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The Seed&Spark Blog

What color is Electric Bleau? Identity & beyond.

December 18, 2015

• Jen West

I want to elaborate more on how we got to this point before we talk about things coming up in the future.

How did this script come to be? The concept behind Electric Bleau is the product of several points of inspiration. First and foremost, I've always been wildly curious about hauntings, ghosts, and how the energies that occupy our bodies mutate once the physical shell is gone. Louisiana is the perfect place to explore such notions. I'm also motivated by the artist's struggle (if you are a creative person, then you can probably relate). Bleau Benoit, the main character, is a pioneering punk musician aggressively trying to make her way. Other elements that I have passion for are period pieces and minority characters. Electric Bleau is a carefully orchestrated story combining all of these elements.

I was chosen in 2014 to participate in a creative residency with the Cucalorus Film Festival to start work on this script. There I also developed a spin-off short called Little Cabbage, which has gone on to success in the festival world, and even winning Best Short Film at the Flyway Film Festival, presented by Seed&Spark. My time in Wilmington with Cucalorus was a pivotal moment. I dropped everything in my life to take the first steps necessary in this project. I am forever grateful for the experience.

This year the script was finally close enough to move forward with the Development phase. Why did we choose 1.8 million as our goal budget? There are a lot of reasons for this. First, we want to pay our talented cast and crew what they deserve. We want it to be worthwhile for them creatively and financially. Second, we want the ability to secure a big name talent or two. Third, this is a period piece that covers four decades between 1859 and 1982. To be done right, we need to have the resources to recreate these time periods, through art direction, costume, locations, etc. Fourth, I want experience directing a film that is in this budget realm. 1.8 million might sound like a ton of money (and it is), but it's still considered low budget. If I want to be a director that actually makes an income, then I need to be making bigger things. Last but not least, if done correctly, then having more financial means should help us access tools needed to make this film better all-around.

How are we going to get the 1.8 million? With the recent finalization of our look book, we are now prepared to move forward finding active investors. This can be in the form of partnering with another production company, or private individual(s). We are currently trying to set up meetings to start sparking conversations with the right folks. James and I head to LA this Thursday through Monday for our first rounds of talks.

We also plan to run a Seed&Spark campaign from mid January through mid February for development funds. This money will be tiny in comparison to the larger amount, but will allow for us to move forward on critical items as to not compromise our ideal timeline of shooting next summer. Things that fall into this realm are entertainment lawyer expenses, marketing/branding, the creation of original music for the fictional band in the film, and other key items.

Speaking of branding, this is the last point I want to touch on today. We worked with a brilliant branding mind here in Atlanta, Christine Walker of Verse Brand Strategy, to establish a foundation for all things that will represent Electric Bleau - from social media, key art, messaging, marketing, and beyond. We workshopped with her for three intense sessions to boil the film down to the bones. From that we were given a comprehensive branding guide about 20 pages in length with these categories: Brand Vision, Audience, Positioning, Personality, and Color. Since it is such an in-depth look, I will just give you a few sneak peeks into what we discovered.

Personality scale and breakdown for Bleau Benoit, the lead character.
Personality scale and breakdown for Bleau Benoit, the lead character.what we hope the audience will take away
What we hope the audience will take away.

electric bleau target audiences
Who we think our target audiences are.

Read more by

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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