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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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  • well good luck to them. those pitches are terrible.

    By Blogger deepstructure, at 3:58 PM  

  • “Wages of Fear,” “Convoy,” Smokey and the Bandit” and “Duel”

    Remember these great flicks? What are they? Road movies, of course, but more importantly, they are trucking films. Here is a genre nearly forgotten that Navistar, which builds legendary International trucks, hopes to single-handedly revive.

    The company that just launched a revolution in long haul trucking by building the mold-shattering LoneStar Class 8 tractor is now launching another first - a student film competition that will ask aspiring auteurs and cineastes to celebrate the lives and labors of long-distance truck drivers in a short film format.

    You could be the next Spielberg, Sam Peckinpah or even Henri-Georges Clouzot.

    On May 1, 2008, Navistar is sending out a call for entries to approximately 50 universities and film schools around the country asking ambitious filmmakers to hit the road and produce short films or videos that honor the American trucker. These mavericks will then submit their final product in a competition to win film school tuition or top-notch camera equipment.

    Academy award nominated producer/director Brett Morgan (Chicago 10, The Kids Stays in the Pictures) will chair a jury of filmmakers who will judge all submissions. First, second and third prize winners will premiere their films at The Great American Trucking show in Dallas, Texas, on August 22, 2008, and will be featured as streaming content on The films will also be included as bonus material on a DVD with “Stand Alone,” Brett Morgen’s upcoming Navistar-funded documentary about truckers.

    It’s time for filmmakers to release the jake-brake, hammer down, and make cinema that really matters, films about real life on the road. Put it this way: if America’s drivers decided to stop working, the entire country would shut down. We depend on truckers to deliver everything we own and consume. Truckers are that important. They are true American heroes.

    Merle Haggard sang it this way: “The whiteline is a lifeline for the nation… It takes a special breed to be a truck drivin' man, And a steady hand to pull that load behind.”

    By Blogger Unknown, at 3:59 PM  

  • wow - that's one of the more bizarre spams i've ever seen.

    By Blogger deepstructure, at 4:02 PM  

  • Very exciting stuff here. we are working on a project called the Big Picture group to take publicly selected scripts and actually produce the films. We are targeting july as the first shoot date and budgeting for at least 150k budget.
    Filmmakers for filmmakers. Come help us find the great scripts and we'll shoot the one you select.Power to the people.

    By Blogger Streamingindie, at 12:56 PM  

  • There has been quite a bit of traffic in the past re: federal and state securities regulations. The short answer is that there is no way around them. Each of IndieShares production securities offerings will be registered at the federal and applicable state and provincial levels. This means that each offering statement will provide investors with visibility into the the budget, expenditures, and most importantly, how any revenues will be distributed among securities classes. Furthermore, all production project financial statements will be audited in accordance with the regulatory regime, so investors have the security of knowing that their money is being spent in accordance with the terms of each offering statement. Next, each offering is "all or none". This means that funds raised for each production remain escrowed and can only be released upon meeting the offering threshold. If the threshold is not met within 90 days, investor funds are returned without deductions (except for pass-through card processing charges). Finally, each production will be bonded, meaning that we will only deal with the type of talent where we can acquire insurance for completion. This also signals to investors that we are spending their money wisely and trying provide the best chance for a return.

    If anyone has other questions regarding how IndieShares plans to raise funds for its productions, please see our FAQs at and refer to the Your Money section.


    By Blogger Jay Schwartz, at 5:00 PM  

  • I liked the pitches. They gave me an idea of what each story was about and I enjoyed viewing them (rather than reading summaries). I'll definitely invest in a film!

    By Blogger C# Dev, at 4:30 PM  

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