Ages ago I raved about a little film I discovered on DVD, called Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon. That film was a pitch-perfect spoof and homage to horror films and their conventions - perhaps the best meta-commentary on the genre since the original Scream. Part Christopher Guest-like mockumentary, part legitimate horror film, Behind the Mask is the story of a documentary crew that follows a budding serial killer looking to make a legend of himself along the lines of Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers.
Filmmaker Scott Glosserman is looking to fund a sequel to the film, and according to this interview, hit on exactly how to go about this after a disappointing reaction from the original film's distributor:
"I had a very rude awakening when I called the distributor of the first film and said 'We're ready to go with the sequel.' And they said not only forget about financing but that if I brought them a finished movie, if I handed a finished movie to them, they would not even distribute it for a fee. It just blew me away. I figured of anybody they must know how well Behind The Mask has been accepted. It did a great number on DVD."
And so Before The Mask has set itself a lofty goal: To be the first film ever to raise over a million dollars in crowd financing. "We sold mid six figure units on the original DVD and if half of those people spend twenty bucks pre-ordering the second film then we've raised more than a million dollars. So, in theory, we could crowd fund the movie. I know that's probably not a fully realistic possibility but, nonetheless, it's fun to set a goal to be the first movie ever to crowd fund more than a million dollars. That's our benchmark... and if I can take that - with a fully baked script and a couple of cameos - to a Lionsgate, who are already making original two million dollar films, it just seems to me that it would be a no brainer that they would finance this film."
To hit that goal Glosserman and company have created a unique, proprietary Facebook app to allow fans to pre-order Before The Mask DVDs and other merchandise at no risk to themselves. The company has set a reserve number - the number that is required to actually make the movie - and only if that number is met, so that orders will be able to be filled, will credit cards be charged. If they fall short of that reserve mark then nobody is charged a cent. "We will allow people to buy a Supporter's Edition of the DVD, which will be limited to the number of people who actually buy it in advance this way. We're going to do all sorts of fun special features and, if I can, since I've never done a director's commentary for the first movie I'd like to put that on this disc. All sorts of special features and an uncut, director's cut version of this new film along with proprietary art. We want to make a really special collector's edition of the movie which would be only available to people who pre-order now. And we can also offer posters and signed posters and DVDs and bundles."
You can find their Facebook page HERE.
What do you think about this approach to funding films? Obviously it's a model that's going to be more successful to those who have pre-existing followings than to the average independent filmmaker, but those who are savvy about searching out their audience might at least get a boost that would have been impossible just a few years earlier.