Wednesday, December 22, 2010

How NOT to Raise $ For a Film

I've seen these 2 ads on Craig's List & I feel a rant coming on.

First off is this one:

Feature-Length Movie (w/Emmy-Talent) Seeks Actor/Actress/Co-Producer
Date: 2010-12-22, 11:18AM EST
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

If you are an excellent actress/actor and fit the part, you can become involved w/award-winning talent. Our last movie nearing completion includes work from "the next George Lucas" stated by ABC World News Tonight, artist which directed a feature movie for Harvey Wienstein(Exec Prod of Kill Bill, Lord of the Ring) and musical talent with platinum-album work & hits for Beyounce and Christina Aguilara.

Do you want to be part of our next full-feature movie w/a screenplay by an Emmy-Award winning writer? You must be able to co-produce with us by contributing as little as $2,400 (a small amount overall budget).

Please send headshot & write in email " Yes I can act. Also, I want to possibly be a co-producer."

This is not an offer or a solicitation. This is an audition notice to actors/actresses.

* it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
* Compensation: no pay

PostingID: 2125363536

I remember going onto either the SAG or AFTRA website recently & reading that it's a violation of union rules to make your actors bankroll their own project. It's one thing if someone volunteers to do it but this clearly makes funding a requirement.

So, I wrote this initial response:

I do hope you're NOT asking actors to invest money. I know for a fact it's against SAG rules & you're not making any friends by being a classist jerk. There's lots of talented people in the world who aren't millionaires & don't have thousands of dollars to invest money. Are you going to start charging crew people or act entitled to freebies from professionals offering expensive services?

Find your investors separately like you're supposed to. How about crowd funding on a fundraising website? Those are better options than getting in trouble w/SAG or making actors spend money to work with you. I have a bad taste in my mouth just reading this ad & I know a thing or two about the industry.

Today, it occurred to me that's another very good reason why you don't want to do this. It has to do with a basic principle of securities law & is something that anyone who's worked w/a knowledgeable lawyer knows about. I'm not revealing it here since I don't give free legal advice; go ask your knowledgeable attorney.

You also know that people asking for this sort of thing will also act entitled to free editing services, music composition, legal help, art design, etc. All things that cost money if you want it done correctly (unless, of course, you've got friends who like you).

So, when I saw the same ad AGAIN, I decided to respond in this way:

Subject: Yes I can act. NO, I don't want to be extorted for money b/c you're too lazy to follow securities law.

More evidence that you're full of crap: clearly you don't know beans about securities law & classes of investors.

No sane filmmaker would EVER suggest that actors fund their own project unless that actor was super-rich. But then again, why would an actor who had the money to fund a project pay to work for someone??? They could form their OWN company & do their OWN project where THEY had the final say. That's what famous actors do.

Again, if you're such a big shot, why are you posting such ridiculousness??? You should have a competent attorney who'd tell you exactly why it's career suicide to cast for projects in this manner. Otherwise, you're just a scam artist who should be outed & blacklisted to the industry.

I can't wait to see what these dodos have to say for themselves. No credible filmmaker I know would EVER do this since they want talented people, not rich people, acting in their projects. If you are an actor with both, again you could do it by yourself or ask your friends. No need for you to bother w/morons like this who will bring you down & ruin your reputation.

Just got a notation saying this ad was no longer active. Thank God!

Here's ad #2:

Actor With Investor Contacts (Downtown)
Date: 2010-12-21, 10:26PM EST
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

A feature film with famous talent attached is looking for an actor can raise the remaining capital. A limited amount needs to be raised. The actor will receive a principal role and percentage of the film.

* it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
* Compensation: TBD

PostingID: 2124843936

A little less offensive, but still makes no sense. I had to write this response:

I certainly hope you aren't attempting to get an actor to pay for the project out of pocket. That's not only stupid under securities law but violates union rules.

How about doing your OWN work to find investors since if an actor had investor money, why wouldn't that person just find their own people, work w/their friends or create their own company w/any number of projects they could star in??

Or how about getting your "famous talent" to find investors? Shouldn't THEY know rich people? If they want to make the project happen, they might be motivated to make some effort.

I think it's a very fair question. We didn't have famous people in our early works & we didn't demand our actors to fund it. Nor did we base casting decisions on who had a sugar daddy/mommy. My sorority didn't even base membership decisions on people's net worth or connections; we considered things like having to be around the person all the time & how that person would represent our group.

I know it gets done but in the scenarios I know of, the actor w/the sugar daddy (usually this was a woman) already established that she had talent & wouldn't ruin a project. It was more of a bonus to working w/someone who had talent than an exercise in seeking out some bored rich kid w/no acting chops. Some people will call themselves "actors" even if they are unconvincing, behave like divas & make audiences want to throw rotten tomatoes at them.

Again, if you had the money to fund films, why not make your own project & work w/your friends? You'd get the final say, could work w/whoever you wanted + be the master of your artistic integrity.

So, actors don't fall for this crap. Real filmmakers who people want to work with & who will produce quality work cast based on talent.

Access to money will speed things up & it might help your chances if the selection is close but sane people don't go on these hunts. They look for investors separately & wouldn't put someone's boy/girl toy in the lead w/out an audition or at least a decent resume proving the person has real talent.

At the end of the day, everyone has their reputation to consider.

No comments:

Post a Comment