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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Monsters in the Woods FLASHBACK: What Was I Thinking?

One of the producers of Monsters in the Woods wrote this last year.

I’ve been involved in the film industry for many years. Over a varied and eclectic career, I’ve worked on a number of projects as an Actor, Writer, and Producer. As a Producer, the projects I’ve been involved with received financing mostly through outside sources, either through investors, banks, etc. Most recently, though, I did something I never thought I would ever do. I got involved in co-financing a movie. Now let’s get real here. I am neither wealthy, nor financially well off. What I did get was a few grand from an inheritance, and I do mean ‘few’.
While I was contemplating what to do with the extra funds, I read an article from an independent filmmaker’s blog whose subject was “Making and Releasing The Micro-Budget Indie”, and one of the respondents to the blog had this to say: “The micro-budget feature is probably most functional in the hands of an experienced producer. Those of us attempting to break in from the outside with a 10k comedy are in an uphill battle. Folks who have made a few movies, and have the requisite connects and experience, could probably make a very profitable micro-budget piece. The tech is there to make a movie look good for cheap. The two keys are to write a story that can entertain an audience without a huge SFX budget, and to have a way to get the film seen. The latter half of that equation is where experienced producers/writers have a real leg up. It would be a grand experiment to see a Hollywood veteran do a “made by hand” film and make it financially successful. That might really change some minds.”
Ok, made sense to me. But did I really want to put my money into something like this? I didn’t have a project that fit the mold. That is until I received a call from a friend who said another friend of ours was going to make a micro-budget creature feature and he needed a “few grand” to make it happen. Weird, huh? What timing! I had known this young writer/director for a few years and had watched his career carefully. He had already made a few micro-budget horror movies, one of which had very good critical acclaim. So, I knew he had the know-how and experience to make another good horror movie. I was also familiar with his writing skills, as I had read some of his bigger budgeted scripts. He is an excellent writer. So, when he sent me the script for his creature feature, I couldn’t wait to read it. I wasn’t disappointed. It was scary, action filled, had a lot of emotion, and the dialogue was witty. “What a clever project”, I thought. And I was convinced, I wanted to be involved.
I Just Want To Invest And Then I’m Going On Vacation… What Could Go Wrong?
I think the first thing I said to both the writer/director and his young producing partner was, “I have enough to cover the costs of your five day shoot”. (Did I say five days?) Well, I was assured that the movie was already in production, was being shot ‘guerrilla’, with everyone on board (Producers, actors, and crew) all gung-ho and raring to go! All they truly needed were the finishing funds. I told them I think they have a fun project, and if the production turns out anything like the script, we would have a very marketable movie. I shook their hands, handed them their first check, and accepted the role as Executive Producer. “I think you guys have a good plan for production. It’s too bad I won’t be there for the first part of the shoot as I’m going on a long planned vacation, and since I haven’t had one for years, I can’t cancel now. So, I’m leaving you with great confidence that everything that we have discussed will come to fruition, and you shouldn’t have any problems.” I walked away confident that within a couple of weeks we would have wrapped principal photography by the time I returned from vacation.After all, what could go wrong?

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