Sally and I are writing so we may bring you up to speed on the wonderful things that have transpired since we presented ‘A Walk in the Park with David Vassar’ at the Smithsonian in March 2016. You’re going to be hearing from us at Backcountry Pictures with a bit more frequency in the coming months as we announce additional screening events throughout the remainder of 2016 and into 2017 that will coincide with the National Park Service Centennial.
Well, June 17th, 2016 was the West Coast premier of ‘A Walk in the Park with David Vassar,’ which was presented to a sold out audience at the Bret Hart Theater in Angels Camp, in our beloved Calaveras County.
In early May, the Bret Harte Theater offered us the perfect date to present the retrospective. We knew we would be undertaking all aspects of producing the show on our own. We really had to wonder if we bit off more than we could chew when we signed the contract on the theater, as we only had exactly one-month-to-the-day in which to produce and market the event… something we’ve never done before, especially on such a short time frame.
Sally was magnificent in bringing in sponsors, including Wells Fargo, Sol Sierra, Black Oak Casino, and Bear Valley Resort, to name just a few. Their generous contributions offset many expenses and allowed us to keep the screening ticket price at a mere $20. The ticket for the screening and the VIP reception was $40, and we really wondered if we would actually sell any of the more expensive tickets. More on that in a moment…
Publicity, promotion, and digital and social media marketing was relentless. Over the two weeks leading up to show date, I couldn’t open a newspaper, turn on a radio or television, visit a local news site or open Facebook or YouTube without hearing my melodious voice or seeing my impish and boyish good looks peering back at me from a computer screen, iPhone, iPad, newspaper page and event posters on every bulletin board in a 25-mile radius.
So, thanks to our new marketing guy, Christopher Buttner, for blowing my cover… I am no longer transparent, nor can I travel incognito in the tri-county area without people stopping me all the time and asking, “Hey, aren’t you… Harrison Ford?…”
We have to admit, the credibility of coming off the sold-out Smithsonian presentation was a great asset, as everyone in the community wanted to see what the fuss was all about.
Ticket sales were consistent from the day we announced the retrospective, but it was in the last week that ticket demand accelerated to the point we made the call to announce the event as ‘100% Sold Out’ three hours before show time.
Even the numerous ‘Sold Out’ signs on all the theater doors didn’t stop another dozen or so highly motivated people from showing up demanding we take their cash for whatever empty seats or ‘standing room-only’ areas were available as the houselights dimmed and the president of the Calaveras Arts Council entered from stage left to introduce the evening program.
Immediately after the last flickering images vanished from the screen, the VIP ticket holders rallied at the beautiful CAMPS Restaurant and we quickly discovered our little casual after-show reception we planned for 36 friends and sponsors (then 60 two weeks from the show, and then 80 one week from the show), had finally burgeoned to 107 people in attendance.
Apologies to those who couldn’t elbow themselves into the complimentary Hors d’oeuvres buffet line fast enough to get a scrap of smoked gouda, and a wafer thin slice of salami on a cracker. Even I didn’t get to eat anything… But, I heard it was a beautifully presented… while it lasted.
In a nutshell, the evening was successful beyond our wildest dreams.
Thank you to all who attended and contributed to its success.
Thus far we have received two other invitations to present ‘A Walk in the Park with David Vassar’ in the coming months, and as those show dates are confirmed, we’ll make formal announcements.
We’re also looking into touring the retrospective throughout the West Coast, bringing it to venues in major metropolitan areas as far north as Seattle to as far south as San Diego.
Now that we know what we’re doing, it’s not as hard as it seems… (Actually, Christopher is the one with 20+ years of large-scale event and concert production experience, he’s impossible to rattle, is in charge of that, and we just stay out of his way).
… we’ll be sure to have more cheese and crackers on-hand for the VIP receptions… I promise.
Thank you for your continued support.
David Vassar and Sally Kaplan
P.S. If you know of someone who would be interested in attending one of Backcountry Pictures’ future events, please have them sign up for our newsletter here.