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.
- 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.
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.