December 4, 2015
Making movies is hard work. I admire anyone who takes it on, even if the end product doesn't turn out exactly they way they had hoped. Then again, when does it ever go according to plan? This is exactly why I love creating independent films, and also the reason why I question everything about my desire to do so.
My name is Jen West, and I'm a writer and director based out of Atlanta, Georgia. I'm originally from the small city of Birmingham, Alabama, which also happens to be the home of the Sidewalk Film Festival. Birmingham is where I first fell in love with indie film, and realized it was something that I too could participate in. That was over ten years ago. Since then I've written and directed four short films and one music video, all of which have had success in their own right.
My producing/real life partner James Martin and I have never made it into what some define as a top festival, but we've been embraced by many well-respected regional fests as family members. Those festivals and audiences have given us the courage to move forward to what will be my first feature to write and direct - Electric Bleau. This isn't any normal step up, as we also want to raise over a million dollars to make it. Why? How? Who? Where? There are many questions to answer, and this is your official invitation to join me on the quest to make this film.
I've been a part of one Kickstarter campaign, an independently masterminded fundraising campaign, and two Seed&Spark campaigns - all of which have exceeded their goal. However, the largest amount we've ever tried to raise was $24,000 (through online and offline efforts)... and quite honestly that was hard as hell. How could I ever even fathom one million plus? Weâve been working on this strategy for awhile now, and plan to include you in every step (and misstep) along the way.
To catch you up to speed, here's what's up:
- We're finalizing our pitch book for potential partnering production companies and/or active investors.
- We've invested in a branding specialist to assist with a clear path for visuals and messaging.
- We've starting inviting core team members so they can block off dates.
- We've set an ambitious timeline to shoot next summer from mid June to mid July. There are reasons for this, which I will explain in a later post.
- We are currently working with our entertainment lawyer to set up an LLC for the film, separate from our Four x Productions LLC (in which we've created films under in the past). She is also doing a lot of other critical items in which I will go more in-depth on soon.
- We've cast one of our lead characters. We've also chosen Casting Directors weâd like to work with once funding is secured to find the rest of our talent.
- Last but not least, I've spent two years writing a script that I think is worthy of this kind of effort.
I have every intention of surrounding myself with the best of the best in each craft, which will then make me better as a director. I do not pretend to be an expert in all things film, but I do know that I have the capacity to learn quickly and the passion to fuel the project.
Each week I will share our journey with you to what will hopefully lead to a finished feature film. As a thank you, we're pleased to share with the Seed&Spark audience a first glimpse at art for Electric Bleau. See you all next week!