About six weeks ago we launched a campaign to raise money for Closure, as detailed in the post M Day. Our goal was to raise the funds and immediately go into pre-production. If we remained on schedule we would start shooting on January 9th and shoot for three six-day weeks.
The good news: we were able to get commitments from nine different investors, who pledged a total of $54,000 to making the movie. This is very flattering that so many people had faith in me and this project, and were willing to back up that faith with cold hard cash.
The bad news: while $54,000 is a lot of money, it is less than 20% of our budget. This means that there is no way we can make the movie the way we want to make it, which included paying our actors the union scale rate under a professional contract, having a full crew and support staff, and securing the multiple locations in the script. The amount of money we still need would be extremely difficult to raise via crowdsourcing, and even if we could we wouldn’t have time to get it all before our projected shoot date.
So what does this mean? To put it simply: we failed.
There’s no way to sugarcoat it. We set a goal, and didn’t come close to reaching it. We wrote numerous emails and made a number of phone calls, but at the end of our campaign we came up way short. Some of the people who turned us down were very positive, offering to connect us with other potential investors and producing partners. Others turned us down outright. Others never responded to our query. All responses (or lack of responses) were to be expected.
But I’m not depressed about it. We’ve heard it all before. “Failure is part of the path to success.” “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” And my favorite, from the Book of Curly: “If at first you don’t succeed…” Well, check it out for yourself.
Okay, so maybe I’m a little depressed about it. I wanted to spend the month of December buried in pre-production, then kick of the year by shooting a movie. A challenging but successful three weeks, then a few months editing, some placement in big film festivals, then world domination.
So what now? Crawl under a rock until the holidays are over? Bury myself in other work? Write a new script?
Yes to all of these, but this doesn’t mean abandon Closure. In fact, Beau, Catia and I have a new plan and a timeline to make it happen:
Step one: Revise the budget and script. Beau will create a lower budget version, which will involve fewer crew members, lower pay for the actors (with a lower budget, we can utilize a contract with SAG/AFTRA that allows for lower pay), and fewer shoot days. To help get the budget down, I will attack the script with a sharp scalpel, cutting out characters that may only have a few lines, and assign the important details those characters provide to larger characters. Also, I will cut out locations that may be too expensive (do I really need that restaurant scene?) and generally make this script easier to shoot from a production standpoint. When: December 2016
Step two: Reach out to investors again. If our investors were willing to be on board with a larger budget, surely they will come on board with a much smaller budget. There are certainly advantages (and a few disadvantages) to this type of investment. Hopefully they will come through with the same amount, or maybe slightly more. When: First week of January 2017.
Step three: Launch crowdfunding campaign. Hopefully we can get all we need from investors, but if we need to bridge the gap we are prepared to crowdsource. I have never actually created a crowdsourcing campaign, so hopefully people out there will respond positively. The hard part is that crowdfunding is a big job. Many hours a day go into a successful campaign, and it will be a challenge to find the time between production work on the movie, my other projects, and… well, raising a two-year old. When: Launch last week of January 2017.
Step four: Make the movie! With funding in place, all that’s left to do is finalize every detail before we shoot. Locations, casting, crew hires, props, set, wardrobe, lighting, sound, etc… all this need to be done in advance of the shoot. But we feel we can get everything done prior to shooting. When: Start shooting mid-March, for two weeks.
Ambitious? Certainly. Possible? Definitely. The best way to overcome failure is to not let failure stop you. Keep going. And so we will.
Until then, thanks for reading this blog, have a very happy holidays with those close to you, and stay tuned for more success regarding Closure in 2017.