The Tugg Team has been awed by Brett Culp’s dedication and hands-on campaign. His documentary, Legends of the Knight, has had over 50 theatrical and non-theatrical events across the country (and counting).
The film weaves together the stirring true stories of individuals who have overcome devastating obstacles, unselfishly given to the community, and embraced their inner superhero because of their love of Batman.
The filmmakers have donated each event’s profits to the charity of the Promoter’s choosing.
Q&A with Producer/Director Brett Culp
What made Tugg a good fit for your film?
Legends of the Knight is a documentary film about the power all of us have to be heroes. The film tells the stories of people who were inspired to become real-life heroes because of their childhood love of Batman.
Our goal was beyond just creating an inspiring film and then showing it to people. Our hope was that people would engage with the message of the film. That they would live it out. We realized that partnering with Tugg could be a theatrical release strategy that would allow fans of the project to create grass-roots interaction with their community, focused around the local screening.
We didn’t perceive that our film was destined for a traditional theatrical run, so we decided that proceeds from a screening that would have gone to our company would instead be contributed to a local charity, which would be chosen by the person who requested and promoted the screening.
This approach worked. It gave communities an incentive to build attendance and promote the event. Essentially, they were expressing the message of our film by working to help their community. We felt this honored the spirit of the film, gave us unexpected theatrical opportunities, and created excitement and media coverage for the film throughout the U.S.
Through Tugg, we were able to turn what felt like a non-possibility (theatrical) into a significant buzz and goodwill builder.
What was your overall release strategy? (i.e. Windowing of festivals, theatrical, educational / non-theatrical, VOD, broadcast, etc.)
We have taken our release strategy one step at a time for Legends of the Knight. We focused our energies on this approach for a while, now we are shifting to VOD, broadcast, & DVD, which will launch in Q4 of 2014. Film festivals were not part of our strategy with this film.
How involved were you from the launch of your film’s release and throughout the life-cycle of that campaign in connecting and building your audience?
As the producer/director, I have been 100% hands-on with every aspect of Legends of the Knight.
I personally handle our social media, email list, etc. Facebook & Twitter have been our most important tools for connecting with our audience and keeping them engaged.
For me, the most effective aspects for building a social media audience seem to be authentic & personal communications and also sharing posts that are related to your film’s topic, but aren’t directly about your film… this draws more potential fans.
Because of the uniqueness of the Tugg concept, we also made an “explainer video” that expresses the approach. This video was very well-received. It inspired many people to request screenings and was their best tool for building support. We kept it pinned to the top of our Facebook page for months. You can see the video here:
What’s the most important thing(s) you learned from your campaign that you would pass on to another film team planning their own release?
There is a rare group of people that will support indie filmmakers just because they love indie film. But, when it comes to one-night screenings like Tugg events, the majority of people need a more important reason to pre-order a ticket 7 days in advance & join you on a specific evening.
Our experience has been that successful Tugg screenings of Legends of the Knight are driven by people of influence – leaders of community groups, youth programs, charity organizations, churches, clubs, etc – who will actively promote and recommend the screening.
Successful Tugg events are built on personal, community-focused influence rather than traditional marketing, advertising, and PR.
Finally, any other memorable moments, pleasant surprises, or highlights you’d like to mention?
The highlights for me were the photos that we saw running through Facebook & Twitter and that we received via email. Having the opportunity to see people engage with Legends of the Knight and with their community in such a direct way was incredibly validating and uplifting.
After spending 2 years of my life producing the film, I loved seeing it bless people. Sometimes, I would see a picture and just start crying. Yeah… I probably need more sleep.