JE017: “Test City, USA” official release

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Eric Hornung
Hello listeners, no intro music today – we are getting straight into the good stuff. Jay, tell the people what’s going on

Jay Clouse
Great news. Back in September, we shared a short episode with the update issue three the skinny update as we called it. And we told the listeners that we had intended to release our full length documentary film “Test City, USA” as part of the update issue three. But as we pursued film festivals, we found out that we were not allowed to do that. And today we’re back to let you know first of all our updated record when it comes to applying to film festivals. And secondly, that we are no longer presenting film festivals we just got through our last one and Test City, USA is now available to purchase to rent to watch online and we cannot be more excited.

Eric Hornung
Yeah, and we are appending Look at that. You like that word, Jay? Appending.

Jay Clouse
Ah, not really. Appendages are weird. Name an appendage that isn’t just weird to think about.

Eric Hornung
Finger

Jay Clouse
Still feels weird.

Eric Hornung
Okay. Anyway, we are appending we are adding, we are including that original September 2019 episode here following this little intro so you guys can get caught up on what, maybe take a little time travel a little time travel back and get caught up on what we were thinking at the time and seeing what we’re up to now I’m releasing this film, it’s been seven or eight months here, Jay,

Jay Clouse
In this episode that we’re releasing today, you’ll hear that at the time, our record for film festivals was one out of one we had gotten into every film festival we applied for at this point, I can tell you we’ve gotten into two out of 20. So film festivals are a lot more difficult than you may think. also fairly expensive to apply to but an experience that I’m glad we went through. Nonetheless, we just aired the film at Columbus International Film Festival which is doing a virtual festival amidst all of the COVID-19 rules. If you guys want to watch this Film will have a link in the show notes, you can go to upside down FM slash film that will bring you to our film page. You can rent the film and be able to stream it for the next 48 hours for $9.99. We recommend that you purchase the film for $13.99 just an extra four bucks, then you can watch the film anytime you want. You can see our special behind the scenes producer commentary, Eric interviewed me and gave some reflections on the film now more than six months after it was released. And half of all the proceeds whether you rent or buy are going to a local Columbus cause for COVID-19 relief called we feed Columbus. They provide local restaurants affected by COVID-19, the financial support needed to deliver safely packaged meals to frontline workers and community organizations in need. It’s an awesome cause we’re excited to support it. So half of everything that you put towards this film will go towards we feed Columbus and you can purchase that at upside down FM slash film.

Eric Hornung
And here’s the big thing. It’s not half of profits, it’s half of sales. So If you go from rent to buy if you buy instead that $4 half of that is going directly to we feed Columbus.

Jay Clouse
We hope you liked the film, we’d love to hear your feedback on it. Of course you can email us Hello at upside down FM or tweet at us at upside FM. There’s also a link on the film page to share the film itself on Twitter in the section about we feed Columbus we’d love for you to help spread the word But without further ado, check out this episode from seven months ago with the skinny update issue three. The startup investment landscape is changing and world class companies are being built outside of Silicon Valley. We find them talk with them and discuss the upside of investing in them. Welcome to upside.

Eric Hornung
Jay, you are looking fit, very fit today.

Jay Clouse
Would you say that I’m looking skinny?

Eric Hornung
I’d say you’re looking skinny. Yeah. In the words of heavyweights, “You’re looking skinny, Tony.”

Jay Clouse
Skinny, Tony?

Eric Hornung
Yeah, I — have you ever seen heavyweights?

Jay Clouse
No.

Eric Hornung
Well, it’s a very classic movie, and… Anyway, that reference went over your head. What probably didn’t go over your head is that this announcement right now, this isn’t a full episode. This is a quick announcement about the update V3, which is a very skinny version of the update.

Jay Clouse
Skinny episode, skinny update on the skinny Update. And speaking of classic movies, we want to talk to you about our documentary, our first foray into film, ‘Test City, USA,’ which we thought we would be sharing, in the Update issue 3, publicly through our YouTube channel. And Eric, that’s not going to happen.

Eric Hornung
Jay, it’s crazy, because we thought a lot of things with this film. I mean, when we first came up with this concept, this was an audio only concept that was going to take content we had already produced on the podcast, split it into an ecosystem-only format, and do an audio documentary. Then, we said, okay, you know what, I think visual’s probably better. So let’s try to put together a 20 to 30 minute pilot. Then, we were blindsided by the brilliance that was and is Kyle Skinner. It’s really been a complete and utter strategic failure from you and my perspective to know how well this thing was going to turn out.

Jay Clouse
Yeah, when you plan your editorial calendar around assumptions that turn out to be wrong, well, your editorial calendar has to change. And here we find ourselves deep into September, which means we’re in Q3. And, as you guys know, if you’ve been following us for a while, we release the update, a written publication, once a quarter. And so, we’re in Q3, we thought that in Q3 we’d be sharing our documentary. And because Kyle killed it, our intern for the summer and budding filmmaker, made this film from a 20 to 30 minute demo or pilot that we thought it would be into a full length, 90-minute feature documentary, that — spoiler — got into a film festival, now we’re a little hand-strung, our hands are a little bit tied on what we can share and when we can share that documentary.

Eric Hornung
It’s crazy, the world of film festivals, Jay, I knew nothing about it.

Jay Clouse
Same.

Eric Hornung
And then, all of a sudden, we’re in it. And we’re standing up front in front of an audience of 200-plus people answering questions about a film we made.

Jay Clouse
Right. So far, getting into film festivals seems very easy, and according to our research, that is not going to continue. But, to this point, the film itself, ‘Test City, USA,’ there is an undeniable energy and momentum in the growing startup ecosystem here in Columbus, Ohio, in my opinion. And so, ‘Test City, USA’ is our documentary exploring this moment in time in 2019 for Columbus, Ohio, how the ecosystem here has evolved, and the challenges of what is to come next. I genuinely believe, living here for the last 10 years, this is a very unique time for Columbus. And I had the opportunity to interview 27 individuals, stakeholders, from all walks of life in the ecosystem this summer, and we whittled that down to 90 minutes of film, which we’re very excited to share with you. But, to your point, Eric…

Eric Hornung
There are some challenges that come next.

Jay Clouse
There are some challenges and rules that come next. And the first challenge and rule that we came across was when we said, this is good, we should do a screening of this, and we should do it at one of the local theaters. Here in Columbus, we have one of the longest running, independent theaters in the country that really supports independent film. So I got an intro to their president there, and I met, and I said, Chris, what would it look like to do this film, and he says, that’s something we do for local filmmakers, and you can do that. But if you guys have aspirations for film festivals, they will not accept submissions of films that have been publicly, theatrically aired. And to do it in a theater would theatrically air that film. So to protect our ability to go into film festivals, we applied to a film festival, the Film Festival of Columbus, which just so happened to be the following month, and we hit the timing perfectly to be able to apply and submit and be considered for that Film Festival. Got in and we aired that film for the first time, premiered it, on September 12, at the Gateway Film Center in Columbus, Ohio.

Eric Hornung
And it was awesome. It was a ton of fun. We had a ton of people there. The city of Columbus, the Columbus community really showed out for the film. We had some fantastic reception. And all that being said, dear listener, we cannot share it with you still.

Jay Clouse
That’s right. The festival sold out. Our film sold out in the largest theater at the Gateway Film Center. We had a dedicated lounge for patrons of our film for an hour before we headed into the theater. Got really good reception, people laughed, they clapped.

Eric Hornung
They laughed, they clapped. I think some people cried, but that might have just been you.

Jay Clouse
There was also a child in the audience. At one point, he yelled “Daddy!” on someone who’s in the film that does not have any children. So that was interesting. But yeah, we laughed, we cried, we nervously clenched our girlfriends’ hands for an hour and a half.

Eric Hornung
And you know, here’s the thing. If you’re listening to this, you’re not gonna be able to see the film right now. But we did want to put out version 3 of the update, issue 3 of the update. And we’re going to do something that’s a little behind the scenes. Jay, what are we going to do?

Jay Clouse
So, in issue 3 of the update, the skinny update, as Eric already said, we have a co-written, editorial about the process of creating this film and a a little bit of behind the scenes information about the film. And our commitment to you, dear listener, is that you will be able to see this film as soon as we can publicly share it online. And we want to give you a heads up as soon as that is possible. So within that editorial, there’s a place where you can enter your email address, be the first one to receive that email to know that the film is viewable. You can also go to upside.fm/film and sign up there to get that film sent to you or get a notification for when you can view it. But that’s the update V3, Eric, is talking about the documentary.

Eric Hornung
That’s it. It’s a quick one, it’s an easy one. We hope you guys are having a great week, and we hope that you enjoy a little bit of background about ‘Test City, USA.’

Jay Clouse
So go to upside.fm/update, it’s linked in the show notes, that’ll show you the editorial. You can enter your email address, you can be the first to know when the film is publicly available to you. And I also have a little behind the scenes: know that update issue 4 will hopefully be on time, and hopefully according to plan, and also extremely high impact, exciting stuff that we have planned for that version of the update.

We’ve been waiting for today for a long, long time.

Last summer, we filmed and produced a full-length documentary about the startup ecosystem in Columbus, Ohio. The film is called Test City, USA and is now available for you to watch online.

The film premiered at Film Festival of Columbus in September 2019, and was the subject of our third issue of The Update. The film took home “Best Ohio Feature” at that festival, and we began throwing our hat in for other festivals.

With festivals going virtual, we are pulling back. We participated in this year’s virtual Columbus International Film Festival, but now we’re excited to share the film with you.

Read all about the film and rent or purchase it here

Purchase also comes with a 25-minute bonus commentary with Jay reflecting on the film, now 7 months after its initial release.

In an effort to provide relief to the families and small businesses affected by COVID-19, we are committing 50% of all proceeds to WeFeedCbus.

With your help, WeFeedCbus aims to provide local restaurants affected by COVID-19 the financial support needed to deliver safely packaged meals to front line workers and community organizations in need.

Donations go straight to local restaurant providers partnering with WeFeedCbus to help pay for individually packaged meals that are delivered to communities experiencing food insecurity and our frontline workers in Columbus.

It’s a great way to spend part of your weekend, and we hope you’ll watch the film and let us know what you think.

Synopsis:
There is undeniable energy and momentum in the growing startup ecosystem of Columbus, Ohio. ‘Test City, USA’ explores this moment in time for the city, how the ecosystem evolved, and the challenges of what comes next.

WINNER: “Best Ohio Feature” by the Film Festival of Columbus 2019
OFFICIAL SELECTION: Columbus International Film Festival 2020
Directed by: Kyle Skinner
Produced by: Jay Clouse
Executive producer: Eric Hornung

A film by The Up Company

Watch Test City, USA: https://upside.fm/test-city-usa
Help us spread the word: https://ctt.ac/aqd4K
Read the update issue three: https://upside.fm/update/issue-three/
Follow upside on Twitter: https://twitter.com/upsidefm