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The Harvey Boys Break the Mold with Their Distribution of “Red State”

February 25, 2011 | By | 2 Comments

Editor’s note: We were just sent a press release regarding the Harvey Boy’s Red State film, but we noticed that they never mention what their movie is about. It looks like it could be a controversial film about the extreme religious right, particularly the churches that send members of their congregations to protest homosexuality at military funerals. We thought that they might have deliberately not elaborated on the subject matter (though you can find out more from podcasts on their website), instead focusing on their distribution model in the statements released.

Filmmakers Jon Gordon & Kevin Smith, AKA The Harvey Boys, believe the time has come for the American public and media to look beyond the questionable tactics employed by major studios to hype new movies. Specifically, The Harvey Boys question the “studio math” used to proclaim successful openings at the box office, in light of the enormous marketing costs that went into achieving those figures. In their view, buying a buzz-worthy opening weekend via millions of dollars spent on TV spots, billboards and print ads is not only misleading, but shameful. Filmmakers should rely on the very same creativity that produced their films to find imaginative ways to entice the public.

The cost of marketing and releasing a movie is four times higher than the average filmmaker’s budget, which virtually shuts out all but the major players. The traditional methods of distribution are not only out of synch with the current economic situation, they fail to utilize the emerging power of social media.

The Harvey Boys vow to bypass old school TV, print, and outdoor media buys while self-distributing their film, Red State. They favor a risky, though cost effective, word of mouth/viral campaign. People can watch a preview of Red State at www.smodcast.com, and subscribe to regular updates via iTunes. Sales of promotional Red State merchandise will help The Harvey Boys distribute their film since all the profits go toward their print-making budget. They will need to come up with about $2.5 million to pay for a 1000-print run. In a ground-breaking move, their financial dealings will be completely transparent, enabling other independent filmmakers who are interested in implementing a similar release strategy to understand the business aspects behind the marketing of Red State.

If Gordon and Smith succeed in creating an alternative method to the cost-prohibitive studio model of getting their film into movie theaters, they intend to use the groundwork they laid with Red State to aid other filmmakers in releasing their films. This mission will be carried out through their newly launched company, SModcast Pictures. In an age where anyone can make a movie, The Harvey Boys are intent on proving that anyone can also successfully release a movie. Their motto is: Don’t hate the studio; become the studio.

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  1. The Red Statement | March 4, 2011
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