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AD: Fans, Friends & Followers

Monday, July 18, 2005

Do you believe in werewolves?

I had coffee with SF independent filmmaker Misha Anissimov last week, and we were talking about novel ways of developing and financing films.

He mentioned a project called "Freeborn", where the filmmakers, simply by putting up an online bulletin board, have somehow managed to bring together a community of horror and werewolf movie fans. The filmmakers have asked this community to help them create the ultimate werewolf movie. Fans have helped describe what a werewolf looks like (do they have tails, for instance?) and they've debated the werewolf code of conduct (do werewolves eat people?)

The bulletin board is here. Despite all of the fervent message-posting, it sounds like the filmmakers haven't yet found a financial backer yet. (Could it be because their teaser trailer is a string of dialogue that sounds like it was culled from 1000 other trailers of the past decade? "You can't take her with you." "I will not leave her behind." Is there a finite pool of cliches that can be used in trailers?)

Still, there's huge potential in cultivating an audience before a movie is released, even if it's not part of a franchise like Superman Returns. Moviegoers will feel more invested in films they've helped shape. One message on the "Freeborn" site reads, "I can't wait for the movie to come out. I have almost every werewolf movie I can get my hands on." Sounds like an eager customer to me.

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