Independent film can be a fickle friend.
It has the ability to strip you of any pride you may have or it can entice you with it's constant promises of endless glory. But this friend also has the distinction of needing something from you. It has to have something to keep it coming around or it will just say goodbye and kick sand in your face. It needs money, like that kid in high school who was always borrowing money for lunch but never paid you back, and you have to supply it or face the inevitable consequence: No money, No movie.
Every filmmaker has had to ask the question:

Where will I get the money to make my movie?

(author's footnote: This is the constant struggle and plight of being a filmmaker, unless of course you are wealthy to begin with and have lots of disposable income).

So, as I set out on my journey to fulfill a life long dream of being a constructor of celluloid magic I constantly ran into the issue of trying to find financing. So one of the ways I started getting money was just talking with friends, trying to make contacts. Pretty much selling myself and my product as something they would want to invest in. Of course this method can only yield so much revenue unless one of your friends is a guy named Steven Spielberg. I had to do something big. I needed an idea...

  • THE IDEA BEGINS TO BREATHE...

To really be great and do something someone will remember you have to be bold, inventive and even a little crazy. You have to find other ways to reach out to the audience and grab them by the throats. You need that idea that sticks with them and then you have to find a way to give that idea to them. But how? and who could help me? Then it hit me like a punch from Jason Voorhees: illicit the support of the fans. The people just like me. The people who: love going to watch horror movies, rent low budget gore fests, go to conventions to meet their favorite horror movie icons. This is where I could go to find the financing I needed. I just had to become part of the world of horror and independent film. I would become a voice they couldn't resist. One they had to at least recognize. So now it seemed all I needed was that great movie idea that would knock them on their asses. Fortunately, that idea came to me...


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The Deadbeats is a film that my friend Ross Howard and I co-created about a group of friends, in a final effort to save their beloved movie theater, decide to show a long lost film that is supposedly cursed called The Mask of Dellamorte. The friends soon discover the curse is real when the monsters of the film come to life and come after them. This begins an exciting supernatural adventure that will take the friends into a world filled with monsters, demons, zombies, werewolves, and a mysterious director who could hold the key to stopping it all. The friends must now ban together to stop the curse of the Mask of Dellamorte before it destroys their theater, the town, and maybe even the world.
The film is inspired by some of the films I grew up watching like The Monster Squad, the Goonies, and Stand by Me. We wanted to create a film that was original in its concept but also had a nostalgic feel to it. Something people of my age could relate to and think back on with a smile on their face. But we also had to find a way to generate interest from a new audience.It is from this point that I had to try and find out how to sell it. How was I going to get someone interested to give me the money to make the film? The_deadbeats.jpg

  • REACHING THE FANDOM

That is when the a class I was taking (introduction to fandom studies) gave me the idea to use the internet and fan sites and fandom as a whole to find what I needed. So I started reaching out to all the groups and sites I knew that supported and loved horror films and loved the idea of someone like myself trying to make a new and original movie. I spent hours, days, weeks, months becoming part of these groups. Joining chat groups, posting stuff in forums, trolling sites for any signs of horror, and even talking about films with people I have never met in my life. It was entering a whole new world and I was the alien species. But I had to struggle forward. It was my mission.
I had to get to know these people.
Become one of them.
Learn the secret handshake.
And then I could sell my idea.
I gauged the level of interest in the idea by being a part of the fandom of horror. It was in this fandom that I witnessed many people who loved all things horror including film but also books, television shows, magazines, and graphic novels. There was a plethora of followers and I had to know if they, my potential audience, was going to receive the idea. It is with this in-depth research and analysis that I was able to compile facts and figures and zone in on certain demographics and use that as a way to approach those select few that had the money. If they knew the idea had a following then there was a chance it could make them money. The people with the money always want to know if there are going to make a profit. They need to know their money isn’t being wasted. And if you are lucky, you might find someone who has the money but is also looking to support a project they believe in. I don't just mean something they believe will make money but something they think has the passion and the heart in all the right places. A movie that can really connect with people and make them remember why they loved going to the movies in the first place. I continued a tireless quest through the mazes of the internet fandom and tried to pluck out the knowledge that could help me in getting the film some attention or maybe even some money.

  • THE KNOWLEDGE IS THE POWER

Learn as much as you can. You need to find other films that have the same tone or a similar genre as the one you are trying to make. Take the time to research and ask the fans you have been interacting with what they like.
For example:
Comparables:
Shaun of the Dead- Budget: 3 million (est.) Box office: 30.5 million (worldwide)
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil- Budget: 140,000 (est.) Box office: 4 million (worldwide)
Paranormal Activity- Budget: 15,000 (est.) Box office: 193 million (worldwide)
Zombieland- Budget: 23 million (est.) Box office: 102 million (worldwide)
Piranha 3D- Budget: 24 million (est.) Box office: 85 million (worldwide)
Cabin in the Woods- Budget: 30 million (est.) Box Office: 16 million (as of April 17th 2012)
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Next look into the market of independent film. Learn what avenues you might take to support your film or market it to those who want to see the film. This can be an invaluable step because it can show the investors that there is a demand for this kind of film. This research can give you a great head start in showing your film is marketable.
Utilize multiple online funding sources to try and gain the necessary financing to complete the film. These sites include Indiegogo and Kickstarter. This will help to give your film an online presence before production has even started.
During production promote the film through various online and digital media including:
Facebook page
Twitter account
Tumblr page
Produce live feeds from the actual set to draw attention to the film by giving behind the scenes access to the film, maybe offer contests to allow fans to be a part of the movie, by either coming to the set or being an extra in the film. Involve your fans as much as you can.
After completion of the film start up a very diverse grass roots marketing campaign to draw local attention to the film. Doing multiple showings at local theaters. Flyers and word of mouth will help generate knowledge and a desire to see the film.
Simultaneously, submit the film to many film festivals. This will be the greatest asset in getting the film seen by many people. One of the best film festivals is South by Southwest (SXSW). It is a genre heavy film festival in Austin; TX that focuses on many different films but has been geared toward fan boys. A perfect outlet for a film of a horror, sci-fi, comedy variety. Also submit to many of the smaller film festivals that occur year round all over the United States.
During the festival circuit, strategically decide what film festivals to attend and promote the film by actually being present and putting a face to the production. This endeavor also allows you to get out there and actually speak one on one with industry professionals and insiders to hopefully garner distribution for the film.
Encompassing the whole process try to get the film mentioned,or if you're lucky, get it reviewed on various horror and film based websites like:
Bloody-disgusting.com
Dreadcentral.com
Horrorbid.com
Aintitcoolnews.com
Shocktilyoudrop.com
This can coincide with the film being in festivals, which will allow for maximum exposure. This is also beneficial because it will put the film out there on multiple levels and sites. This step can help in drawing attention to your idea or promoting your film if you have been able to to secure financing and have a final product.

  • THE END CREDITS

The fan is your best asset in this seemingly endless march toward independent film greatness. They can offer you so much insight into the world of whatever genre you are looking into. They know people you don't. They have ideas you never thought of before. Being able to have access to the minds of thousands of fans to help mold and shape your film or idea is the greatest tool an independent filmmaker can have. Besides these people will one day be your audience and in the end they will love that you made them part of the process! So I asked how can fandom help make an independent film get made well the answer is quite simple: It can do all the things you as an individual probably can't. It can reach the masses, generate buzz all over the internet, gather together hundreds of like-minded people to analyze and ponder your work, it can show an exuberance for a product that is so strong that people with money have to take notice and hell, it can even sell your movie.

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