Trial Balloons and Pickles

I’ve floated a couple trial balloons as projects to test the waters on another one I wanted to do. My first DVD release was not Accidentally Preserved, actually. You may not know about it because I didn’t send out a press release or screeners. I just wanted to get the bugs out of the system before I did a real release.

Perhaps you do have a copy of the DVD of The Crackerjack starring Johnny Hines that I released in February 2013. It’s got a blue-ish background and shows Johnny’s face flanked by a couple of pickles. It’s a fun film. I was able to access a good transfer from a 16mm print, which may be missing a little bit here and there. I scored it on piano, and even spent a little time fixing a couple shots — best I could — that had been printed out of register.

The cover is something I designed myself. It’s fine, but the look definitely says “self-published”. Here’s something I learned from the process, which I did with Amazon’s CreateSpace MOD platform. Because they ask for RGB files instead of CMYK, anything blue comes out way way darker than you’re expecting. Most MOD outfits work with CMYK and this doesn’t happen. I went through at least three proof copies just trying to get the light royal blue I’d expected to not come out the same hue as an eggplant. But I got somewhat close eventually.

If I remember correctly, I also sent out fifteen or so free copies to people to post Amazon reviews when I made the disc available. Not reviewers, just people on my email list. Or maybe it was over FB.

My main point was that I wanted to go through the steps of self-producing and self-distributing a DVD before doing Accidentally Preserved. This was actually part of my production workflow for AP vol 1. There were still a couple hiccups along the way with my first official release, but having already done The Crackerjack, I was able to proceed with the experience of having already done this one, sort of under the radar, myself.

I see that the UCLA Film & TV Archive has this film in 35mm. If you want to book a showing of the film, in its complete 7 reels, it’s possible. In the meantime, you can still buy my “release number zero” on Amazon.

Johnny Hines Crackerjack
My design for the DVD box front of The Crackerjack. I lifted the face from a poster for one on of Hines’ other films, and I think I got the pickles from a very old print ad for a pickle company that I found online. The design is okay, but doesn’t hold a candle to the DVD graphic designs for all my other releases by Marlene Weisman
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