Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What's in a "Name?"

The Holy Grail for micro-budget productions is securing a “name” actor. (An actor who with enough recognition to get the movie financed, sold and making money) The actor certainly doesn’t have to be Brad Pitt or someone of his ilk, just someone who the intended audience will recognize, giving the movie legitimacy. As far as distribution goes it also helps if this actor has appeared in or headlined other flicks that have made that distributor money in the past. Many times filmmakers seek out actors that were once big and have faded from the public eye a bit. Actors like C. Thomas Howell, Michael Madsen, Glen Plummer, Lance Henerickson, ect.. may not appear in as many A list projects as they used to, but they still continue to work steady and by simply appearing for up to 15 minutes in a micro-budget production, they can give that movie the legitimacy that it might otherwise be lacking. Having an actor like this in a micro can almost guarantee distribution of some sort. If the movie is otherwise marketable and the costs are low, it’s a pretty safe bet that the movie will make money. Most people would be surprised at how little money it takes to get a known actor for a day or two of work, depending on the timing and project. It also helps to be friends or know someone who is.

I bring this up, because yesterday “Monsters in the Woods” secured such an actor. This is a really big deal for our little movie. We already have a very marketable script, written and aimed for a specific audience. Distributors are already interested and this is with no knowledge of our “name.” No footage as even been shot yet. It’s taken me five years and 3 three movies, but I think I’ve finally figured out how to make money at this. Not owning an Island kind of money, but enough to make a modest living without a day job to supplement income and benefits.

When the contracts are finalized, I’ll “name the name.” But there are still a lot of things that could go wrong, and we could still potentially lose our “name.” Either way it’s an exciting time for me and I fully expect “Monsters in the Woods” to be a success.


  1. Well congrats man.

    I know how you feel about wanting to quit the day job thingy... so I am right there with you. I am two movies in, about to start a third and it will be 5 years May 2011, and by then I will already be filming the third movie.

  2. Thanks Gary, I've actually been following your work. Looking forward to Deadlands 2. I really enjoyed reading your back and forth on the IMDB message boards.

    Some of those cats are crazy.

    We just gotta keep plugging away. I talked to a director the other day that just got his first budget production in the can and picked up by Fox Searchlight. He had directed a dozen micro's before he got his shot.

  3. Nice article.

    I have written an article on Monsters in the Woods which will publish tomorrow at 7:00am on 28DLA. If you can post that on your FB then bravo and I love exclusive casting stories;) -Mike

  4. cool, and you will be the first to get it. Promise.