Recently, I had pretty much resigned myself to not getting into the finals of the contest. The deadline for turning in the releases and other paperwork had come and gone and I had heard nothing from Dockers. So I went back and read the rules again trying to see if maybe I missed something. (The rules are written rather loosely and open to interpretation.) Well, in parentheses there are two words: “if requested” that could be interpreted as meaning that Dockers might choose not to ask for upfront paperwork. If that was so, I still had a chance.
I’ve been monitoring the conversations on Facebook and Twitter and other semi-finalists have also been wondering if the top five had been notified yet, but there was no answer from Dockers. The only reply we’ve been getting from Dockers is that they would let everyone know who the top five were on Monday the 25th.
The other day one semi-finalist asked on Twitter if “the top 5 already know they are in the top 5?” The answer back from Dockers: “No they do not.”
Whew! That’s great news! That means I still have a shot of being in the top five!
In two days we will find out for sure. If I do make it, please be prepared to vote again because we will only have five days to vote and each person will only be able to vote once per day. That means only five votes per person! Yikes!
So please stay tuned for this coming Monday (April 25) for the results. Let’s hope that Dockers thinks that reuniting the cast of The Invisible Manis as great a project as we think it is!
Wow, it’s been an extremely hectic few weeks since I last updated you about the contest and my submission. I didn’t mean to let my blogging updates go this long, but it’s been crazy busy. Fortunately, things are starting to wind down a bit, although I’m still wrapping up loose ends from the shoot. The cast’s and crew’s jobs may have ended already, but producers are still on the job long after wrap is called. Yep, no rest for the producer!
I already posted the big news on Facebook and Twitter a few weeks ago, but have been too freakin’ busy to post it here so, if for some reason you haven’t heard the big news yet, here it is: I am definitely a semi-finalist in the Dockers Wear the Pants contest!
I have all of you to thank for that. Seriously, I couldn’t have gotten this far without all of you who tirelessly voted for me daily for all those weeks. You guys totally rock! And I’m making sure to let the cast know that it was your support that got me into this position. Fans from not only the US, but, also, the UK, France, Italy, Serbia, the Netherlands, the Ukraine, Russia, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, etc. all supported the project with their votes. We are very much an international group! How cool is that?!
So what’s next?
Well, according to the rules, Dockers should pick their top five by around April 6 or so and send them releases and other paperwork to fill out. Now I haven’t heard anything from them yet, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything at this point. They’ve been running a few days late this entire contest, so I’m still holding out hope that I’m one of the top five. The judges are judging the submissions based on the criteria of originality, creativity, and suitability to represent the Dockers Brand. Based on what I’ve seen from the other contestants, I definitely have one of the top projects when it comes to originality and creativity. As far as suitability to represent the Dockers Brand…well, that’s subjective and only the judges really know what they are looking for.
Now if I was a major company like Dockers, I would definitely be looking at projects that have the possibility of worldwide exposure, which this project has. Movie audiences are worldwide and we already know that millions watched The Invisible Man around the globe. Tapping into that audience by partnering with a movie could be a smart move for them.
But is a sci-fi movie produced by a fan the kind of image they want? Hard to say. The video we shot definitely had more of a fun and humorous tone to it and I love it. But in the back of my mind I keep thinking, are they looking for something with more of a cool sophisticated vibe? Is what we shot too geeky? Yeah, I can drive myself crazy second guessing myself. But when it comes right down to it, I’m proud of what we shot. My director, Sandra Myers, and the entire cast and crew all did a fantastic job and poured their hearts into it. It shows in the quality of their work! I can’t begin to thank them for their help with this shoot. Filmmaking is definitely a team sport and I had an awesome team! I’d be more than happy to work with any of them again in the future.
Whatever happens with this contest, I now know that, if need be, I can pull together a quality shoot on a low budget and a tight timeline. And I did it on my very first shoot! That said, I hope I never have to pull a shoot together that quickly. Seriously. It’s exhausting. I was literally getting three or four hours of sleep most nights. I’m way too old for that kind of physical abuse. But, if I can produce a small shoot under those circumstances, I know I can definitely handle a bigger project…like a feature film.
I can’t show you the video we shot just yet. I wish I could, but Dockers requires that submissions be original and not previously published, so I have to wait and see what the outcome of this competition will be before I can share that with you. At this point, I’ve put too much into the project to risk being disqualified.
I’ve got a lot of blogging to do to catch all of you up on the details of what’s been happening these past few weeks. We, also, took behind-the-scenes footage and photos that I still need to get and share with all of you. I mean we’ve got some really cool stuff. I can’t wait to show you. So stay tuned!
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!
Can you believe there are only two weeks left of voting for Round 1 of this competition? Yikes! So how are we doing? Well, in one week we went from 40 people voting and 95 votes to 111 people voting and 341 votes! We more than doubled the number of voters we have and we more than tripled the number of votes! Way to go!
But the big question is, how are we stacking up against the competition? Last week I found 33 entries with more votes than we have. We plowed right past about a dozen or so entries that seemed to have started out pretty strong, but then fizzled out. And we are getting very close to passing by four more. But then I found a few more entries that were in front of us. So as of today, there are 25 entries that I know of with more votes than us. While it is very encouraging that we appear to be moving up, please keep in mind that I haven’t seen all the entries and have no idea how many that I haven’t seen have more votes than us. Also, I’ve found at least three entries that started after us and have passed us by. So we need to keep voting every single day and we need to keep finding more voters!
To see how we stack up against the top players, here’s how the top ten entries (that I know of) are doing:
3,235 votes, 706 voters
1,334 votes, 299 voters
1,283 votes, 156 voters
1,025 votes, 269 voters
958 votes, 145 voters
898 votes, 111 voters
895 votes, 196 voters
863 votes, 181 voters
722 votes, 96 voters
721 votes, 151 voters
So please don’t get complacent! We’ve got a ways to go yet! We need every vote!
Joyce, our I-Maniac fan club president, is currently moving the fan club mailing list to a more reliable program. So if you get an email from her, be sure you opt in. She’ll be sending out an announcement about this contest as folks opt in. Some of the email addresses no longer work, so if you have contact with an I-Maniac that may not be aware of this contest, please lend a hand and let them know about it.
I attended a United Filmmakers Association mixer over a week ago and was able to get a free copy of the Reel Directory, which is the Northern California version of the Hollywood Creative Directory. Basically, it’s a directory of services and everyone in the business from audio post facilities to production equipment to stunt equipment rentals to traffic and crowd control services…virtually everything you could possibly think of and would need to make a movie. I’ve used it to start calling around to studios and getting rental rates for the video we’re shooting. My director is prepping for another shoot right now, but we’ll be meeting again on Friday. I’m happy to say that my financing came through, so this video is officially green lit!
I’m also starting to get quotes from artists and will be commissioning some custom artwork as part of my submission. Exciting stuff!
The contest requires that if I use any third party’s name, I must have a signed release from them. This weekend, I got emails from Paul Ben-Victor, Eddie Jones, and Mike McCafferty and I talked on the phone to Vincent Ventresca on Sunday. All these wonderful guys are very willing to sign a release so that I can use their names when entering my submissions into the contest! Vince is contacting Shannon for me and I’m still waiting to hear from her. Do you realize how lucky we are to have such a supportive cast? I can’t think of another cast that would do what these guys do.
There is still so much to do and it’s going to get crazy. Please don’t mind me if you see me wearing a straight jacket in the near future!
I just got back from a meeting with a director friend of mine. I’m very happy to say that she has agreed to direct my video submission for the Dockers contest! Dockers requires that the entrants that make it into the next round submit either a video and/or photos as well as a written essay. When round one ends contestants are given only ten days to get their submissions in. That’s not much time, so we’ve got to start now and pull this together very quickly even though I don’t know at this point whether I will make it into the top 50 or not.
This afternoon I typed up a first draft outline of my idea and gave her a copy. We talked about locations versus a studio, equipment, scenes, actors, and the general look of the video. She had some really great creative ideas that will save me some money. Speaking of money, we’re going to have to keep the costs really low, but I’m still going to have to come up with some money to fund this, which is going to be a challenge since I’m broke right now. So finding the funding is going to be my quest for the next few days. Then I’m going to be making a lot of phone calls and getting prices on services and equipment. That’s a bit backwards from the way it’s usually done, but necessary in this case.
You may be wondering where we are with regards to votes now that we’ve been at this contest for almost a week. Well, we’re not quite where the numbers need to be yet. As of this writing we have 40 people voting and 95 votes.
I’ve been scoping out the competition…trying to get a handle on who the motivated players are. Dockers says that they are supposed to be announcing the top scorers in the near future and I wish they would. There are literally hundreds of entries and trying to check them all out is a huge task! (Anybody want to volunteer to do that?) But I can’t wait for whenever Dockers is going to get that list together. I need to have some idea of where we stand in this competition. So I spent several hours the other morning going through a ton of entries. Not all, mind you, but enough to realize that there are some heavy hitters out there competing against us.
I counted 33 entries with numbers higher than ours. So does this mean we’re safe and getting into the top 50? No, not at all, because I didn’t look at all the entries. There could be 17 entries with more votes than us that I haven’t seen yet. So we are far from safe. The number of votes of the top three contestants (that I saw) were 660, 788, and 901. So we are really trailing behind. Granted, they had a two-week head start on us, but we really need more voters and we need voters to vote every single day!
Ideally, I want to be in the top five. Since Dockers has made this a voting contest, it makes sense that being one of the top vote getters is going to be a factor in their judging. They are most likely looking to back a project that is popular, among other things. What’s really hurting us right now is that the I-Maniac Fan Club’s mailing list is broken. There are over 1,300 fans on that list that aren’t hearing about this contest. But can you imagine if they did and all started voting? We’d blow everyone out of the water! I’m working with the fan club president and trying to help get the mailing list fixed. In the meantime, if you know any fellow I-Man fans, please let them know about this contest and that their help is urgently needed. Be sure to send them the link to my entry. I’ve placed the link to my entry right on the home page of the Shoom Zone website, so if you ever need to find it quickly, go to www.shoomzone.com.
What? So soon? Yes, and this one was completely unplanned because I’m not the one holding the contest. Instead, I’m entering in it as a contestant! I’ve got to tell you that I don’t enter a lot of contests because they are usually just games of chance—you put your name in and you hope they draw it. But this contest caught my attention because it actually requires some effort and talent.
The contest is being put on by Dockers (owned by Levi Strauss & Co.) and it’s called the Wear the Pants Project. Basically, it works like this: Contestants compete for a prize of $100,000 to “finally do what you love.” In 400 characters or less each contestant must enter their plan. Then people vote for the plans. The top 50 vote getters proceed to Round Two where they will be required to submit an essay and a combination of pictures and/or a picture and a video about their plan. From the submissions judges will choose their top five. Finally, people will get to vote on those top five. The contestant with the most votes wins! Here’s a video from Dockers explaining it:
Now, as most of you already know, my plan, my goal, my dream, is to see the cast of The Invisible Man together again in a sci-fi feature film. No, it won’t be a movie based on the show. I had an entertainment attorney approach NBC/Universal and, unfortunately, I couldn’t get the rights to I-Man. But Vince and Paul both suggested to me that I pursue a film that has an original story…something where rights won’t be a problem. The cool thing about going this route is that if you love it and want to see more, there won’t be a big studio ignoring us or telling us no. How awesome would that be? So, I’ve been working on this sci-fi movie project for several years now. It’s been a steep learning curve and there have been the typical ups and downs, starts and stops that accompany a project of this sort; but I’ve never given up on this dream and I don’t plan to. You don’t make it in the film industry if you’re the kind that gives up easily and, believe me, I can hang on like a bulldog!
Right now we’re on story number three and I really think this is the one. We are getting very close to having a finished treatment that I can show the cast; and if they like it, I’ll be able to have my writer start the script. Once that happens, I’ll be able to start writing the business plan. But there’s an obstacle here and that’s money. So far, everything has come out of my own pocket. I estimate that I’ve spent over $15,000 up to this point on the project. That’s a sizable amount of money for me. I’m not a rich woman. But nobody can accuse me of not having skin in the game. I’m prepared to spend more, however, the last six months have left me broke. I got hit with a lot of unexpected expenses like vet bills (when my cat got sick and died), auto repair bills (when a tire blew out and I had to replace all of them), higher than expected contest costs, and the cost of having to replace a dying computer. It’s going to take me several months to dig myself out of this financial hole, which means that the next steps of the project may have to be pushed back until I can save up the money to pay for it, because right now I have no money to pay my writer or story analyst.
I have considered trying a crowdfunding campaign like Kickstarter or IndieGoGo where some filmmakers have successfully raised money to fund their projects, but I really like the idea of trying this contest first because it doesn’t cost anyone anything…just a few minutes of your time every day to vote and help spread the word.
Winning $100k would be a huge boost to this project and would definitely speed things up. I would have enough money to finish development, pay for fundraising and some marketing expenses, and probably get through most, if not all, of pre-production. In addition, the possibility of getting publicity for the project from a company as large as Dockers would be a huge plus and could be quite attractive to investors. It makes my head spin just thinking about how big this project could possibly get.
I think the rewards definitely make going for this worth our while.
So here’s where I need your help. I’m talking to everyone I know or even personally don’t know. That means friends, family members, co-workers, fellow fans, readers of my blog, fellow filmmaking colleagues. Everyone! I need as many people as possible to help me out here by voting for my plan. This is a rallying call!
The contest started a couple of weeks ago, so we’re getting a late start. Round One of the contest ends on March 15, so we have only one month to get ahead of the competition! I’ve been checking out the competition and many are just putting up their entry blurb and that’s it. Not much effort on their part and, not surprisingly, they’re not getting many votes. However, it’s the few movers and shakers in the group that are our real competition. I don’t know who the high scorers are yet and Dockers is supposed to be announcing it some time in the near future, but I have seen one contestant with over 600 votes already! We have some catching up to do! Personally, I would love to see us just blow everyone out of the water with our votes and really make the judges at Dockers take notice of us. Do you feel the same way?
If you do and want to help, here’s what you can do:
Go to http://apps.facebook.com/dockerswearthepants/entries/14621 and click the VOTE FOR THIS PLAN button on my entry page. You’ll have to sign up for Facebook if you are not already a subscriber and you’ll need to accept the Dockers app. Anybody who knows me knows that I usually don’t accept apps. But I do make a rare exception if they are from a legitimate company and they are necessary, which this is. For those concerned, Dockers has stated that “Facebook requires that we confirm all users when it comes to building out contest applications like ours. We’re gathering the least amount of info possible from our users and will not be accessing anyones Facebook account.”
Next, please either bookmark my entry page or place a direct link to it on your desktop. You’ll want to make it easy for you to access the page every day for the next month and vote. You’re allowed one vote per day and it only takes a few seconds to do it, but it means so much to this competition!
Finally, please spread the word among everyone you know (family, friends, neighbors, classmates, co-workers, etc.) and ask them to vote daily and spread the word too. The more, the better! We need as many participants as possible! There are Facebook share and Tweet buttons on my entry page. Please use them!
That’s it! Not terribly hard or time consuming and it doesn’t cost you a penny!
I’ll be sending out regular updates, both here on my blog and on Facebook, about the contest as it progresses. As of this writing, I have only 17 votes, so we have a lot of catching up to do! If you want to vote, please click on the following link. Sometimes the app can be a little glitchy. If that happens to you, please try again later. And thank you for your support!
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!
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!