Monday, March 1, 2010

Going back and going ahead

So, we're at a crossroads now, Travel Day is losing steam in that Manitoba didn't deliver as they said they would and the U.S. investors, who get several people asking them for money each week, are beginning to waffle.

Ironically, my friend Rachel, of Eh Channel, who had lost her job due to company belt-tightening is back in another great position to help us.  It's no guarantee but we've had one preliminary discussion and hopefully it will lead to more.

I'm now prepping a short proposal for Chaser, the script I want to make for a low, low budget, maybe less than $100,000. The timing is good, the fall release of Paranormal Activity, the low budget film of $15,000 has made over $120 million world-wide.

This has made the studios and producers look at similar projects, one just sold at Sundance, I mentioned it a few posts ago, Buried , with wannabe A-List star Ryan Reynolds about a guy who's being held for ransom in a box underground somewhere in the middle east.

The whole movie is about him in the box.

Chaser is about a guy in his car for 3/4 of the movie. I wrote this 2 years ago as an experiment. I wanted to see if I could keep audience interest in the character even though he is in his car for most of the movie.

These two stories fit into that category labeled "non-recurring phenomenon", in other  words a film that would never get major or even minor studio financing because it doesn't fit into the formula of action movies, romantic-comedies, horror, family and giant blockbusters.

So they don't want it.

Until one of them makes a ton of money.

The first movie to do this was arguably Easy Rider which was released in 1969 for a budget of around $350,000 in a time when a regular studio picture cost $5 million. It took Hollywood off guard and in no time they were giving money to any long-haired hippie to make movies.

Naturally most failed. You couldn't copy the success of Easy Rider because it was a non-recurring phenomenon. In other words, they didn't know why it made money so they gave it a label.

After that a few more of these types of movies came again, Blair Witch Project, costing $25,000 and making over a million. There was Open Water, which made about $40 million and cost about $150,000.

This year, Paramount is opening a division to make movies for $100,000, to try to catch "lightning in a bottle" as the popular saying goes.

Now you're thinking that maybe Chaser is the right idea for this moment. I think it is. But do I think it's going to make $100 million dollars?  I'd be happy if it made back it's cost. The last thing I would ever attempt to predict is how much it could make at the box office. I'd be a fool to do that.

But as long as the studio heads think they can find the next Paranormal Activity they might as well listen to our pitch. In the next few weeks, I'll complete a budget, a proposal and more and then start" shopping the project."


  1. "Phone Booth" worked on the same premise. My guess is it probably cost them a lot more to make than those other movies but still, one guy, one phone booth, threatening phone calls... I thought it was great. Looking forward to hearing more about yours.

  2. I'll post the screenplay for Chaser as soon as I can, interesting read. My agent urged me not to write it, but when he read it said he had to keep turning the page. Which is what a writer likes to hear.