My goal with Treasure Hunt is twofold: first: to learn, by doing, how to assemble and manage a team to produce a feature-length film that’s engaging and entertaining. Second, but no less important, to evaluate if making movies is as intellectually challenging and entertaining as I envision it to be. If both of these are satisfied, then, for me, the project will be a success.
Though this will be done with a micro budget, where cast and crew are compensated with reel, beer and pizza, I intend to carry out operations as if it were a well budgeted film working under professional conditions. Even though it will be a non-union operation, I intend to act as if under those constraints. Thus, a well-fed crew operating no more than 10 hour days as often as possible.
I intend to hire cast and crew that’s talented, but also caught in the Catch-22 situation of needing experience to get jobs that require experience. My goal is to create a rising tide that lifts all boats, and want to foster a close and supportive working environment where we can look forward to working together again in the future, with a full budget and production staff.
As such, I’ll be looking for teammates that can work collaboratively together and understand that small budgeted indie movies need people willing to pick up the slack sometimes when everyone else is busy doing their job.
When writing Treasure Hunt, I made my decisions based around the idea of a small ensemble cast, few locations and as many of those as possible on our property in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. There isn’t a budget for more than a few unconventional shots, though I hope to find a DP who has the imagination necessary to make the best out of the limited resources.
The filming will all need to be done over weekends. However, it may be possible to rehearse during the week (I live in Silver Spring, MD) as I expect to pull most, if not all, the cast and crew from the DC metro area. To keep the budget under control, I’ll be offering cast and crew accommodations at our house in Virginia. As a hook to entice collaborators, we have an indoor pool and I intend to supply dinners as well as breakfasts and lunches.
Post production, I intend to search for and apply for local film festivals, as well as any that have interest in the Civil War. I believe it will be possible to make back some of the budget by four-walling the film in select locations. I hope I can count on cast and crew to help create demand for the film. I expect the film to wind up in IMDB and will have a website where information about the film is available, along with stills, trailers, cast and crew bios and/or interviews. I will most likely make the film available on a streaming service as well.
I expect this film, and the experience making it, to establish us all as professionals. And that we will all go on to long and successful careers in the making of motion pictures.