Sunday, February 5, 2017

Why I'm making a movie in Elizabeth City

A lot of people have been asking me this: Why am I putting myself through the hell of trying to get my own movie funded?  Well, the answer is simple: I want to give back to my community. They have supported my books and my music endeavors over the last 20 years, so I figured, hey, let's do something that will benefit them as well as me.

I have been trying to sell screenplays for the last couple of years. My first one required a budget that was much too big for any Hollywood types to get behind, and going indie was out of the question because it couldn't be made well on an indie budget.

So I changed my tactics and wrote a screenplay that could be made on a smaller budget. Hence, my latest story, a supernatural mystery/thriller called SKINWALKER, based on an actual event that happened right here in my town over 100 years ago.

As of this moment I have a wonderful director, Billy Lewis, and a production company, Orange St. Films, on board, as well as the local arts council and several business owners.

Many people have offered their businesses and homes as locations for the film, and this town is ripe with people who love the performing arts - there are three different theatre groups in Elizabeth City alone, and even more in nearby towns. Elizabeth City is a beautiful waterfront community, perfect for filming a movie.

I have the screenplay, the production company, the arts council, local businesses - everyone is on board. But we still need the money!

I just ask that you go take a look at our Indiegogo page and check out the perks available to contributors at all levels - even just $5 gets your name mentioned in the film credits!

Please, help out your fellow thespians, your fellow citizens and help put Elizabeth City on the map by supporting its first full-length feature film! Click below for details!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

My leap into the film industry!

I wrote a screenplay. Then I re-wrote the screenplay. Then I re-wrote the re-write. When I finally got it where I wanted it, I began to send it off to film industry managers, agents and producers. I got a few bites. A lot of reads. But no offers. I even split it in half and made it into a pilot TV episode and a second episode. Any takers?


You would think that after eight successfully published books, someone would be interested in my screenplay, which was based on my most successful book.

Nope again.

Two years and over a hundred emails later, I said the heck with it. I'll write another screenplay, this one with a lower budget in mind, and get it made myself.

Fast forward to SKINWALKER, my latest movie project. 

SKINWALKER is based on the true story of a young woman who was murdered here in Elizabeth City back in 1901. Although her boyfriend was tried and convicted of the crime, it was on circumstantial evidence, and the case has been considered unsolved ever since. It has been said that her ghost haunts the house where she last lived. My screenplay is based on those two plot points - how did Nell really die, and is her ghost still in that house, unable to move on because of unanswered questions?

The answer I give in my screenplay is quite terrifying and based upon an actual legend. Which I think is totally awesome! But of course I would think that, because it's my screenplay.

So here I was with a screenplay and...well, what now? Since I was going the indie route, that meant I would have to do everything myself. 


Well, I managed to get all my books published, so I figured what the heck, maybe I can find a production company that would be willing to take this baby on.

That was when I discovered Billy Lewis and Orange St. Films. Billy is an amazing dude - screenwriter, producer, cinematographer, director - he does it all. He already has two movies in the can, the first one with actor C. Thomas Howell (THE JAILHOUSE) and the second one (THE TERRIBLE TWO) in the process of getting distribution.

So far, the process has been an amazing learning experience. Getting people interested in helping out is easy. Getting people to give up their hard-earned money to help fund the movie? Not so much.

If you would like to help make this dream a reality, support indie filmmaking and also get some great perks like  DVD with behind the scenes documentary, a signed copy of the screenplay, or even a part in the movie, please support our Indiegogo page!