12-09-25 Pre-Production

    I had to go back and check to see when the last entry was. I’ve been CRAZY busy the last few days, and each night I’ve come back to bed exhausted.

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    Thursday night was amazing. The guy I’ve been referring to as “Producer” signed on to Consulting Produce TRK. His name is Miles Maker. He’s been doing some background social media stuff for some major independent movies this last year. I think I mentioned that before. Anyway, he signed on. Even before he signed on, he gave me great advice that will save me thousands of dollars and weeks of headache.

    Now that he’s official, it’s even more. Ideas are flowing. We’re brainstorming, even talking about international pre-sales. Admittedly, I’ve got some reluctance on those simply because I’ve heard a lot of horror stories. Still, it’s awesome just to be having those kinds of conversations.

    Miles brought up a question: who exactly is my target market? This got me to really think about the writing in the script, how technical it is; who can understand the jargon; is the pacing perfect for a thriller; is it written for as broad an audience as possible while still maintaining its own integrity?

    Those questions really scared me. It makes me wonder if I’ve actually got the script where it needs to be and if not, whether I’m capable of getting it where it needs to be. On top of that, and even a bit worse, is how can I reach people for the Kickstarter campaign.

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    After leaving the meeting with Miles, I went to the actors’s showcase I’ve been attending, looking to cast more roles. I didn’t find everyone I was looking for, but there’s a chance I may have found someone. I can’t say what role it’s for, nor who the actor is, but he’s someone I’ve had my eye on for a while. He’s consistently one of the best at the entire showcase. We set up a meeting for this Friday.

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    Saturday morning I met with the amazing producer John Paul Rice. I originally wanted to get him to sign up to help me with my Kickstarter, but he gave me advice, which, in this case, is considerably more valuable. He told me how to approach people I want interviews for. He told me I wasn’t ready to start my Kickstarter campaign because I didn’t have the things I needed already, that I hadn’t contacted the media outlets, and that to do it right, I would need to start reaching out to people about two months prior.

    That conversation was incredibly helpful. John is very well informed and knows exactly what he’s talking about. 

    It sent me into an emotional tailspin.

    I’d been planning on having finished shooing TRK by the end of the year to avoid paying income tax on whatever I might raise with the Kickstarter campaign. Now, with the new schedule, based on John’s advice, that’s not going to happen.

    Even worse, I now knew exactly how big the things I’m hoping for are. They’re not something I can just call up and ask for. They are huge, and hard to get, and there are a bunch of people in the way to make sure that they remain that way. So, the weekend was bad.

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    Monday was bad. I didn’t accomplish anything.

    And then I found out about the World of Warcraft release of Mists of Pandaria. And, that Felicia Day would be there, and that Michele Morrow would be there. It started at 9:00pm. I got there an hour early. Michele arrived a little later. She had just gotten surgery less than a week before, so I was shocked to see her up and walking around. But, she told me she had to do it. So, I took it upon myself to help her carry things. As it turned out this was a good thing, and not only because it helped Michele, and it did. It also put me in touch with Felicia Day. I asked her what the best way to get in touch with her is. 

    She pointed me to her agent.

    I don’t work with agents. I mean, if the actor and I already have an arrangement and then I need to interact with the agent on a contract or something, sure, I’ll do that. But, I’m not going to allow them to be the first point of access. So, no Felicia Day. It’s not that she was mean or anything. Quite the contrary. She’s a nice and approachable person. I couldn’t imagine how she could be more pleasant.

    Who knows? Maybe I’m just being stubborn.

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    And that brings us to today… which was awesome.

    The first meeting was at noon, with my younger brother James. He’s the one who owns and runs an advertising agency. Imagine if Don Draper was better looking, more charming, and better at everything, and not immoral. That’s James. Anyway, James agreed to give me some advice, brainstorm with me about how to go public with TRK. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have much experience with movies, and even less so with the computer programming/geek community. Even so, he gave me some good metrics. And, I’ll bet that by the time we’re done talking, he’ll be an expert at movie advertising as well.

    Next was a meeting with my older brother, Paul. Fortunately, he works in the same office as James, so I didn’t have to go to far. Paul wanted my thoughts on a book idea he has. I told him the wretched state of modern publishing, that without a platform (lecturer, Ph.D., religious leader) the likelihood of getting a publishing company interested is very low.

    After that, I chatted with Lucas McNelly, of A Year Without Rent fame. He now consults for crowdfunding campaigns. He’s got this massive database of statistics of anything you’d want to know about how to, and how not to, run a campaign. So, he and I chatted about that. We came to the conclusion that, rather than attempting to target males, 18-24, which is what the data from James suggested, that I try instead to target the computer programming community. They are well-informed, influential and well-funded. And, they’re much easier to find and interact with than the aforementioned and highly-sought-after group.

    Then I asked Lucas if he wants to be 1st Assistant Director. He seemed interested, if his schedule permits. 

    Finally, I chatted with Miles about my chats with James and Lucas, and about the possibility of him raising production money my pre-selling TRK in other countries at the American Film Market. I have to admit I was initially resistant because I don’t want some company in Turkey suing people who torrent a movie about computer hackers. It would really decrease my credibility. And it’s just lame; asking for help from a specific group of people, then burning them after they’ve helped me. That’s not cool and it’s something I don’t want to do.

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    So, today was awesome enough to alleviate the emotional, but necessary, turmoil of the weekend.