Horror First Draft Done

Lily’s Party script came fairly painlessly, but, as seems to be an inescapable reality for me, is short.  Thirty pages.  Granted, I’m sure it will edit much longer than one minute per page, but I don’t think it’ll reach 3 minutes, not without making it feel bloated, Costneresque.  I envision lots of slow pans, people cautiously walking up stairs and lots of creepy music putting viewers on edge.  But I feel I need more raw material to have a realistic chance to wind up with something that can plausibly run 90 minutes or more.

I’ve sent the script to a couple of ‘subject matter experts’ (horror aficionados) and hope to have their feedback soon.  Ideally, they’ll have suggestions for ways to lengthen the story without bloating.  But I’m really starting to worry that I can’t write long things any more.

My next step is to build a budget.  My feelings toward the budget are split: either a very low one (say $25-30K) that runs the risk of not having the production values to interest distributors, but likely makes it vastly easier to find backers, or push the budget to at least $250K, as that’s the lower bound cutoff where Virginia Film Office will offer tax incentives, subsidies, etc.  I feel better about the potential for excellent production values at that budget, but, I’m sure, getting it funded becomes significantly harder.  And I still have no good idea of where to even look for potential investors.

Then there is estimating the revenue potential of the project, which has been frustrating me for over a year.  I have no feeling for the world of horror, being a total outsider. (Why write one then? First: horror is the rare genre that actually has potential to get profitable distribution with low budgets and no ‘name’ actors. Second: the project was inspired by an actress I auditioned and her ability to appear angelic or demonic with small changes in makeup and body language.)  I’ve read many creditable reports that there are distributors willing to take on such projects, but, it seems, they’ll only consider finished works and won’t even look at a script.  Thus, it becomes a total gamble that the project can even be considered for distribution, let alone at a high enough value to make it profitable.

It seems one of the usual ways to market horrors is to put them in festivals.  Which I would totally do, except, again, it’s a make-it-and-see-what-happens sort of thing, in other words, a major risk.

Something I’ve begun to consider, after reading another movie making book I’ve collected, is the notion of offering the project as a tax write off, coupled with the glamor of being involved in a movie.  In other words, selling the concept as a money losing proposition that has the potential to make money, rather than a money making proposition that has unusual risk of losing.  It’s an attitude thing, but one that makes a big difference to investors.  Plenty of people will donate just for tax deductions, including making movies, but that’s typically done for things like documentaries, not feature films.  But you have to have your movie project organized to be not-for-profit, which is antithetical with my goals.  But it’s something to think about.  Though that still leaves me with the challenge of finding these people to begin with.

Oh, I have a poster proof-of-concept made.  The same artist that did the concept art for my two dominatrix scripts.  I’m awaiting the woman who does such a good job titling it to post it here.  She’s been really busy lately.  Hopefully she’ll have time soon.  I’m also asking her to take a greenscreen screengrab from my Domestique short and turn that into a poster as well.

Author: mitusents

Biochemist, MBA, then programmer. Now novelist, screenplay writer and hopefully director. What a strange trip it's been.