David MacGregor says digital media make it easier to create films. (David MacGregor)
Gone are the days when movies just played in movie theaters. And that’s just fine with David MacGregor. These days, it’s both cheaper to make films and easier to find places where they can be shown.
“The whole digitization of the film industry means that it’s become a lot more economically feasible for people to make films, because you’re not shooting on film anymore, you’re shooting on digital media, which is much more inexpensive,” says MacGregor, a lifelong Detroiter who co-produced and wrote an adaptation of his play, “Vino Veritas,” which came out this week on On Demand, Dish network, iTunes, Amazon, and even PlayStation and Xbox.
“There are so many different platforms that people can access the film via that it makes it viable for people to watch a lot of films that otherwise they wouldn’t have an opportunity to see,” MacGregor says. “Because let’s face it, a lot of the megaplexes are just going to do ‘Transformers 3’ or whatever the next blockbuster is.”
For a film made in Nebraska, “Vino Veritas” has a surprising number of Michigan connections. MacGregor, who lives in Hartland Township these days and teaches English at Wayne State University, first saw his play produced at the Purple Rose Theater in Chelsea. Of the four actors in the film, Heather Raffo is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Bernard White grew up in Detroit and graduated from Michigan State University.
Of course, the trick still is getting people to see the movie. Something as basic as the alphabet can have an effect on whether a film is chosen from the many options out there.
“One of the things that, jokingly, the director (Sarah Knight) and I said was, ‘Oh, man, we wish our movie didn’t start with a V. We wish it was about aardvarks,’ ” MacGregor says. “Are people going to get all the way down to your movie if they’re scrolling through On Demand movies?”
Well, hopefully. For now the film is playing film festivals — Mexico, the Bahamas, Alaska, Louisiana — and it doesn’t hurt that star Carrie Preston (“True Blood,” “The Good Wife”) has 83,000 Twitter followers.
Eventually the film will make it to DVD, go international and then likely land on a subscription service such as Netflix or Amazon Prime. So many ways to see a movie — if the word gets out. “You’re basically looking for that kind of ripple effect, where people say, ‘You’ve got to see this film,’ ” MacGregor says.