Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fundraising Campaign is Live!

We've been wrestling with file sizes and freezing PCs. So I'm tired. Here's the link for the cmapaign:


As I said in the last blog, please give and PLEASE share! This will be the first of many, many missives on this subject. We need all of you and we are all counting on your support in any way you can give it.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

No Spolier Sneak Peak!

I was so tickled by this conversion that I had to share. It is no spoiler because you don't have the voice overs.


And After! And yes, Simon's expression has changed!

Tuesday's Launch Preview

Sharing the process behind mounting Demonspawn has been a lot of fun for us. And we're really pleased that readers have found it interesting and enjoyable. But there was always an ulterior motive for sharing the unvarnished details of this production – transparency. We aren't just building audience interest, we are also establishing a method for our supporters to know exactly what we are doing and why. This is really important as we move to the next phase of production development: Fundraising.

When the teaser goes live, we will also be launching a crowd funding campaign on a site called Indiegogo.com. This site and others posts campaigns of all sorts (charities, film, art projects, etc.). People interested in a campaign contribute at whatever level they want. Donations can be made anonymously or in their name. They take Paypal (very secure) or credit cards. In return, they receive a perk like the kinds of stuff PBS gives during its fundraisers. Levels of contribution can range from $10 to $1,000 or more and every level in between. The campaigns can last up to 90 days. Indiegogo allows a campaign to keep the funds raised even if it doesn't reach the goal. That site and others like it reward campaigns that generate lots of traffic. Sharing links and visiting the campaign page is as important as contributing. When there is enough traffic on a campaign, it gets featured on the main page of the site where millions can see it. Reaching the goal is all but guaranteed at that point. We will be nagging our readers to share our campaign link and visit the site excessively.

Where the Money Goes

I have talked about the various elements Demonspawn needs to produce a great web series. Here is a more thorough breakdown. We will add links to more vendors as we make final choices.

  • Fixed Costs are fees we must pay to legally film in Los Angeles. One is a filming permit. Guerrilla shoots still happen here, but it is very difficult to shoot in public without being asked for a permit. The police here are just too film savvy. Besides, I don't want to ask my professional cast and crew to be on the lookout for the fuzz and hide behind cars when we see them. Permits are also required in any building that is zoned for commercial use. We plan to shoot at Lucy Doty's awesome Central City Studio. Despite her long association with Demon Under Glass and its cast, we still need a permit to shoot at her studio. There are various government officials that pop by and check on occasion. The other fixed cost is Production Insurance. That protects our equipment, our people and any location where we shoot. It can even protect us against problems that prevent us from filming (severe weather, etc) by paying out so we can reschedule the cast and crew for an additional day. These costs means that we need a few thousand dollars before we can even begin. These fees are also non-negotiable.
  • Location Fees are a necessity though we have been rather creative in keeping them down. We have found some government owned sites that have no fees. However, we are required to hire a police officer or a sheriff for security on the site. We may also have to hire a site rep. That is someone associated with the property who has the keys. Those rates per hour are kind of steep. However, it cost a fraction of renting a similar location. The other locations like Central City Studio are giving us a break, but we are taking up a time slot that is valuable. There must be just compensation for that.
  • Cast and Crew Fees are something that we want to pay. We are taking up time when they could be doing something else more lucrative. We may not be paying their full rates, but it's just wrong to ask them to work for free for a week and a half and give us their professional best. We have kept the crew to an absolute minimum which will save us money in other ways. The director and I will draw no pay as this was our hair brained scheme in the first place. However, there is a minimum rate we feel we should be paying our talented and hard working group.
  • Kit Rentals and Make-up Supplies. Certain crew people come with their own equipment and supplies like the make up technician or the Director of Photography. productions rent their equipment or kits along with paying them a daily or weekly rate. This way, they can replenish supplies or make repairs on things that wear out. Additionally, we need to pay to have specialty FX make up created like vampire fangs. For the comfort and safety of the actor, they need to have dental plates that are fitted by a dentist. This sort of thing has become so common because of vampire role playing and cosplaying that the price is a fraction of what we paid for plates 10 years ago. We can get sets for Simon and Joe (dream scenes) and back-ups and still not be paying half of what we paid before.
  • Specialty Crew. There are some fights in the web series. That means, we need a stunt coordinator and his kit (knee and elbow pads, mats, etc). This crew position is for the safety of the actors as much as it is for making the shots look good. Even an actor with lots of fight experience needs a coordinator to watch that the fists are being thrown correctly. We know a number that will give us a deeply discounted rate. There are gory make up scenes with spurting blood. That means that we need an FX make-up artists and supplies that go beyond a basic make-up kit. We are very fortunate to know a really good make-up technician who will give us a great rate on her fees and the supplies.
  • Costumes and Props. We've been the most clever here in saving money. Even one of our leads is excited about hunting for deals on modern clothes. For the period costumes, there are lots of sights where newly made, realistic clothing is available for all eras at reasonable prices.
  • Food and Shelter. It is an adage in all Indie Filmmaker playbooks that lower budget productions must feed its cast and crew well. Fortunately, production catering is a very competitive business. We have quotes that are very reasonable for the tasty and healthy dishes offered. In addition to that, we think it really helps morale if the company has a comfortable place to wait between set ups. The actors also need places to change and get made up. Some of the locations have places we can commandeer, but we'd like to have a modest trailer to make sure we have such an area wherever we go.

Post Production

  • Editor. Our Director is an experienced, award winning editor, but we won't see this series go live before the end of 2013 if he is the sole editor. Free time is that scarce for him. We have an Editor in mind that is very well thought of and is an associate of Lucy Doty's. We can get an excellent rate for his services.
  • Special FX. We admittedly cannot compete with big budget vampire films and TV shows. However, we do have some very good FX people that are willing to give us some nifty tricks for a really good price. We think this will get us good reviews that will raise the profile of the web series. Standing out from the other vampire web series make more seasons likely.

Potential Perks

We've told you what we need. Now, we'll outline what kinds of perks we're offering. This is a preliminary listing that is very much subject to change between now and Tuesday. We also don't have exact prices on the donor levels yet. We're refining them right now. This is a basic list that may get longer before the campaign goes live.
  • Name listed in the end credits. (All levels get this)
  • Oversized, autographed postcard of original art.
  • Custom scrub top for this series.
  • DVD of the web series cut as a film with a bonus message from the cast.
  • Deluxe DVD with bonus scenes that won't run online, behind the scenes extras and the blooper reel.
  • A 'Golden Ticket' to a private screening and after party (Limited number available). Listing as an Associate Producer.
  • A role as an extra and an invitation to the wrap party. (Limited number available). Listing as an Associate Producer.
  • All of the above and a listing as an Executive Producer (Very limited number available).

If there is something else you'd like to suggest as a perk, please pipe up before Tuesday! Extras will get to mingle with the main cast as it is a small shoot and have meals with them. They will also get to work like circus monkeys.

That's it for now. We hope these blogs have made the case for supporting this series. There will be many more to come as we get closer to the shoot. After the campaign launches, I'll do an in depth blog on what is and is not in the script. It will be mainly spoiler free.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Best Wishes and Big Update

Like most Americans, I am in the throes of a pre-Thanksgiving cleaning and cooking frenzy. I'd take a photo, but it is not pretty. Thus, I won't be doing a full blog. I will take a moment to say on behalf of the cast and crew of Demonspawn, Happy Thanksgiving! Everyone be safe and have a wonderful holiday.

Teaser Update

Jon rendered the low-rez version of the rough cut to check it for smooth edits. That seems to have gone well as he is doing a final sound mix, including laying a sound track. He has also asked me for a list of credits. That means that he's nearly ready to render a final, full rez version.

Thus, I am setting a date for upload on Tuesday, November 27th. That will also be the day on which we launch the Indiegogo fundraising campaign. I will post the link for that site -- which is also where the teaser will debut. I'll also have full details on what we're offering in the fundraiser and where we are in the production process for the full series.

To those celebrating, have a great holiday. To everyone else, have a great Thursday!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Intriguing Surprises and the Podcast Interviews

Without further ado, I can announce that the podcast interviews of Garett Maggart, Owen Szabo, Jon Cunningham and me are live at Nosferatu TV's Website. Here's the link: http://notv.webs.com/apps/podcast/
Listen to the interviews first. Then, come on back for our take on some of the statements. Don't read any further, because there are huge spoilers below! 

As I've said in earlier blogs, one of the best parts about working on a film is the collaborative nature of the creative process. Jon and I have lived with Demon Under Glass for a decade. I've been tinkering with the characters since we stopped filming as an editor and a writer. Still, actors find a way of surprising us with something that simple never occurred as a thought. It is certain that the notions that came up on Friday will surprise fans of the film and the stories. Some fans may find the discussion of Joe McKay quite controversial.

Actors Unscripted

It makes sense that an actor would have a more intricate view of the character he plays than the writers. They have to think of the motivations of only one character. They have to form an understanding of these motives and how they change and why they change over the arc of the story. Whereas the writers have to think about all of the characters and why they do what they do.

We'd always posited that Joe McKay was with Simon primarily out of fear of being captured by Delphi. Further, we maintained that he simply found a way to get along with Simon and cope with his situation to keep his sanity. Garett Maggart's take on Joe in the interview has pretty much upended our suppositions about Joe and, for us, in a delightfully interesting way. He has a view of Joe as being a lot darker than we thought he was. He views Joe as someone who completely understands Simon's nature as something so innate and immutable that he would not try to change him. He also knows that Simon feeding on him is not just a daily risk but also something that is likely inevitable. And if our minds weren't completely blown, he further posits that Joe has something in him that is attracted to the darkness in Simon.

Meanwhile, the young and innocent looking Owen is a completely laid back Simon Molinar. He is calmly unapologetic about his nature with absolutely no remorse. I was delighted to see that he had that vague puzzlement over why anyone would think Simon had any thought about his nature. Juxtaposed against that angelic face, the statements were wonderfully chilly.

I was very pleased with the way both actors viewed their characters even as it will cause a bit of re-writing of not only the webseries script bu also part of my current novel that focuses on the fates of Joe and Simon. I know new fans will find the interviews fascinating. I can't wait to hear the reaction of long time fans – and the writers of Demon Under Glass Fiction.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Podcast Outtakes

I've sent the edited interviews off to Nosferatu TV's website http://notv.webs.com/. Meanwhile, I made a rudimentary video of the outtakes. These were my own questions, and I didn't think they fit well with the ones sent for the podcast. The questions were:
  • What era did Simon like best for clothing?
  • What historical figures would Simon have set out to meet?
  • What are you both looking forward to doing -- as actors -  in the web series.
Here's the link:

I'm doing a whole blog about some of the answers in the podcast. The actors threw us for a creative loop that is most intriguing. I'm really curious as to how Demon Under Glass fans will reaction to their views on the characters. I'll post the blog once the podcast goes live.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Wild Surprises, Audio Files and Flashbacks

The word surprise usually isn't welcomed in the film biz. Sometimes, it's a delightful surprise like a funding source popping up from nowhere and saving the day. However, most of the time, surprises range from unpleasant to terrifying. A typhoon hits while filming a big budget movie in Hawaii (Jurassic Park) or the Burmese army invades your location looking for monks that escaped an opium farm (The Quest). This past week was one of surprises. Sandy was not the only disaster we had to deal with this week though it had an impact on a lot of what got done this week. All of the principals in Demonspawn are from the east coast. We all have family and friends who were in the path of the storm. The coverage was deeply troublesome as many hours passed without hearing from our loved ones. We spent a lot of time Monday and Tuesday making calls and sending texts. What wasn't time consuming was certainly distracting. The web series script got derailed. Needless to say, the plans to record for the podcasts were shot to hell by mid week. These things happen. We have a new date that should hold up for this week. More importantly, All of our loved ones weathered the storm pretty well.

Meanwhile, Jon is editing the audio files. There's been a lot of cursing which means that there's some issue that's popped up. Still, he hasn't stopped working which means the issue isn't fatal. It looks like we'll go live next weekend. Please keep in mind that the estimation is tentative. This week has hammered home the point that I should be very careful about putting anything in stone. Aside from the upheaval brought by Sandy, a long stalled documentary project suddenly lurched forward. It is a personal project, but it means a lot to a community that is world-wide. I had to seize the opportunity. Aside from this week, the documentary should not interfere with Demonspawn. I don't have any more shoots planned for that until after the web series wraps principal photography.

Flashback Fun

We plan to have a lot of fun with flashbacks of Simon's life in the distant past. I've mentioned that in past blogs that we will be doing Highlander: The Series style flashbacks on incidents in Simon's life that mirror the current situation he is in. That's great, because we can have all kinds of fun with locations and costumes and such. Also, actors tend to enjoy doing period pieces. We've found some amazing sources for costumes. Our Make-up Diva is working on hair pieces and sideburns. It's going to be awesome on it's own. On top of all of that, there is a fiendishly fun twist to the period flashbacks that everyone is looking forward to doing. However, there is another kind of flashback that we want to do that is far more problematic: scenes from the Delphi Project. We're going to have to digitally recreate the isolation chamber which means that movement within the scene would be limited. Re-doing the 'demon box' will depend on how much money we raise. We really want to re-buld it. It would be fabulous to place Owen's Molinar into the origin story. That would generate new promo art and book covers! That's something Jon and our FX guru are working on. Whether or not any DUG flashbacks appear in the web series depends on the results of the research.

That's it for now. I have one more blog obligation this weekend before I can get back to the script. I may do a blog during the week with podcast announcements, so check back here. You can also subscribe for updates at the bottom of the Menu on the right.