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10 MPH DIY Manual: History

In April of 2004, Josh Caldwell and I quit our web marketing jobs in Scottsdale, Arizona, and moved up to Denver to aggressively pursue a path in doing something a whole lot more interesting than sitting in a cube farm. We decided to make a movie - and were positive we'd found the perfect premise - to be the first to cross the country on a Segway scooter. (Gotta give credit to our college buddy j.fred for this ingenious idea.) At first, we were going to shoot a documentary as we crossed the country that tried to discern what today's American Dream is. Everything was trial by error, but we learned fast and had both exciting progress and many challenges as we got things going. By the time the 100-day trip ended (Nov 2004), we had 180 hours of footage and very few "American Dream" interviews and perspectives. The story had shifted to become a story about our pursuit of the American Dream and some interesting life philosophies that tied in with this from individuals all across the country.

The edit took a long time and was truly the biggest learning experience we'd encountered so far on this new path. With so much footage, the real story building process happens in the edit. Eventually after about a year of pushed deadlines and lots of re-edits, we finished the cut and started applying to festivals. In April of 2006, 10 MPH had its World Premiere at the Vail Film Festival, and went on to play in over a dozen other festivals in 2006, winning three best documentary awards. We had packed houses that left our screenings very inspired. Only problem - we were playing in festivals that didn't have industry press or buyers. So, while the public loved it, no one in the film industry knew anything about 10 MPH. It began to seem like we wouldn't land a distribution deal.

After screening in about three festivals, Josh and I were getting asked frequently about what was next. We'd thought a lot about this and much like the blind faith & quick jump on making 10 MPH, we decided to make a documentary about Fantasy Football. We felt we had to be aggressive on this story because no one had done it, but the industry and culture behind it were in the midst of blowing up. So in August of 2006, we started filming our 2nd feature documentary, which is called 10 Yards. This was a pretty gutsy move, but we felt we had a great idea and the perfect circumstances to film it, and were very concerned that the hopeless pursuit of finding distribution for 10 MPH might deter us from continuing down the path of making films.

During the fall of 2006, we started talking with some friends we had made in the industry and exploring ways to get a distributor behind 10 MPH. We kept hitting dead ends and from all of our studies realized we weren't on the golden path that starts with Sundance, Toronto, SXSW, or Tribeca.

In early 2007, festivals were winding down for 10 MPH and we were beginning post production on 10 Yards. We were starting to explore the idea of self distribution for 10 MPH. One of our connections came through and hooked us up with a sub-distributor so we were able to set a date for a DVD launch of May 29. We were continuing to figure things out daily and planned an entire summer launch period around our DVD release that included a major theatrical tour to take place in the summer.

The summer of 2007 was very successful. We sold over 4000 DVDs and 750 digital downloads. Our theatrical tour reached 23 cities and grossed almost $15,000. 10 MPH's popularity on online rental sites like Netflix sky rocketed causing long waits and bump orders.

As of October 2007, 10 Yards (the fantasy football film) is nearing completion and being submitted to film festivals. Negotiations for a cable deal for 10 MPH are in the works and other discussions around various rights are also taking place.

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DIY Resources

Other DIY films
+ Four Eyed Monsters
+ Tijuana Makes Me Happy
+ Head Trauma
+ The Talent Given Us
+ Guatemalan Handshake
+ Book of Caleb
+ Black Gold
Film Festivals & Distribution Books
+ The Insider's Guide to Independent Film Distribution (Stacey Parks)
+ Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide
+ The Complete Independent Movie Marketing Handbook
+ I Wake up Screening: What to Do Once You've Made that Movie
Filmmaking & Production Books
+ Planning the Low Budget Film
+ The Complete Film Production Handbook
+ Clearance and Copyright: Everything the Independent Filmmaker Needs to Know
+ Film Scheduling: Or, How Long Will it Take to Shoot Your Movie?
+ Film and Video Budgets
+ Filmmakers and Financing, 5th Edition: Business Plans for Independents
+ The Pocket Lawyer for Filmmakers: A Legal Toolkit for Independent Producers
+ Independent Feature Film Production: A Complete Guide from Concept Through Distribution
Key websites
+ IndieWIRE
+ Greencine
+ Spout
+ Workbook Project
+ cinematech.blogspot.com
Major Film Festivals
January
+ Sundance Film Festival
+ Slamdance Film Festival
+ Intl. Film Fest Rotterdam
February
+ Berlin Intl. Film Festival
+ Miami Intl. Film Festival
+ True/False Film Festival
March
+ SXSW
+ AFI Dallas Intl.
April
+ The Gen Art Film Festival
+ Full Frame Doc Festival
+ Hot Docs
+ Tribeca Film Festival
May
+ Cannes Intl. Film Festival
+ Seattle Intl. Film Festival
June
+ Los Angeles Film Festival
+ Silverdocs
September
+ Telluride Film Festival
+ Toronto Intl. Film Festival
October
+ Sidewalk Moving Pic Fest
+ New York Film Festival
+ Woodstock Film Festival
+ Hamptons Intl. FF
November
+ Amsterdam Intl. Doc Fest
+ AFI Fest
+ Denver Intl. Film Festival

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