Indie Open Mic Week: The Saving

Help teen Filmmaker MJ Slide attend The Seattle True Indepedent Film Fest for her debut short “THE SAVING” West Coast Premiere!

Our Story

It started with a dream more then a year ago. 17 year old self taught indie filmmaker MJ Slide decided she was going to make a film that spoke to the masses, one that addresses teen suicide and issues of life in death in a manner that was both captivating and realistic. And she was going to do create THE SAVING by learning everything from the ground up. A year later the film has completed and accepted into several national and international film festivals including STIFF (Seattle True Independent Film Festival). THE SAVING screening is schedule for June 10th and MJ would absolutely LOVE to attend IN PERSON to showcase her debut short’s West Coast Premiere. And I just so happen to be MJ Slide.

The Impact

The ability to be able to attend the film festival in person would open up AMAZING opportunities for networking and connecting with filmmakers from all over the world who will be screening their films alongside THE SAVING. Not to mention Seattle is a pretty fantastic city and offers experiences that are singular to the West Coast and the West Coast indie film industry. They’re just cool like that.

What We Need & What You Get

I’m looking for at least $500 to cover the bare minimum round trip flight for the weekend and PR supplies (posters, postcards, press kits) and general swag merch from THE SAVING to give out to all the awesome folks who will attending the festival. Room and board has been taken care of thanks to the generosity of my friends/family opening up their home for the weekend. What can I promise you in return? Some of that amazing swag of course!

Copies of THE SAVING DVD, + copies of other films that will be screening there, all in one awesome collection.

Personalized video messages expressing my thanks for all that you’ve done to make my dream possible,.

Access to a backer only blog with videos and photos from my time in Seattle and all experiences and memories I plan on making there updated every day while I’m conquering the West Coast.

And a whole lot more!

Missed timing opportunity

I still think it’s a shame Marvel/Paramount isn’t releasing Thor on Thursday of next week. I know that only about 250 people in the country would find it funny and most of them would be professors of ancient mythology but it would still be totally worth it.

Indie Open Mic Week: Suing the Devil

What’s the Movie Called? Suing the Devil

Who’s In It? Malcolm McDowell, Rebecca St. James, Shannen Fields, Tom Sizemore, Corbein Bernsen, Ros Gentle

Why Did You Make It? We made the film to show the spiritual battle we face against the enemy (Satan). The film is about a guy who sues the devil for $8 trillion dollars and the devil, played by legendary actor Malcolm McDowell, shows up to defend himself. He sues him for jerks, gas prices, cancer, airport security, noise pollution, and even telemarketers!

How Did You Fund It? All private investors (thank God for them!). We shot the film in Sydney, Australia. Originally we were going to take advantage of the 40% rebate in Michigan, but both the director and producer felt nothing could quite duplicate Sydney. We received no tax breaks from shooting in Australia, but it was worth it!

What Does the Marketing Look Like? There’s a poster, trailer, website and Facebook page.

When Is It Being Released? In theaters nationwide on August 26; we’ve already screened the film at the Berlin Film Fest to much success in February.

Indie Open Mic Week: TILT

What’s the Movie Called? TILT

Who’s In It? CAST: Wade Dienert, Danielle West, Andrew Lindsay, Laura Busch, David Vieths, Janet Fogg, Robin Whitt; CREW: Director/Producer – Phil Holbrook; Writers/Producers – Jessica King & Julie Keck; Cinematographer/Editor – Jeremy Doyle; Sound – Josh Hemsworth; Original Music – Bill Finn

Why Did You Make the Movie? Phil, Jeremy, Julie & Jessica had all made short films but none felt ready to embark on a feature alone. So…time for collaboration! The movie started with a nightmare Phil had several years ago. He pitched his basic idea to Julie & Jessica after he met them on Twitter and saw some of their shorts. Then Julie & Jessica expanded the idea into TILT. The first draft of the movie was written by April; revisions occurred throughout the summer, while Phil secured locations and took care of casting; and production occurred during 9 long, sleepless days in September of 2010 in Brainerd, Minnesota. The movie is currently being edited by cinematographer/editor Jeremy Doyle.

How Did You Fund It? The TILT team ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for $15k in the summer of 2010. While TILT itself is a thriller, they took a more comical approach to their audience building. The essentials of the campaign included a kick-ass pitch video, video updates (“Coffee with Phil”), TILT team reenacted movie scenes for backers who contributed at a certain level, and a lot, a lot, a lot of Twitter and Facebook interaction. The campaign also included interviews on LA Talk Radio’s Film Courage, The Cutting Room Floor with Casey Ryan (interviews 21, 24 & 61), and Dave Charest’s “Wicked Smaht.” In the final days of the campaign, TILT was featured on Kickstarter’s home page and selected by Film Threat as a “Certified Film Threat in Progress.”

One element that really set the TILT campaign apart from the rest was TILTtheTown, an online virtual community set up on Google Maps in which every TILT backer who contributed $15 or more got his/her own kooky bio. There are over 220 fake bios in TILTtheTown, and all of the TILTtheTown resident stories are interwoven. In TILTtheTown you’ll find romances, rivalries, kind cat burglars, beloved bank robbers, roving troubadours, underwater casinos, ice hotels, and adult amusement parks, as well as clues to the characters and events of the movie TILT. On the TILTtheTown map, the backer bios include links to the backers’ real-life Twitter accounts and websites (as applicable), so those trekking through TILTtheTown can find out about some of the real people who helped us make the movie. There’s also a storybook version of TILTtheTown in which the backer stories are connected with hyperlinks to provide a smooth (and fun) viewing experience. TILTtheTown generated A LOT of backer-driven Twitter interaction, and many people said they donated to the campaign just to get into the town. Behold – the power of (supportive) people!

Some real-life connections occurred as a result of TILTtheTown. In our ‘town,’ we made TILT backer Paul Barrett a garden gnome loving mayor and pitted him against garden gnome hating HOA president Justin W. Hedges. Both Paul and Justin went to town playing with their TILTtheTown roles on Twitter, and eventually they became friends. Now Paul, a producer, has optioned one of Justin’s screenplays. Real success as a result of a virtual rivalry. Our secret dream is that two TILT backers will find real life love as a result of TILTtheTown. Still working on that one…

What Does the Marketing Look Like? The TILT trailer created by Jeremy Doyle has already played at Flyway Film Festival (secret audience reaction video here) and the Chicago premiere for Jim Vendiola’s DRIFT.  Next it’ll play at the preview screening for 5414 Production’s “A Second Knock at the Door” on 4/29.  Four versions of the TILT poster were created by Jessica King.  And what indie movie would be complete without its own indie brew?  Brainerd Lakes Beer Company created a TILTed T-Ale especially for TILT; it debuted at Egofest in March of 2011, where three sneak peek scenes from TILT were shown.

Our team is active on Twitter and Facebook. We maintain a website, continue to give TILT backers updates on progress via Kickstarter, and were recently invited to be Project #19 in MUBI’s Garage.  We had a TILT production video blog (“The 9 Days of TILTness“)

Another way we grew our online audience was to ask for feedback on key elements of TILT via online polling on our TILT website. Friends and fans helped us pick our composer as well as some other indie features that will have cameos within TILT. This was a fun way to celebrate other people’s talents, whether they won the contest or not. This is how we found Bill Finn.

We also plan to release 4 TILT shorts while TILT is being edited. The first one, BETTY, focuses on a TILT side character who is short on screen time in TILT but big on sass. The four TILT shorts won’t be required viewing for the feature, but they’ll definitely bring a new level of understanding to the world of TILT.

When Is It Being Released? TILT will be finished this summer. We hope to premiere at a Midwestern festival to celebrate our Midwestern roots (Minnesota, Illinois), screen across the country (hello, NY and LA!), and then self-distribute using a hybrid plan that will include DVDs, digital downloads, and more.

Indie Open Mic Week: Conned

What’s the Movie Called? Conned

Who’s In It? Largely unknown cast/crew- full list is at IMDB.

Why Did You Make It? I wanted to make something that went against the grain- Boston was known primarily for churning out gritty, dreary gangster movie, so I decided to do a comedy-action, spoofing the gangster genre. Instead of being tough and dangerous, those gangsters were blowhards, scared of their own shadows, paranoid, and were in need of therapy.

How Did You Fund It? Took out a mortgage on my house, sold my car, and cashed out my
savings, and the rest with private investors.

What Does the Marketing Look Like? Please find the trailer at the website, plus we are on Facebook and Twitter.

When Is It Being Released? It hasn’t been distributed yet, we are still trying to get it into a
reputable festival. We keep getting rejected.

He Is Risen

He is risen indeed, halleluiah!!

What does “indie” mean?

Filmmaker Magazine has a good story on the psuedo-indie moves being made by large studios, some of which ring more true than others.

Will entertainment check-ins ever catch on?

With so many brands angling to sign partnerships with entertainment check-in service GetGlue it’s humbling to remember, according to an R/WW story, GetGlue only just recently crossed the one million user mark.

While usage is certainly on the rise I don’t think this or any other entertainment check-in app will truly break into the mainstream until one or both of two innovations occur: Either there’s some way to check into a physical location at the same time or there’s a connection made between the desire to see a movie and eventually seeing it.

The fact that GetGlue, which seems to be putting daylight between itself and its competitors, only now has gone over the 1M mark, is very much a case of the industry hype being outsized compared to actual usage statistics. So, as is usually the case in such instances, it’s important to be thinking about how to use it in the service of marketing efforts but to also not get caught up in the hype surrounding something that’s primarily used by early adopters.

What’s the future of commenting?

It’s hard to ignore the trend, as wonderfully articulated in this post by Khol Vinh, that the online publishing world has been moving away from long, thoughtful pieces followed by an interesting discussion either through comments on the original post or when someone else posts a rebuttal/addition/clarification on their own site. Now we have Likes, Reblogs, Retweets and other interactions that have a lower barrier to entry but which are also less meaningful and which add less value to the overall conversation.

Brian Oberkirch is talking about something similar as he goes through the reasons why something like Tumblr and how they’ve been designed to accentuate the positive by making it clear that whatever you do within those communities is going to be associated with your profile.

There’s a large debate going on right now surrounding the implementation of Facebook’s new commenting feature on news websites. The problem, some people say, is that Facebook requires you to use your real name and that having that hanging over their head would stop some people from truly expressing their opinions. That hasn’t stopped Facebook from moving past Google as the preferred third-party credentials users opt to log in to sites with, something that’s analogous to if not directly comparable to the idea of using those credentials to sign in and leave a comment on a new site.

Commenting will always be part of the social web. But it may – and already has to some extent – become less of a gauge of interactions than some of these other signals. It’s impossible to accurately predict, though, since things can shift very easily.

QOTD: 4/21/11

Terry Heaton on RSS:

There’s one major reason that media companies don’t play well with RSS: it’s a pull technology, while media is a world of push. With RSS, the user is the one making all the decisions. This is chaos to those used to control, which is why the concept is counterintuitive to mass media. This is an inertia barrier that we simply must get past, because RSS will take us forward into the world of unbundled media. while refusing simply holds us back.