GADZOOK FILMS Producing independent film in Seattle, Los Angeles and beyond.


Insert flippant “Insert witty line here” here

Hallo! Whew, some actual time to post. My dayjob has been very, very busy. For about a week every month I'm swamped with stuff because of our month-end reconciliations. Anyway, for now I'm fairly caught up. Though if you look at my workload you'll see I've still got about 10 items on my to-do list. *sigh*

So some of you have demanded info about what I'm doing with "Plight of the Living Dead". In an effort to satisfy your thirst for knowledge I'll try to encapsulate succinctly all that we've got going on. So in a few months you can check back in and see if I was successful or not. I'll present this as a list just to aid in reading. It's not necessarily in production order - meaning not in the order I intend to do them in - but it should serve as a good guide. Mind you, all of this is untested by me. It's info I've gathered through talking with other filmmakers, reading and generally getting my butt out there and learning.

1) Developing contacts. This is something I'm continually working on. I know most of the filmmakers in Seattle. I may not know them well, but I know them or have heard of them. I think it's safe to assume I have some fairly biased preconceived notions on many of them, which isn't fair to them (though sometimes it is!), but generally my notions have been proven true. Still, there's a whole slew of people I have never spoken with that I'm trying to talk to or develop a relationship with. Carl Spence, James Keblas, Lance Rosen - these are guys I know of, maybe even spoken to once or twice, but really don't know all that well. Ideally I'd like to talk to filmmakers who've produced AND distributed their films using concepts I'm toying with. I'm not looking for filmmakers who self-distributed (though the concept fascinates me and I usually have the utmost respect for them), or who are sitting waiting for distribution to come to them. I am talking (or someone on the team is talking) to a publicist, a sales agent, a moderately-sized name actor, Hollywood producers and the occassional investment contact. Mostly these folks say hello, tell me about your project and then I never hear from them again. Sometimes they'll come back with a "like the script, don't have time now" which I can take as either a polite way of saying "fuck off" or they may actually be interested but shy because we have no money. Anyway, to me this is exciting. Even just chatting with these people briefly, regardless of their ability or inclination to work on our project, yields great information.

2) Creating a business proposal. I've gone back and forth on this but it looks like I'll need to create something. We're forming an LLC now (was sole-proprietor before). The state has made it easy to form an LLC, you can pretty much do it entirely online. Things that confuse me are taxes and stuff. I don't want to get screwed paying double for anything. Hello... accountants? Anyone out there? Anyway the business proposal is pretty straight-forward. I just need to hunker down and write. It gets hard when I need to explain how we "intend to make the movie". Uh, with cameras? If you've ever written a successful business proposal I'd like to hear what you did.

3) Financing. Well, good news is we're in the black. Bad news is our balance is about $0. We're not going to be signing any actors anytime soon on that amount. The Catch-22 monster (any artists out there who can draw this beast? I picture a Push-Me-Pull-You type animal) rears its ugly head again. Of course we can't attach an actor without money. And I can make promises in the form of Pay-or-Play deals till the cows come home. But if I don't get that money, I will be forced to pay on my own - which would suck. And of course I can't get financing until I attach someone with street cred that proves we mean business to the financiers. Here's where my contact/networking list comes in handy. We haven't hit the jackpot yet with an understanding investor or actor, but we've made some dents.

That's essentially where I'm at right now. Working on a business plan, which means finishing a proposed shooting schedule and attaching some cast/crew (if possible), with hopes that I can then approach sales agents and investors with a straight face when I ask for money. It's quite daunting, considering the level of our budget and the fact that raising that much through investors alone is nearly impossible. *sigh* *again* Still, I've learned quite a bit in the last few months and if anything I've found that I'm exactly on the right track. Whatever that means. I assume it means in a few months I'll either have my budget or be another one of the struggling few. We happy few.



And the ball begins to roll... I spoke yesterday with a fellow who is passionate about films being made here in Seattle which of course I completely and unequivocally agreed with. While he can't assist me directly he promised to connect me to people that could. And connect he has done. The proverbial ball is in their court now. They have the logline for "Plight" and a recommendation from this fellow, and really why not help? Right?

I move in to the new office on Tuesday of next week. I'm excited for many reasons, not least of which is that now half my shit can sit in my office instead of taking up valuable floor space at the apartment. But I'm probably more excited because I'll finally be able to bring in an intern to help me compile the vast amounts of tapes I have! It'll be an editorial internship which I'll post on my site and through other outlets in the very near future. Mainly cataloging, capturing and some light editing. Will be fun!

We're gearing up to shoot another exciting project in the next couple of weeks. More on that soon.


We’re a movin’ on up!

This made me smile: Choral Nintendo Themes.

Aside from that, birthday was great, currently nursing a sore throat, waiting to hear back from some agents in LA and otherwise probably divulging far too much information about my production than I should. Aren't I a stinker? Ah well, that's how I run things. Smelly.



Breakdown, shakedown

Katrina update: my family in the area is safe and sound, little to no damage. Thanks for the well wishes. I won't get into the whole political thing again - I will still urge you to donate to the Red Cross or if you're in the area to volunteer time, donate clothes, etc. Every little bit helps.

Now that we have a completed script, I've begun breaking it down to rough out a schedule. With this schedule I should be able to finalize a budget (although at this point it's merely finessing the earlier temp budget). I've never broken down a script before but it's all fairly logical and straightforward. It ain't rocket science. I keep forgetting exactly how logical production management can be. It's one of those nebulous things that when you initially look at it it looks too complex and overwhelming. But the more you think about it everything fits perfectly and you really can't do one thing without doing another. It's probably one of the only things in this business that makes sense to me.

I've made some contacts and received some more advice. At this point working with a professional production manager is out of the question, unfortunately. I don't necessarily WANT to do this breakdown and budget myself, but in order to save $5-6000 I'll happily comply. :) I also spoke with a casting director I've had the pleasure of reading for once upon a time and he gave some sage words regarding finding talent on a limited budget. He confirmed though, that any budget under $1million is going to be looked at as too amateur for most agencies to even consider. We'd need to lock a million dollar budget - or at least state that we had such. Heh. Hollywood.

At this stage in the game though, my trip to LA is well... unplanned. I have oodles of friends to see, of course. The premiere of Serenity to see with whomever will see it with me. But I hope I can get some meetings with folks. We'll see.


Keep on truckin’

And the beat goes on. Movin' right along. Ya know, all those phrases for keepin' goin' in this world. That's what we're doing. And right now, all my co-workers are enjoying yogurt parfaits in another section so I figured it'd be a good opportunity to recap things that are going on here-wise.

I bought my plane tickets to LA. Any LA friends reading this, get ready! We're flying down - that's me, Jessica and Faye - on September 23rd, arriving around 11PM. We'll hopefully meet up with Jacob who'll have his car and we'll go from there. We will all be attending Shriekfest over the weekend to support Snow Day, Bloody Snow Day. If you're in LA, come on out. I wish their website were updated, but alas... While most of them will just be spending the weekend there, I will be spending TWO weeks in Hell-A.

Why, you ask? I've got stars to meet, dammit! Seriously though, I've got to hand off scripts and ideas to some agencies and hopefully they'll let me in the door and pitch our idea to their clients. We're trying to attach some name actor(s) to our feature in order to aid with financing and help with selling the movie and hopefully, just get someone kick-ass in a role. Lloyd Kaufman has already expressed interest. 🙂 If any of you have some connections down in LA, now's the time to speak up. I'll send out a similar plea in a couple weeks as we near our trip deadline.

The script went through script coverage (check!) and came out even better. The dyamic Tangent duo is working on rewrites which are strengthening an already hilarious script. By the end of August we should have a finished script. Which means I can begin finalizing a budget draft. Which means I can plug that in to our business plan and we can bring that to actors and investors and hopefully get a budget pulled together ASAP! We're lookin' to start shooting in Spring of '07.

Beyond all that fun stuff, I'm still working, still slogging away at the day job. It's become more difficult of late since I have a lot of development meetings I need to schedule, a lot of phone-calls to mucky-mucks and the like I need to take care of... no time! I'll probably be staying at my job at least through February to help defray the costs of going to Park City in January. We shall see.

Oh, and I apologize for the videos being down on the site. We're working on it!