Friday, October 16, 2009

Still interested

So far - so good.  The potential Manitoba producer, Dane, and I have spoken.  He does exist, he is real. He has a relatively new company in Manitoba and has several movies to his credit, some are Canadian and as such, rarely ever seen beyond a domestic release and a few service jobs by which a lot of Canadian producers survive by. 

These are similar to what TD could be, but more emphasis on the service as usually the movies, primarily American, have their full budget going in. Unlike me, who will have partial funding with my side bringing in 50% or so, maybe a little more and Dane coming in with 40% which includes tax credits and equity, as explained in the October 15th post.  

We had a good conversation and I reminded him that I was born and raised till the age of 12 in Manitoba and spend a lot of time there now, knowing Winnipeg quite well, having friends and cousins. 

I also wrote and worked on three movies there in 1998 with producer Steve White, one of the best producers I've ever worked with. Two of the scripts were mine, the Roswell Project (later named Roswell- Aliens Attack,( definitely not my title) and a remake of a movie I had made 12 years before which was dreadfully bad, but the new one was a little better, called Dream House, a science fiction thriller.

Dane sent me a preliminary budget, much more basic than mine (which you can see by viewing our proposal available under the Materials box) and included the potential tax credits. Out of a $1.1 cdn budget.  It's tied to the exchange rate and at present, the US dollar is taking a slam, resulting in the Canadian budget lowering.

I'm hoping that the the US dollar picks up after the first of the year and that the Canadian dollar lowers to a respectable 10-12% rate. This exchange rate can make it easier or harder for us to make our movie in Winnipeg. I offer my thoughts and then email his budget back and we decide to talk again in a week. 

Things here in LA however, seem to be less stable than before. my initial Investor who would commit the 2nd half of the budget once I found the first half, does not answer my emails. This isn't the first time as those of you who follow this blog know. He could be waiting for the actual finalization of Dane's commitment. This is normal in these partnership investments. Basically, nobody wants to dive into the pool first.  And everyone wants to see just what I can do on my own. 

It's a test.

So what do I did I do on my own?

I reached out to at least 100 different people and companies. Most of course passed, about 15 were interested and of them, 5 were interested enough to consider doing business. But I am not stopping there. While it looks good at the moment, I don't like surprises, as Initial Investor deciding on not carrying through his earlier investment. And not because of the project, but maybe he's stretched himself too far on other projects or a hundred other reasons, none of which I know. 

And all of this work is basically for free, as I am not taking a producer fee, probably a "deferred" fee, or as we in the film business call it "nothing".  Deferments are common in the film industry where the budget is so low that taking a fee would hurt the production. And since I am taking a Writer's Guild Minimum fee for low budget films, approximatly $42,000, I am one of the top money earners on our low budget of $900k US. 

So just when I think we have a good chance at getting all the money, one of our pieces seems to be falling out and I continue to search for investors. Do I know this for sure? No, but that's no reason to sit back and wait.  

AFM (American Film Market) is approaching,  1st week of November in Santa Monica. It's where distributors who buy and sell meet at a hotel on the beach and wine and dine and every room is taken up by companies as big as Paramount and Universal taking huge suites down to tiny foreign distributors in single rooms plastered with horror films and copies of American action films with Michael Madsen in them. 

Shirley and I are preparing some material to hand out to these people although I really don't like going there, it's like being at a meat convention, with movies reduced to their lowest common denominator.

But they also can help fund our movie.

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