Today, I am not going to answer a question, instead I am going to talk about something that really made me frustrated. This week someone posted a really not nice comment on Facebook about how if this person gets asked to support a crowd funding campaign for film, they automatically know that said film is not going to be professional in look and in treatment of the crew. There were some other just plain idiotic comments in this post as well but I really wanted to focus on two things in regard to this.
1. That is a bunch of malarkey! Depending on the scope of your project, crowd funding can be an amazing way to raise money for it. I do not recommend trying to raise millions of dollars, but who is to say that wouldn’t work as well. In the interest of full disclosure, I have not used crowd funding to fund any of my projects, but that’s not to say I wouldn’t and I know plenty of people who have and their sets were run professionally and their projects looked fantastic. Some even got great distribution deals. So, if you are going to go out and raise money via crowd funding, I say go for it! The key is to know your project and raise enough funds in order to make the experience for the crew and cast enjoyable, make sure you can get the equipment, locations, cast, crew, etc that will make your project look great, treat everyone with respect and gratitude and by all means, let them know what they are getting in to before they sign up. If they are aware up front of the scope of the project and you have done your best to set yourself up to succeed then there should be no reason the cast and crew wouldn’t be happy to work on it.
2. The most frustrating thing about this person’s post (aside from the discouraging manner in which he wrote it) is that this person is a consultant for producers. To my knowledge, this person has not produced anything! He does not have an IMDb page to speak of (yes, I understand that not all films get put on IMDb but it is the job of the producer to get those credits up there) and whenever you ask this person what they do, they are very vague and they change the subject and just say that they are a consultant. I do not want to discourage anyone from doing what they love and if consulting is what this person loves, then great. BUT, I do discourage fraud and at this point, that’s how I feel about what this person is doing. For all of you just starting in the business, please do not say you are a producer, writer, director, editor, etc., until you have done that job. I know, this may sound harsh and it is counter intuitive for those of us who have always been told to own what we are doing. But, you can say, “I am an aspiring producer, writer, director, etc” or “I am studying to be a producer, writer, director, etc”. Then get out there and make a short film, music video, web series, something that allows you to have done said job. Then you can claim that title. Don’t start giving discouraging advice on jobs you haven’t done. This business is tough enough and I can’t stand it when people make discouraging comments on things they don’t know about. I may be harsh in my advice sometimes, but it is always coming from a place of love and encouragement. Keep pursuing your dreams and never give up. If it’s your true passion, then it will be yours one day. Be patient and don’t put the cart before the horse and by all means, crowd fund away if that’s what you want to do.
Mother’s Red Dress, a tragic love story, is the third feature film in three years for No Restrictions Entertainment, an independent filmmaking partnership between writer/director Edgar Michael Bravo and producer John Paul Rice. The team is known among its fan base and those in the micro-budget indie community for making compelling dramatic films that deal with challenging topics in the realm of social issues.
Over the past four years, they’ve built a strong following starting with their first feature, the critically acclaimed, One Hour Fantasy Girl, (based on a true story) a poignant story of a runaway girl from the mid-west living in Hollywood who works as a no-sex call girl to pursue her dream of investing in real estate. The audience’s strongest reactions came from a majority of women who sympathized with a guarded yet vulnerable young woman making her way through a dangerous world to achieve her goal of financial independence – finding an emotionally engaging female empowerment movie. These reactions propelled the team to partner up with charities and organizations, showing the film in theaters to raise awareness and funds for abused runaways.
Now with their third film just weeks away from a locked picture edit, the team is raising finishing funds for Mother’s Red Dress via Kickstarter – one of the more popular crowd-funding platforms available to filmmakers – and combining the fundraising with charity as 10% of every dollar pledged will be donated to an organization that helps victims of domestic violence and child abuse.
Mother’s Red Dress is the story of a young man, Paul, who leaves home to start a new life after seeing his mother kill her abusive boyfriend and threatens to kill her son if he tells anyone. Paul moves to a small town in Southern California where he meets Ashley, a young woman who also comes from a broken home yet is unaware of Paul’s troubled past with his mother. Ashley inspires Paul to apply to a local community college. All is going well until Paul gets a call from his mother who is dying of cancer and wants to see him one last time. She offers to reunite Paul with his estranged father who disappeared during his childhood – his father, wanting to meet and convince Paul he is a changed man. Paul decides to travel back home with Ashley following the next day but the truth of what actually happened in the house and to Paul is waiting for both of them.
Mr. Bravo and Mr. Rice talk about their current crowd funding campaign, effective strategies and more on the Film Method podcast with Cindy Freeman and Jenna Edwards.
To learn more about MOTHER’S RED DRESS and their Kickstarter campaign, click here.
John Paul Rice- Producer
Mr. Rice attended Georgia State University in 1997 with a focus on Business. In 1999, while at college, Mr. Rice was given a rare opportunity to work on Jerry Bruckheimer’s Remember the Titans. Following three months on the film, John directed his studies toward learning the history of cinema. Mr. Rice gained hands-on production experience by working on a handful of micro- budget independent films between courses before moving to Los Angeles January 2001 to pursue a career in film production. By mid 2001, John landed a position at the Los Angeles division of the German distribution company Senator International (which later became Mandate Pictures) lead by industry veteran Joseph Drake (Juno, The Grudge, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, 30 Days of Night, American Psycho). Under Joe’s mentoring, John developed an interest and dedication to producing feature films. John left Mandate to form No Restrictions Entertainment LLC with filmmaker Edgar Michael Bravo. In 2008, Mr. Rice produced his first feature One Hour Fantasy Girl with Edgar Michael Bravo directing. The following year, he and Mr. Bravo produced the supernatural thriller The Magic Stone, set for release in 2011.
Edgar Michael Bravo- Writer/Director
Latino writer/director Edgar Michael Bravo has explored the residual effects of the North American and Latino culture clash in several of his films. During his studies at the UCLA graduate school of film (MFA, 1993) Mr. Bravo’s film Mi Casa, which dealt with Latino immigrants in L.A., won the grand prize at the A&E national film competition. This prestigious award helped launchhis directorial career and Edgar took on his next challenge:Mi Hermano which was the first drama to deal with the ramifications of AIDS and Latino immigrants. This poignant, edgy film garnered Mr. Bravo a Cine Eagle Award and was broadcast nationally on Univision and PBS. After receiving his Masters of Fine Arts from UCLA with honors, Mr. Bravo wrote and directed the feature I’ll Love You Forever…Tonight, which won national rave reviews including Kevin Thomas (L.A. Times) & Steve Holden (N.Y. Times). The project co-starred Thomas Jane (The Punisher, Dreamcatcher, Boogie Nights). Phaedra released the film nationally. Video distribution was handled by BlockBuster and Hollywood Video. Lila Cazes (producer of Leaving Las Vegas) saw I’ll Love You Forever…Tonight and hired him to complete Venus Rising, a feature that required a re-write and re-shoots. Lila was so pleased with Mr. Bravo’s take on the material, that they hired him to write the feature The Perfect Husband.
Mr. Bravo’s film Mi Hermano was viewed by Columbia-Tri-Star and Telemundo and led to his first directorial stint in television. Mr. Bravo shot an hour long episode of Reyes y Rey (1998), a popular police drama based in a fictional Latino border town. The episode received such high ratings that he was contracted to direct two episodes of their other co-production Angeles, a Latino version of Charlie’s Angels. Edgar’s following project, The Preacher’s Son received a Houston World Fest Award (2000). His next script which he collaborated with another writer The Closing Bell, received a Zide/Perry finalist award (2002) and won the Telluride Indie Fest Award chosen as one of the “best indie scripts (2002).” After reviewing his body of work, the award winning San Francisco writers Bob Vickery and Dale Chase granted Mr. Bravo rights to their stories. The result was the script The Three Stages of Stan produced in 2003. In 2008, Mr. Bravo partnered with producer John Paul Rice on their first HD feature film One Hour Fantasy Girl, set for limited theatrical release in 2010. The following year, the team produced the supernatural thriller The Magic Stone, set for release in 2011. Mr. Bravo’s great dream is to direct his script, The Conquest of Mexico, which depicts the beauty of Mexico before the treachery of Cortez and the European diseases he brought which devastated a highly developed indigenous culture.
This new feature from Film Method will highlight different crowd funding campaigns each month. Producer Steve Everson is our guest blogger this month as we focus on the Indiegogo campaign for his short film A Midsummer Nightmare.
In the early pre-production of Midsummer, our goal was to avoid two pitfalls of many of the short films that we had seen or worked on, in the past. First, we decided it is important that the story have an extremely strong hook that incorporates elements that are new to viewers. The other main pitfall to avoid, as we saw it, was to stifle the film’s creative efforts by attempting the film unprepared.
To address the former, it was decided, rather than create a typical horror film with a faceless killer stalking the cast until the end, the main inspiration is drawn from William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
The latter became one of the primary reasons for the crowd funding campaign for A Midsummer Nightmare – The Betrayal.
As fans, we know that the popularity of both the horror and fantasy genres are strong, but the tie-in of Shakespeare opened the door to fans that may not have donated to a horror or fantasy film.
Writer & Director Josh Siegel did a great job with this and really ran wild with the story to create something both scary and fantastical. He put all the characters that you would expect to see in Shakespeare’s play, including King Oberon and Queen Titania of the Fairies’ court, and, of course, the mischievous Puck. But then, we turned the whole story on its ear. (Including an appearance by William Shakespeare.)
The Story: England, 1596. The Brotherhood of St. George uses William Shakespeare to trap the Faerie Court within an enchanted book, sparking a secret war with the pagan Feyists. 250 years later the book is opened and the magical beings are freed in a California forest.
Lord Oberon and Queen Titania are not happy after their long imprisonment, unleashing their wrath upon mankind. Three cowboys fight to survive long enough to stop the vengeful faeries and the murderous prankster called Puck.
Once the film is complete, the film will go on the festival circuit. We have a lot of confidence in its ability to perform and compete in the festivals we have targeted. These include about 30 of the top festivals in the US and Europe that are horror and fantasy themed.
When it has completed its tour, we are working on making the film available for download from a variety of outlets via the Internet (most are still in the preliminary stages) and of course, DVDs will be available with supplemental content including concept art, cast and crew bios and interviews and much more.
On behalf of the entire cast and crew, we would like to invite the listeners of Film Method to join us at any of the following links (hopefully all of the links) to keep updated on the progress of the film, help boost the word of mouth or even throw in a few dollars, if possible.
And thank you so much to Cindy Freeman and everyone at Film-Method.com!
To checkout our crowd funding campaign
Keep updated with all developments
A Midsummer Nightmare – The Betrayal
Produced by Steve Everson, L. Jeffrey Moore and Joshua Siegel
Steve Everson- Producer
Steve holds a degree in Communication Design, Media Arts from CSU, Chico. He spent three years as a commercial producer for Charter Media. Following that, Steve was hired as the Cinematographer and a Post Producing Consultant for the feature film Bloodwood Cannibals. The next year, he was hired as a Assistant Director and Co-Producer on the feature film Lesser Miracles. As a MFA student at the Academy of Art, Steve has served as a Producer twelve short films and a music video.
Having unlimited resources at your disposal while making a movie doesn’t mean that you’ll make a great movie, but it sure helps. What luxuries do you have on a larger budget production? What must you sacrifice to make a smaller budget work? Producer Scott Fort joins us to discuss what it’s like to make features ranging from half a million dollars to 5 million dollars. In this episode we also kick off our new feature Support: From Start to Finish, in which we’ll highlight a different crowd funding campaign every month. Steve Everson joins us this month to talk about the Indigogo campaign for his film A Midsummer Nightmare.
Scott Fort- Producer
Robert Scott Fort has been a working professional in the film industry for over 20 years. During the first stage of his career, Mr. Fort worked as a Director of Development at Walt Disney Studios for Stuart Gordon, the director of RE-ANIMATOR, developing projects such as DYNOTOPIA, AMERICAN PSYCHO and the sequel to HONEY I SHRUNK THE KIDS. He also worked with Indie film producer David Lancaster on various Showtime projects, and later with writer/producer, Jim Kouf, also at Walt Disney Studios.
Mr. Fort began working in physical production as a Production Coordinator and Production Manager for Full Moon Pictures, where he supervised over 25 low budget horror films. From there Mr. Fort worked on numerous television pilots and movies of the week at such studios as Warner Bros, Paramount Pictures, Sony Television, Showtime and Lifetime.
Mr. Fort has also worked as a UPM or Line Producer on numerous independent features with directors such as: Ken Loach, Christopher Coppola, Andy Fleming and Joe Dante. He has worked in locations as diverse as Utah, Arizona, Missouri, Mississipi, New Mexico, Louisiana, Texas and North Carolina, and has developed an expertise in putting together budget scenarios for film financing packages.
Most recently Mr. Fort Line Produced THE COVER UP based on an infamous Iowa crime case and directed by Sundance winning director, Brian Jun, and Production Managed ACT OF VALOR for Legendary Pictures slated for release in 2011. He recently Line Produced the teen action thriller, BIG BAD for Eye Vox Entertainment, and is currently prepping a psychological thriller titled CHAINED to be directed by Jennifer Lynch.
Mr. Fort is an alumnus of California State University of Fullerton, graduating with a degree in Communications, with an emphasis in TV & Film. He is a member of the Producer’s Guild of America.
Credits include: THE THACKER CASE, MARK BURNETTE’S GOLD RUSH, KISS KISS BANG BANG, WAITRESS, and LOVE SPRING.
Jenna Edwards- Producer
Jenna Edwards began her film career in Minnesota where she was signed on as talent with Easter Hailey. Quickly after being signed Edwards was hired by the agency as a full time employee giving her a head-start on her Hollywood education. After two years of rising through the Minnesota film community Edwards made the move to Los Angeles.
Soon after Edwards moved to Los Angeles she was hired by agent Jamie Ferrar. It was while Edwards was working for Ferrar that she developed an interest in the casting process. Before long she had moved from talent agencies to working in casting with such industry leaders as; Sally Steiner (Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Boy Meets World), Barbie Block (Jonas, Pepper Dennis) and Allison Jones (Superbad, The Office).
During this time Edwards was also able to gain valuable production experience working with studios like Disney, MTV, FOX and CBS.
After several years of successfully navigating her career through the Hollywood studio system Edwards made the leap to independent film with her first feature April Showers and has since successfully produced 4 feature films as well as co-hosting the Film Method podcast and teaching producing classes at New York Film Academy.
After her success with April Showers Edwards formed Mattoid Entertainment with partners Jeremy McGovern and Andrew Robinson where they produced the first ever made-for-internet movie, In the Darkness, which premiered on Hulu.com. Mattoid has recently made the leap to distribution, where they have acquired three feature documentaries to be released in 2011. The first, Adopting Haiti premiered as the #1 documentary on Hulu.com.
Aside from continuing to work at Mattoid, Jenna is busy working on budgets for several independent films, producing 2 feature films and developing projects for television as well as teaching producing at New York Film Academy.