Countdown: One Week!

We’re in the final stretch, folks!  Less than a week till Round 1 ends!  Now Dockers gave the impression that they were going to post the vote leaders, but they never did.  So I decided to take matters into my own hands and find out where we stand in this contest.  I risked carpal tunnel syndrome and went through all 3,000 entries!  Whew!  And I have the sore neck, shoulder, arm, and wrist to prove it!  So what’s the verdict?

Well, it’s good news and bad news.  The good news is that we are definitely in the top 50!  Out of 3,000  or so entries that’s something to be very proud of!  And it’s because of all of you voting every day and trying to help spread the word, and, heck, even recruiting your family to vote!  So where are we?  Currently, we are number 32.  That’s the bad news, because as I went through each entry, I found more entries that had more votes than we have and it pushed us down the list.  But it’s not terrible news and I’m certainly not going to complain about where we are in this contest.  Do I wish we were in the top five?  Of course.  But considering all the problems we’ve had trying to get the word out to other fans (with the broken fan club mailing list and Facebook blocking me from friending other I-Man fans), I’d say we’re doing pretty good.

But this last week is especially dangerous for us.  The most motivated contestants and their supporters are in this top 50 and they are pushing very hard, so we need to keep pushing just as hard lest we keep dropping and fall out of the top 50.  I’m afraid to say it could happen.  Behind us there are contestants who have more voters than we have and could theoretically pass us by.  One contestant, another filmmaker no less, has been right on our tail for several days now.  Today he passed us up…not because he has a better project or a loyal established fan base, he doesn’t; but because he’s been vote trading with other contestants.  In fact, a lot of contestants have been vote trading. 

It’s not against the rules (I checked), but it is a flawed strategy because they are voting for the very people they are competing against.  Also, the way the app is designed, someone could vote once for someone just to get their picture on their page and then come back every day and leave a message on their page saying they voted again when they really didn’t.  The contestant would really have no way of knowing for sure.  I’d like to think that all the contestants are honorable, but I live in the real world and wouldn’t be surprised if some honorable contestants are being suckered by less honorable contestants.  So I’m not playing the vote trading game. 

Besides, when I contact the cast and tell them we made it into the top 50, I’ll be able to proudly say that it was the I-Man fans who got us there and not because I was trading votes with the competition.  And I do have to, also, give a shout out of thanks to all my family members, friends, and fellow filmmakers who have also been tirelessly voting every day.  All of you have been wonderful in your support!  Thank you so much!

Contest Submissions Progress

Friday, my director and I sat down and hammered out the cast list, which is basically a list of all the roles in the video and what type of actor we were looking to cast in each role.  The next day I posted the roles on SF Casting and, after being approved, they went live on Monday morning.  Within hours I literally had hundreds of submissions from actors!  So I’ve been combing through them trying to find actors who fit what we are looking for.  Tomorrow I’m going to finish that up and then contact the chosen actors and invite them to the audition, which is being held in Pleasanton, California, this Saturday.

Monday afternoon, my director and I visited the studio we are planning on using.  It’s also located in Pleasanton and run by some really nice people.  We’re shooting in a studio because I wanted a plain white backdrop for the video.  This will put the focus on the actors without the distraction of any background and give the video a clean uncluttered look.  To get that kind of background you need to use a studio with a cyclorama, which is basically a wall with rounded corners, so you don’t see any hard edges.  Another advantage of using a studio is that we won’t have to move from location to location.  We’ll be able to do all the scenes on one sound stage and just change a few props, actors, and lights. 

With a small low-budget production like this, I’m doing much more than just producing.  I’m also playing financier, accountant, casting director, costumer, and prop master; and I’m sure my roles will expand even more in the days to come.  Today I ran around to various businesses looking for the costumes and props that we will need.  I struck out at a few places, but managed to find a couple of places that can give me just what I am looking for.

It’s getting late and I need to sign off now but, remember, keep voting!

Contest Wrap Up

The NAME THE MOVIE CHARACTERS CONTEST has now come a close after a run of eight weeks.  My does time fly!  I hope you all had fun! I want to give a big congratulations to our winners:

Rochelle Ramos for naming Eddie Jone’s character Sam Weber
Cheryl Johnson
for naming the antagonist Sebastian Grey
Rochelle Ramos
for naming Mike McCafferty’s character Lester
Carol Ward
for naming Vincent Ventresca’s character Ethan

It’s not often that the opportunity to name characters in a movie comes along and now our winners will have those bragging rights; and Rochelle Ramos gets those bragging rights times two!  And if your friends and family don’t believe that you named that character, just show them your name in the credits.  That’ll vindicate you!  I’ll be contacting each of you winners in the very near future to sign a release form, so keep your eyes open for an email from me.

To everyone else who participated, thank you for your support and enthusiasm!  If you didn’t win this time, don’t fret.  There will be other opportunities in the future for you to participate and support the project.  I’m cooking up ideas all the time!

I, also, want to give my appreciation to my fellow judges:  Shawna Buchanan, Joyce Harrell, and Joan McCartney.  I couldn’t have done it without these wonderful ladies giving me a hand.  To keep it fair we each got an equal vote, which means that they had the power to outvote me.  But, we were actually pretty much in agreement most of the time.  (You think it might be because we are all fans of the same show? 🙂 ) 

A little about the voting process:  I first listed all the submitted names in an email to the  judges. (Towards the end that got to be quite laborious with the large number of entries that were submitted!)  Then everyone gave their opinions about the names.  That afforded us all an opportunity to get each other’s viewpoints, which was really useful because many times someone would make a point that the others hadn’t thought of yet.  Finally, I created a voting form (Again quite laborious with all those names!) and each of the judges voted for their favorites.  It was always majority rules with each name needing at least three votes to go to the next round, which is where all of you would make the final decision based on your votes.

So, Shannon Kenny’s character’s name, Tara, remains the same because of a tie that left the final decision with the judges.  But, not surprisingly, the question has been asked, what about Paul Ben-Victor’s character?  Don’t worry.  I didn’t forget about Paul’s character.  I just didn’t include his character in the contest because he already has a name that fits him perfectly and I think it would be a crime to change it.  Sorry to disappoint anyone who may have been  looking forward to naming Paul’s character!

Next Steps

So what’s next?  Well, I need to get some computer problems solved first before I’m completely without a computer.  Then I’ll be getting right back to work getting the story finished.  This means I need to finish the story bible.  After that I’ll be giving the treatment a very thorough going over and have my screenwriter make the changes.  Hopefully that will be the final edit before I send it to the story analyst(s).  

I’m, also, going to do some research in preparation for my series of interviews of distribution companies for the United Filmmakers Association.  That keeps getting pushed back, but once my computer problems are solved, I’ll be able to move forward with that.  

I’m looking forward to a productive year and really making some progress with this project!


What I Learned This Year

No matter what obstacles life throws in front of you, it’s important to keep persevering.  This past year has been an incredibly frustrating and stressful year for me.  My auto accident back in February kept me sidelined most of the year and I was unable to make any real progress on the film project.  Then my cat got sick and died.  When I finally got back to the project and decided to hold the NAME THE MOVIE CHARACTERS CONTEST, it took far longer than I anticipated to get the contest started due to circumstances out of my control.  I look back on the year and wonder what the heck I accomplished and it, unfortunately, wasn’t much.  This year has really tested my patience.  But I learned that I can get through those tough times and keep going.  I’m as determined as ever to get our wonderful cast together again and I look forward to actually making progress in the new year!

It’s important to start audience building as early as possible.  This past summer I attended a Jon Reiss workshop, sponsored by the San Francisco Film Society, entitled Think Outside the Box Office.  This workshop was named after Jon’s book of the same name.  While I had always thought that it’s important to build an audience early, Jon’s workshop was the first time I had ever heard anyone else say it.  Jon advocates starting to think about the distributing and marketing of one’s film from as early as inception.  A vital part of this is reaching out and growing the audience. 

It may seem counterintuitive to start at inception, especially when, traditionally, most filmmakers wait until after they finish the film to think about distribution and marketing.  But it really makes a lot of sense if you think about it.  Independent filmmakers don’t have the huge marketing budgets that the studios have to reach their audience, so anything indies can do reach and build an audience as early as possible will only help down the road when it comes time to market and distribute the film. 

Many of you have followed me from The Invisible Man Online website over here to Shoom Zone.  If there is anyone who wants to see our beloved cast together again, I know it will be I-Man fans!  So far, a small group averaging about 1,000 readers a month visit this site; and so many of you have been openly supportive and encouraging.  I can’t thank you enough for hanging in here after all this time.  But I, also, can’t assume that all of the audience of 10 million people around the world who watched I-Man will easily find out about this project or even be interested in it.  I’ve got my work cut out for me to reach all those fans and to even try to extend the audience to the general sci-fi/superhero audience.  I need to prove to investors and distributors that there is a big enough audience to justify the cost of making this movie.  But I can’t do it alone.  I’ll need your help to spread the word about this project.  In the future, I’ll be expounding more about ways you can help, but for now please check out the How Fans Can Help page for some ideas you can do that are absolutely free.  I recently updated it with new ways you can help out. 

Interviewing is a great way to learn about subjects.  I’ve already done one interview for the United Filmmakers Association and will be starting an interview series in the near future on distribution companies for them.  Prepping for the interviews is forcing me to start learning about the distribution process (a good thing) and then getting my questions answered means learning about the distribution companies.  It’s a fantastic education!

I already have my first interview lined up.  I’m just waiting to resolve some computer issues right now which are preventing me from downloading video.  Yes, I said video.  I recently bought myself a little Flip video camera which will allow me to shoot the interview.  So look forward to seeing more video in the future!  Now I need to learn to edit!

Don’t compromise on quality.  I’m a huge admirer of Pixar and was privileged to be able to visit the studio this past summer.  So what is it about this studio that makes them so successful?  I think the answer is in this quote I recently found:

“There is a crucial rule: no compromises. No compromises on quality – regardless of production constraints, cost constraints, or a deadline. If you get a better idea, and this means that you have to start again from scratch, then that’s what you have to do.” — John Lasseter, Pixar

A good thing to keep in mind as I develop this project!

Would You Love to See Another I-Manicon?

I-Man fan Kristy Seddon would love to see another I-Manicon held and she wants to know if you feel the same way!  Here’s what she writes:

The last I-Manicon was held in 2007, with a success with Mike McCafferty and Paul Ben-Victor attending. Since then there has been no I-Man cons held… and it’s time to (at least try) to change that! We miss the fun and love that was shared at the many cons in the past…. let’s do it again!!

This may not work – but at least i tried to make it happen of some sort… either way, i’d love to know those who would Love to see another Con 🙂

So if you feel the same and want to support the idea, please head on over to the I-Manicon 2011 FaceBook page and click on “Like.”

I-Manicon 2011 FaceBook Page

I-Manicon 2007 T-Shirt Design by Kristy Seddon

Paul Ben-Victor Interview

Paul Ben-Victor

Paul Ben-Victor

Here’s a great interview that Paul recently did for Media Blvd Magazine.  In it he gives a real nice shout out to The Invisible Man and its fans. 

He, also, talks about his new movie Should’ve Been Romeo.  After years of development, it’s great to hear that Paul has secured financing for the movie, so it’s a go!  Awesome!

Actor Paul Ben-Victor discusses his role on
“In Plain Sight” and his upcoming projects

Are You a Fan of Fan Fiction?

If you like to write I-Man fan fiction or just read it, you might want to head over to the LiveJournal group A Sense of Community (hot_donuts).  They are gathering fans together for an I-Man fic challenge.  So far it looks like they have around 17 participants, but they are looking for more.  You don’t have to be a member of the group to join.  All I-Man fans are welcome. 

The information you need is spelled out in the two latests posts.  But if you have questions, I’m sure someone there will be happy to help you out.  Right now they are asking for prompts from both writers and readers.

There’s no such thing as too much I-Man fic, so head on over and join in on the fun!

A Sense of Community LiveJournal Group

Invisible Man Counteragent

The Invisible Man Counteragent website has always been a great resource for I-Man fans, so I wanted to be sure to let I-Man fans know that the site has moved.  That’s right, it now has a new home on MySpace.

It’s a work in progress but, already, there are some really great features on the site such as Darien’s quotes, seasons’ one and two episode guides, the famous Darien’s rap, a ringtone you can get for your phone, a ton of photos, and more.  Do check it out and be sure to friend Invisible Man Counteragent while you’re there.  I-Man fan Ed has done a great job putting the site together.


French Fan Site

Invisible Man fans are an international community and it’s really nice when I get to hear from those of you who are in other countries.  A fan from France by the name of Elodie contacted me a couple of months ago and was very supportive of my film project.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all her support as well as those of other French I-Man fans out there.  It’s great to know that there are other fans out there who want to see the cast together again as much as I do.  Thank you!

Elodie runs a great I-Man fan site that you should check out.  The link is below and I’ve also added it to the Friends and Supporters section on the right-hand side of the blog.  Her site is written in French, so if you don’t read the language, you might try any of those handy free translator programs that are on the Internet.  It will at least give you a gist of what is written. 

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