It’s been a busy year since we last spoke to Bryan Smith of 8th Avenue Studios. We caught up with him to talk about his latest project, a feature-length documentary called “Box of Salvation.” Bryan and his wife Carin have been all over the country promoting the film, but were able to find a few minutes to tell us about making the film. Here’s this week’s TDQ Q&A Follow-Up With Bryan Smith:
The Daily Quarterly: Tell us about 8th Avenue Studios’ latest project, “Box of Salvation”
Bryan Smith: “Box of Salvation” is our first go at a feature-length documentary. It’s a passion project – meaning we did it because we wanted to. Balancing our paid work with this and two kids under the age of 6 kept us pretty damn busy!
TDQ: What inspired you to make “Box of Salvation?”
Smith: Cheryl Nasso inspired us! She is the subject of the film. In short – she struggled with anorexia for about five years, at her worst ending up at a staggering 85lbs in an eating disorder facility. Just two years later, she was competing in the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games amongst the top 50 fittest women in the world! She is amazing, and so is her story. We felt like we had to tell it.
TDQ: You utilized Kickstarter to help with funding for the documentary. How was your experience using Kickstarter, and would you recommend using the site?
Smith: We had a great experience with Kickstarter – but it’s definitely not easy to get to your goal! We set ours pretty low, realizing the potential struggle we’d face. That’s the funny thing about Kickstarter – it’s a massive gamble. We went back and forth over the amount at which to set our funding. Luckily, we met our goal – thanks to the support of our amazing friends, family and the CrossFit community! We’d recommend using the site, it works!
TDQ: When does/did your national commercial for “Box of Salvation” run on ESPN?
Smith: Our commercial aired for the first time this past weekend on ESPN 3, during the network’s online feed of the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games. It also showed several times during the Games on the jumbotron, which was pretty freaking awesome.
TDQ: With this whole project, what have you learned about what works and doesn’t work getting a documentary off the ground?
Smith: Having a niche definitely helps. With this, we have the interest/support of CrossFit – which is one helluva supportive group! We’ve been able to gain worldwide exposure thanks to their help. Unless you’re a major Hollywood studio, publicity is really hard to come by – so knowing your audience, targeting them and gaining their support is really important.
TDQ: What sort of feedback have you gotten on initial screenings for “Box of Salvation?”
Smith: The feedback we’ve received has been amazing! People are really connecting with Cheryl’s story. We’ve received emails from fans across the world who’ve felt compelled to share their stories with us and convey how Cheryl has inspired them. It’s remarkable and completely humbling.
TDQ: You were in California last week promoting the film, what was on the agenda there?
Smith: We spent most of the time meeting people and talking up the film. We think it helps to be able to put a face with the project – and for people to actually get to meet Cheryl whenever possible. It was an awesome experience for all of us!
TDQ: What’s next for 8th Avenue Studios?
Smith: We are working on a concept trailer and financing for our narrative feature film “Guilt”. In the meantime, we are busy self-distributing Box of Salvation, which is available through our online store and we’re working on several promotional films and commercials, which pay the bills.