sound file back to the studio and Wendy (who now works for Bill Plympton and comes to my studio only as necessary which is once a month) came today to put the picture and sound together. Wendy knows how to tell a good joke, but she has a lot on her mind too – working for two directors on 4 different projects cannot be easy. So we are both serious and focussed. Not too many jokes today.

She is about to finish and we agreed to go out and CELEBRATE!!!




About rocksinmypocketsthemovie

I was born in Latvia, educated in Moscow, live in New York. I have made about 14 animated shorts so far.
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21 Responses to The Day of Importance

  1. Jud says:

    Done? Congratulations! That’s great!

    As to the rest, well, that’s business, not art.

    When I wrote the best novel ever written and discovered that due to the new tech I could publish it myself, I was thrilled! Then I found out that MARKETING a book is like three full time specialized jobs! Doesn’t mean my book isn’t the best thing ever written, just means my marketing sucks!

    Good luck!



    • YES that is exactly what we are encountering ourselves, too. Marketing makes or breaks a film, and it doesnt even matter if the film is good or not so good. In the Big Film Industry marketing the film costs more than making the film. And here we are – treating “Rocks” marketing as just an afterthought. Doing it ourselves also sort of sucks – there are marking experts out there who had studied marketing for 8 years, why do we think that doing our little how-to-market-a-film research online for 6 months makes us experts?
      But we are moving ahead anyway. A really great web designer is revamping “Rocks” website and we are excited about it. We still have to figure out how to make a trailer. And a poster. And all those other marketing tools. And we only have like $0.50 to do all of this.
      We’ll see what happens.
      THANK YOU for your support!!!

  2. marilyn wren says:

    I can’t wait to see your film 🙂

  3. Congratulations on getting it done. Can’t wait to see it.

  4. Esn says:

    Congratulations on finishing!

    At least you know that the film will have an audience of the 800 people who backed you on Kickstarter and some of their friends and family.

    • Esn says:

      You know, for that matter… perhaps you should make an update on the Kickstarter page? After all, we all get email notifications for those, but probably most people who backed you there don’t check this blog. Perhaps you could ask people there for advice. After all, who would know better how to make a film reach people than the very people the film has already reached? (uh, well, probably a lot of people, but maybe someone will have some ideas…)

      • YES you are right! – I have dropped the ball indeed regarding Kickstarter updates, partly because I have been feeling down and partly because my mind has been occupied with marketing and DIY distribution strategies, there are only 24 hours a day and only so many cells in a person’s brain. Sigh… But THANK YOU for bringing this up – I’ll post the update with THANKSGIVING greetings!
        Thank you!

    • I truly cannot wait to share the film with our backers! But of course, am hoping that the film will be seen by more than 800 people. We are working on it.
      : )

  5. marija dail says:

    Can’t believe it’s done, it’s over!? Congratulations! How many people did you have working on it?
    Aside yourself, of course – you
    as a one woman band plus+++

    • Thank you! Yay!
      We had a very small production team: me, Wendy, Rashida, also Mike who worked part time and then several most amazing summer 2013 interns. Then we had Sturgis who directed the voiceover recording (recorded by Rob), Kristian who wrote the best score for the film and Weston who did great sound design.
      But it wouldn’t have had happened without our 800 Kickstarter backers. And the project’s fiscal sponsor Women Make movies. Our credits roll for 3 minutes and they could roll longer….
      : )

  6. Lasse says:

    Congratulations Signe!
    Amazing that endless work processes actually have an ending!

  7. Cecile Somers says:

    Darling Signe, I am so proud of you for not giving up right down to the very very end! Yay you! Kudos & kongratulations! I envy people who FINISH THINGS.

    You know, the Universe knows how damn resilient you are, and like a cat playing with an exhausted rodent, it’s knocking you around just a little longer. Shits & giggles, that sort of thing. But I have a feeling that this movie takes GUTS: it took guts to make and will hit people in their guts and grab them, and then, only then, will the marketing people have enough guts themselves to latch onto it.

    I like to have this hunch that this is a movie that people will warm to, like a blazing fire on a Latvian winter’s night, and it will spread by word of mouth. And then the festivals will not understand these gutless, gormless marketing people who couldn’t spot beauty when it dropped a rock on their mocs.

    Personally I can’t wait to see it – and you. And celebrate. Because no matter what, THAT is long overdue.

    You rock, Ms Pocket!

    Kissiz from your friend in Luxembourg,

  8. Lucy Lee says:

    Signe, unfortunately I missed your campaign on Kickstarter, I would loved to have backed you. However I backed this project (see link below) ages ago, he did a campaign to distribute his feature film, he’s very forward and persistent, but you know he’s done amazing things with some kind of online crowd screenings and stuff and now his film is selling out in cinemas… have aloof at what he’s doing. Most of all you are not alone, there are lots of us in the same boat, watching helping when possible and trying to do it ourselves, therefore, we will carve a niche. And remember if your film isn’t recognised by the festivals you need, then, just maybe, they are not really that visionary. Lets find a new way to get our films to each other. Anyway we can’t all get to festivals when we want, some of us can’t even get into cinemas for a one off screening, let alone travel to the right ones. Realistically, another way is needed! Here’s the link to the film distribution campaign I was talking about –

    • Thank you, Lucy! your note: “if your film isn’t recognised by the festivals you need, then, just maybe, they are not really that visionary” made my day! “Rocks In My Pockets” might not be the best film or most expensive, but it does offer a different way of telling a story and making a film. I’ll check out “Third Contact”. I am not overly aggressive nor persistent (my Mother had told me it was a shame to boast about my skills) with my marketing efforts but am entering a stage where I have to re-train myself.
      Thank you so much!

  9. Shira says:

    Dear Signe,
    Even though I haven’t seen the film, I am ABSOLUTELY SURE it is an extremely unique, fascinating, original film that everyone needs to see, and I’m shocked that all those FF out there are –hmmm what the f-?? And then I say to myself, why am I so surprised? Haven’t I lived years enough as an artist- in both cinema and art, and took part in a few judging committees to know that very few decision makers in the important places in industry are BRAVE enough to say “This new film is amazing cause it touches me like crazy”. Most wait for everyone else to vote, and then they’ll vote. Sad reality of humanity. Nothing new…But I have blessed this film before it was imprinted on even one tiny frame, and my blessings are powerful. And here’s a prayer that put a spell on these committee people to be BRAVE and look into their souls because this is a soul story! Keep going luv. And tell me what I can do to help.

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