Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Tuesday 3rd April - Spring Tour Day 37

Breakfast, make lunch sandwich and smuggle out of breakfast room, ironing, unpack, count dvds, emails, phone calls, go for jog, get haircut, go to bank, check emails again, clean shoes, update database, read about Chopin, check local press, do Facebook and Twitter, and... oh yes, the blog.  

Into the last week of this tour now and only three cities left. This will be the last blog of the tour as I know DC and NY are going to be very busy. I have the films and meetings and even some filming to do.  Right now, I’m here in Kansas City, then tomorrow begins Washington DC and New York.   Last week, after Boston I went to Chicago which is a fantastic city to visit - and a very receptive city for my music films. I did seven attended screenings and enjoyed each one - the film was very well received and I had many interesting and encouraging conversations with the audience after the film finished. What was also nice was the extraordinary enthusiasm for the news that I am going to make a film next about Chopin. That gave me a welcome boost. Driving audiences in though is getting tougher - radio and press both seem to be cutting back on reviewers and the cost of ads for small film-makers like me is prohibitive.  Bigger distributors may show an income of a million bucks on a doc but they’ve spent a million to get it there.  Honestly, though, if I’d had the money, I do think either Beethoven or Boy Mir could have cracked it in the USA but it would have been expensive and even more time-consuming. And I take the long-term view (-I have to-) that folk will see the films in the end one way or another. They do well on DVD, they’ll do increasingly well on the internet platforms and I’ll keep having cinema or concert hall screenings. 

It’s fascinating though reading, as I am, Keith Richards’ autobiography - even for a great band like them, so much was carefully orchestrated publicity.  So, I have been away for almost six weeks - that is a long time. At least my family were able to fly out and spend some of that time with me otherwise it would have been unacceptable and unbearable.  It hasn’t made enough money to pay back much of Haydn’s costs or contribute towards Chopin - to other film-makers I say, again, don’t copy me. But I have achieved much, met many fine people, been highly rewarded by the almost unanimously ecstatic response to the film and the very warm desire for me to now to Chopin. My hat is off to all the hard-working cinema owners and staff, and the overwhelmingly nice hotel and airline staff that I have dealt with. I have only two more flights now and that’s a relief - and I managed all this travelling without paying a single extra baggage charge! Things like that give me great pleasure. I have tried to keep abreast of world events but that’s sometimes hard when you’re so short of time. I’ve certainly watched a lot of films but none were major works.  Many, indeed, were really quite bad - and made on a budget a thousand times more than mine.  I didn’t lose the three kilos I just can’t shift nor did I keep to my promise to run 5 miles a day... nor did I read the da Ponte biography that I keep lugging around... But I did get through thousands of emails and feel very set up for the months ahead.

By way of final conclusion, I’d have liked better audiences but I couldn’t have hoped for a better critical response from those who came - and that, at the end of the day, is what will keep the film fresh for years and years to come.  So cheerio blog buddies... I hope someone is reading... if not, well, it’s the nearest thing I have to a diary!!  PS - very corny but best pun title of a review in the press goes to Brent Sheppherd of Kansas City’s The Pitch:  Joseph, where have you been Haydn?   
All the best, Px

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