Introducing the ‘I’d Like to Thank’ project

3 03 2011

Finishing up my Pride & Paradox TV miniseries has left little time for blogging. However, having put P&P to bed at least for the time being, has left a distinct gap in my life. As nature abhors a vacuum this is rapidly filled with me commencing work on a movie project set in the Queen Charlotte Islands or Haida Gawii to refer to it by its correct name. I ended up there 12 years ago and the sheer raw, wild, unspoiled beauty of the place had an profound effect on me.  The islands like other parts of the Pacific Northwest, Canada and Alaska have to be the last remaining parts of what John Dunbar, the Kevin Costner character in Dances with Wolves, referred to as the frontier he wished to see before it was gone.

Rich with both native and contemporary lore, the islands provided me with not just a visual backdrop, but the kind of story inspiration that can often only be found on the most remote fringes of civilization. For years I turned over an idea for a movie on my head. This was my ‘baby’ – the script I wanted to direct someday.  I had such a clear idea in my head of not just the story but how I wanted the film to look there was no way I would trust another director’s vision.

Sitting down the previous weekendfor what I thought would be a ten minute session to jot down a few scene headings and some plot points, three hours and twenty full blown pages of screenplay later, the idea has jumped fully formed from my head onto the page.  An idea whose time had come and which seems to be growing daily, characters, dialogue, camera angles, locations all competeing with each other to see which one can make the first take, uncut. A casting call of vowels, consonants, nouns, verbs and adjectives all racing to the ‘Roll Credits’.

Which of course brings me to the next problem. Funding. Project funding – epscially if I am to direct, has always been contingent upon a production credit from another project – like P&P.  Which hasn’t happened yet and even when it does it could be two to three years before the series goes to air. Seems like a long time to wait.

I outline the problem to my friend Clive. Great script but how to push it forward with me in the director’s chair while waiting for another sale. ‘So, how much do you estimate the film will cost to make?’ he asks.  Seeing as it’s lo-budget, only requires the bare minimum of special effects  and I’m looking at character actors and would even waive my director’s fee and live off my per diems to get it made, I’ve estimated just under $2 million. Thanks tothe advent of  digital there’s no more expensive shooting on film therefore no processing costs which in the past you needed a distribution guarantee to fund. Nowadays more and more filmmakers are shooting without a distribution guarantee in place and are entering the final film in festivals and then getting their distribution and release prints.

‘If one million people gave you two dollars you  could go make it,’ Clive points out. ‘That’s less than the cost of a cup of coffee.’ I tell him I can do the math. ‘If they put in more its even less,’ he adds helpfully. ‘You might not need a million people putting in two bucks. If everybody put in five bucks all you’d need is 400,000.’

400,000? That’s ALL? I’m looking sceptical. ‘Don’t you think if it were THAT easy people would have done it?’

‘Why not? Everybody loves the movies. Anybody would like to sit there and say ‘I funded that’ even in a tiny part. What? You don’t think people would like you enough to give you two bucks, five bucks or even ten? It’s like The Producers – only it’s actually a great idea.’

Yeah, a great idea. A lot of people to thank at an acceptance speech however.

‘Here’s what you do. You create the world’s biggest ‘I’d like to thank’ list on-line. Everybody who contributes gets a credit and they can link to you. You can create them a special logo or something to say they were part of it which they can post. Use it as a social media experiment – see how many people even people who don’t know you will do it for the hell of it. You may be surprised and what’s the worst that can happen? You might not get full production funding but you could end up with development money and a hell of a lot of people who are invested in seeing the film get made – which you could then use as leverage to get the rest of the finance.’

Hmmm. Have to admit the idea has merit.  So, here is is. I am going to create the world’s biggest ‘I’d Like to Thank’ list. Target, one million people or however many it takes to raise two million dollars. In return you will be thanked on the blog, you can link to me and I’ll send you a personal thank-you email and a logo. I will also keep you informed of how the fundraising and then, if I hit my target, how the actual film progresses. It would be a world first.

The title of the film is True North.

Wanna help me make a movie? Okay. Send your donations via PayPal to whalewriter@gmail.com

Let’s see how quickly if at all, I can report here that I have donations. Who wants to be the first? Am I worth $2.00?

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