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Friday, May 02, 2008

IndieShares Launches, Running a Competition for Screenplays and Trying to Fund the Winner

The Seattle start-up IndieShares is taking a slightly different approach to online fundraising, which I posted about recently. They're asking site visitors to vote on which idea they like best for a movie (based on a short video pitch delivered by an actor or actress -- not the screenwriter). Then, according to an e-mail I received from IndieShares president Jay Schwartz, the general public will have the chance to invest (not donate) money to its production costs, in increments as small as $10.

I asked Schwartz a few questions via e-mail. The first was about who'd actually be making the film of the winning screenplay.

He wrote back: "We have contracted with an existing producer for our first film that is well known and has an impressive track record. Furthermore, since IndieShares will be responsible for putting the investors' money to its best use, we will only deal with those parties and companies that are bondable."

Can't you disclose who this mystery producer is?

Schwartz said it will be Eugene Mazzola, who started an equipment rental firm called The Cine Companies, and now runs Bridge Productions. (Mazzola's IMDB page also includes a credit in 'The Ten Commandments' as Ramses' son.) Mazzola is on IndieShares' advisory board, and he was also a first AD on the hit metaphysical documentary 'What the Bleep Do We Know?'

Schwartz wrote, "The Production Services Agreement obligates Bridge to engage (meaning subcontract) with only bondable talent, including the director and DP. IndieShares is also going to sign two more production companies to our master production services agreement within the next two months, which will enable to us to produce films simultaneously under investor-favorable terms and conditions."

Finally, I asked about budget. "Our initial budget range is $5MM and below, but after the first film we anticipate that budget limitation being removed," Schwartz wrote.

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