Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Mystery Producer

This past Monday, in my desperation, I put an ad on Craigslist for a producer who can raise at least 50% of the budget for Ghostkeeper. Counting today, Thursday, I have had only one possibility.

Someone with an odd name. Wat. 

At first I dismissed it, but after a few days of nobody else coming in, I replied to him/her. Wat responded, wanted to see more, so I sent Wa the detailed proposal which includes the top sheet budget.

Wa said he/she would make some calls. 

So do I think this is real. Who knows? My initial feeling is no, but stranger things have happened and so I figure why not go with it. At the same time, I'm moving forward to contact every distributor that's ever made a horror/suspense/sci-fi/supernatural film.

I'm not going to the majors, ie: Paramount, etc, because they really don't handle low budget films, that is unless I have a great movie that's already been made. They make money from $100 million movies, not $1.8 million. 

Once in a while they take a plunge into the Blair Witch Project genre, Blair cost about $15,000 and made well over $100,000. But as I've said in the past, that's a "non-recurring phenomenon". The sequel to Blair didn't do as well.

To my advantage, I have a film that is a sequel of sorts to an older film, this gives me a bit of leverage as the original has been made and is getting some attention. Well, a little bit of attention. Got 306 viewers on Youtube and add about 10-15 each week.

And the new screenplay is a lot better than the original, I'm a better writer than I was in 1980. And I have half of the cast back and the DP who did such a great job.

And I'm more experienced in every aspect of filmmaking over the past 30 years. All of this has to be at the very least, interesting to examine for a distrib.

On the other hand, as of now, I have no money raised. And that's the tough one. If nobody has put in money, then nobody else wants to for one simple reason; 

Nobody wants to be the first in. 

Kind of like who dives off the cliff first.

You see lots of deals where one party gets half and the other gets the other half. But usually this means that the original party has no money in yet. And these deals often have neither party wanting to go in first.

The reason, mostly, is that each party really isn't that confident about the other party, "you got half and I got half" is the most often abused expression in the business. Kind of like playing blackjack in Vegas, the house shows its cards last.

You might not think that it would be an advantage, but it is.

There are as many deals as there are movies made and one that works for me might not work for anyone else. Bottom line is that I have to find the "first money" and this could also be a distributor.

How much first money? Not necessarily a lot. $50,000 is a good start. It could get $50,000 from another investor or two. They add up. Once around $200,000 of the budget is raised it gets easier. Those who don't have full confidence now see that this movie could actually get made.

There's another old saying in Hollywood, it's easier to raise $30 million than $500,000. And this is usually due to the fact that for $30 million you can get name actors, director and a studio behind you. For $500,000 you barely have enough to cover non-union crews and actors lower on the totem pole.

So at $1.8 million we're in a level that is harder to define, can't afford the big guys, can't really afford union crews like IATSE and DGA. And we get breaks from SAG and WGA.

Wonder how much Wat will bring in. 

(Mon: Name cast or not)

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