Good morning, world!
As we head into this holiday weekend (Memorial Day in the U.S.) I am announcing the “soft launch” of what will either be a flourishing career as a film producer—or not!
The “hard launch” (whatever that is) will be next Wednesday, June 1.
I am using a platform called wefunder.com to raise investment money to produce films and television. This is different from Kickstarter, Indiegogo, et al. in that it is NOT donations!
In other words, you are NOT just giving me money to support something you like and get perks in exchange. (I did that to fund my sci-fi short film—it worked out, but it was more arduous than making the short film!)
This crowdsourced money is SEC-approved to be an INVESTMENT: if the company does well, you make money. If it does poorly, you lose money. And there are a ton of rules to follow, starting with this one:
IMPORTANT LEGAL DISCLAIMER (I have to include this, but I am glad to do so, because it protects everybody):
We are “testing the waters” to gauge investor interest in an offering under Regulation Crowdfunding. No money or other consideration is being solicited. If sent, it will not be accepted. No offer to buy securities will be accepted. No part of the purchase price will be received until a Form C is filed and only through Wefunder’s platform. Any indication of interest involves no obligation or commitment of any kind.
So, what does this mean?
Here is the wefunder page for FSM Studios. On there, you’ll see my pitch for the company, what I want to do, why I think it makes sense, etc.
And you’ll see a box to make an investment (minimum of $100). I believe this is live now, even though there’s a countdown to the June 1st launch. (Evidently I missed the college course on how to use this platform.)
At this time, your investment is really like a RESERVATION. Like an “authorized” charge on your credit card that doesn’t become real until later, if a condition is met—get it?
Wefunder needs me to show that I can raise $25,000 in prospective investor dollars on my own.
If I do, then they step in with all sorts of legal and business assistance—and they promote us to their network of investors (which is very good).
And, at that time—if that happens—they would circle back to you to formalize your investment. Then, and only then, would you actually be parting with your money.
I want to take a moment to explain what I want to do. I want to make films and television—but I want to do it the way I’ve done everything since I was 16 years old: as an entrepreneur.
I have 30 years of training as a CEO. And the films I want to make...well, they are hard to convince other people to get behind because they don’t exist—yet.
A monthly magazine about film scores never existed until I made one. The FSM CDs I did built on some limited edition specialty releases, but in a style (comprehensive, complete-score releases sold via direct market) never done at that scale.
Did you know that Gary Oldman passed on playing Edward Scissorhands? He read the script and said, “I don’t get it.” Then he saw the movie, and after the first few minutes, he said, “Oh, now I get it.” I always feel like my movies are a bit like that!
The movies and television shows I want to make will be bucking a trend: original I.P. (intellectual property) in tried-and-tested genres (sci-fi and horror) that will stand out not necessarily because they are technically or narratively revolutionary.
They will stand out because they will be good!
They will be well-cast, well-made, cost-contained and—the plan is—profitable because audiences will like them.
We’ll use smaller films to build to larger projects—and get studio funding for those.
I know this is a lot of take on faith. That’s why I made a short film, as a proof of my skills as a filmmaker and an executive.
I am personally very cautious about asking people for money. It’s not something that comes naturally to me.
I definitely do not want people to invest if they are not financially secure enough to do so!
The truth is that there is a ton of money out there looking for exciting film projects. But I’m not in a place to get it—yet—because they all want cast attachments. But the agents for the actors want to know you already have the cash. So it’s a chicken-or-the-egg dilemma.
Really, what I’m raising money for is to make myself a “going concern” to the point where I can make cash offers to talent, and build “packages” that can secure the lion’s share of the film budgets “inside the system”—through distributors, foreign pre-sales, tax credits, and the like. (It’s complicated.)
If you want to support me—but don’t want to or can’t contribute financially—there is still a lot you can do.
If you like my projects over the years...please, tell the world! All it costs you is a little bit of time or effort—but you have no idea how valuable your third-party endorsement is!
Just spread the word via social media—Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blogs, etc.—that I’m doing this!
Tell folks I’m a straight-shooter and a responsible producer.
Now, if that’s not your experience...well, you can’t please everybody. But I always ask people with a beef to contact me personally. (Usually it’s my fault and I can apologize!)
One last thing: Ever since I started this in 1990, I knew that nothing I did in film score land would make a lot of money. The audience wasn’t big enough for that to happen.
Here’s how FSM started, by the way, my letter in Starlog magazine, #153! (This was spring 1990, so I was actually only 15 when I wrote it.)
So I focused on making quality productions that would make just enough money that the company was sustainable—and over 32 years, I’ve managed to do that.
But it really has built all to this: if I can make the movies that are in my head—make them real, and vibrant, and emotional, and compelling—I think they’ll be really good movies.
And they have the potential be hugely profitable.
I just can’t guarantee it. Nobody can.
If you’re not sick of me, check out this announcement video with my friend Charlie Vignola (from our YouTube screenwriting “power hour”):
And, again, here is the wefunder link.
Not to sound like Colombo, but one last last thing...
I have truly lived a charmed personal and professional life. My family and loved ones have given me every opportunity to pursue my dreams. And so have complete strangers, many of whom have become my dear friends.
Even today, I have been able to work from home (freelancing and screenwriting) and spend way more time our kids then most people get to do.
That is truly a gift that all of you have given me, and my family, ever since I was a kid myself in 1990.
So even if this wefunder thing tanks—and I end up doing who-knows-what the rest of my life—I’ve had way more joy and good fortune than most people can ever hope to experience.
So truly, I just wanted to say thank you for that.