Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Funding a horror movie project is not for the faint of heart!

I want to pick up where I left off on this SKINWALKERS movie thing. There have been a lot of changes since the last update, one of them being a name change to THEY WHO WALK AMONG US.

In case you forgot, here's the logline for the story: A young music star is forced to use her clairvoyant gifts to save her teenage sister from an ancient supernatural force that is terrorizing their North Carolina home town.
The reason for this name change is that the SKINWALKERS name had already been used by several movies and TV shows. The new name is based on the same Navajo mythology—He who walks among us on all fours—is basically the English translation of "yee naaldooshii," or Skinwalker. We just tweaked it a little to fit the story.
With the last post, I talked about filming here in my hometown, where the true events took place. Unfortunately, that's no longer feasible, for a host of reasons, not the least of which are the loss of the tax incentives for movie makers in North Carolina. Hopefully we will get those back in the future.
When I first wrote the screenplay, I had figured on a budget of no more than $500,000, which is still a hell of a lot of money, but is considered a low budget for a film. With all of the entities now involved in this project, that budget has ballooned all the way up to $4 million, and deflated all the way down to $300,000. Now it is pretty solidly settled somewhere in the middle.
Getting there, however, has been quite the roller coaster ride. Back in Feb. 2017, I had just hooked up with Billy Lewis of Orange Street Films and we were deep into the process of making the script as good as it could possibly be.

Enter producer Jonathan Landau (no, not the guy who produced Titanic!) who had helped Billy produce his latest film, THE TERRIBLE TWO. Once I had incorporated the changes that Billy asked for in the screenplay, Jon jumped on board and helped hone it even more. We worked on it for a solid six months, got coverage from a couple of Hollywood producers and eventually said, "Okay, it's done!" At least for now.
This being my second screenplay, I have learned that nothing is ever really 100% done. Other producers will request changes, actors will have input, even distributors will want to add or remove things from the script.
First we had to incorporate, which meant getting a lawyer, filling out lots of papers, and agreeing on who would do what.
Once that was done, we all three made phone calls to various people, Jon and Billy to their business connections, and me to...well, anyone who would listen. We eventually teamed up with another producer named Reid Doyle, who played one of the leads in THE TERRIBLE TWO, and a couple of production companies based in Raleigh, who really loved the screenplay.

Then, it was time to find the money.
We have managed to get a great actor on board, Jesse C. Boyd, who stars in the hit TV Series "Day 5," and an amazing special effects make-up guy named Damian Fisher, who has worked on movies like "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," "Suicide Squad," "Captain America: Civil War," "Ant Man," "Jurassic World" and more.
One of the first ways we raised money was through a Go Fund Me campaign. We ended up raising over $5,000 through that, plus another $5,000 from a private investor, which really helped get the ball rolling.
We have basically spent the last year making phone calls, taking people to dinner, doing fundraisers, sending emails - anything we can to help fund this movie. Jon, Billy and Reid even drove down to Elizabeth City from Wilmington to do a private showing of their new film, THE TERRIBLE TWO, where we met up with one of our executive producers/investors, my band-mate and friend, Barret Kidd. We had a great time!
So now, here we are a year later, on the verge of finalizing our budget and beginning pre-production, which I will be blogging about in the coming weeks and months ahead. Stay tuned!