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The Seed&Spark Blog

Eye of the Beholder

January 12, 2016

• Jen West

You've heard before that first impressions are everything. It's hard to undo or redefine what someone thinks once you have set up those initial parameters. It hurts my soul to see people release art attached to their film prematurely, or anything else for that matter that hasn't gone through a rigorous thought process. While perfection is hard to achieve, you can come as close as you can with the resources available. After all, what you present to people is all they have to work with to define your project.

If you're an indie filmmaker, then it's doubly as hard to find affordable resources to paint an overall picture of your film before you have funding in place. However, it's not impossible. For us, we are fortunate that James and myself have a professional background in graphic design. James is especially passionate about design for film. For our lookbook I took on writing the copy and James the art components. I arranged a photoshoot with our lead actress (more on that below) in a spot that matched the aesthetic from our branding guide.

Why do we need a lookbook? If you are planning to raise any kind of significant funds or want to attach name actors and production talent, then you need a visual presentation of what you’re trying to create. Making a lookbook takes a lot of time and thought. Ours took around 2 months from beginning to end, and we are still making ongoing updates based on insights from mentors and respected industry professionals.

Our lookbook has the following sections: Jen West Filmography, Logline + Synopsis, The Benoit Twins Family Tree, AJ Haynes as Electric Bleau, Director's Statement, Film Comparables, Original Music, Meet the Team, Production Schedule, Contact, and Budget (numbers are only provided in a private version). It's roughly 14 pages in a 16:9 display ratio for optimal online viewing.

This is an appropriate time to announce the attachment of AJ Haynes as our lead in the part of Bleau Benoit! I've been talking to AJ for months about coming on in this role and also creating original music for the fictional band in the film. In real life AJ is the lead singer of a band called the Seratones, of which you'll be hearing a lot about in the coming year. AJ's voice and electricity is a perfect match for Bleau Benoit. While AJ has never been in a film before, I have an undeniable instinct that she will blow it out of the water with the help of a trusted acting coach. I know she was meant to play this part.

Click here to see a series of images from our lookbook to give a flavor of what Electric Bleau will look and feel like. Thanks to Wes Frazer for the stellar photography, James Martin for the beautiful design, and to all the trusted individuals who have given us advice.

Amidst other hot-items, we are launching a crowdfunding campaign tomorrow to raise $28,500 for development funds. This money will allow us to pay for five original songs that will appear in the film, entertainment lawyer fees, branding work, social media assistance, marketing, workspace and initial travel for meetings. James and I have done several crowdfunding campaigns in the past, so we know the work that lies ahead for raising this kind of goal. We’re mostly excited, but also full of anticipation. We know that this campaign will also be an incredible tool for building an audience early on. Check it out here on Wednesday the 12th!

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Jen West

Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Jen West is a writer and director living in Atlanta, Georgia. She is known for writing and directing Piece of Cake (2006), Crush (2011), Bubble (2013), Call Me (music video for St. Paul and the Broken Bones, 2014), and Little Cabbage (2015). She is currently in preproduction on her first feature called Electric Bleau. She studied design at Jacksonville State University and film at The Art Institute of Atlanta.

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