When I worked on the American shoot of “Taken” with Liam Neeson, we had a full company of cast and crew. I assembled the same production team when I worked as a Unit Production Manager (DGA) on “Havoc” with Anne Hathaway and other films and even when working with the UPM on “American History X” with Edward Norton.
The industry has changed dramatically since “Taken” went into production in 2008 for a number of reasons. Streaming video through Netflix has eroded the once lucrative DVD market. Production technology in digital cameras, editing and VFX software has only decreased the cost of production – and dramatically increased the number of films available. And funding for film is changing due to the decline of the Euro, rise of national film and TV industries and expanding inventory.
In the case of indepdent film funding, my associate, Robert Lennon and I decided to raise our budget through a crowdfunding website called Kickstarter.com. People can donate to the project and receive a reward in turn
“Shysters” is a Screwball Comedy with a bit of Faith. The film’s fast pace and snappy dialogue are reminiscent of the great Thirties Screwball Comedies by Ernst Lubitsch, Frank Capra and Howard Hawks.
Here’s the plot: A young man, William J. Steel, who studied at the Mason-Dixon School of Law and Divinity is hired by a partner of Dewey, Cheatham and Howe. And Howe accidentally falls down an elevator. Enter Detective Shroeder who would love to pin a murder on Dewey and Cheatham. And those other two partners, realizing that Steel will never lie, connive and steal to get with the program, set him up to take the fall for Howe’s death. Steel lives his life of Faith, trying to help and guide the secretaries working for these snakes. And changes their lives along way. He’s arrested for the murder but ultimately vindicated in a comedic comeuppance exposing Dewey & Cheatham.
By using the Kickstarter.com website to raise the budget and writing in a conservative manner, the film can be shot in and around Los Angeles at few locations within its modest means – and maintain high production value with lots of great industry friends working in the cast and crew. I’ve written scripts and novels and reviewed enough budgets as a bond company rep to know how to stretch the dolllars without stretching the script beyond good production value.
We are using social media, including twitter, Facebook and other means to get the word out to friends, family, associates – virtually anybody interested in this kind of comedy, film and Faith. That’s my audience. And the Faith element is good because the Christian Hero wins – a rarity in Hollywood.
We will be posting videos and updates on Kickstarter.com and ShystersTheMovie.com. If you’re interested in the new direction of filmmaking and fundraising, then check us out from time to time or, better yet, become a supporter to get the inside scoop.
After all, in Hollywood, it’s who you know.