Lights, camera, heist! A secret second unit hijacks their film company's current terrible production and improves it behind the director's back.
"Coup de Théâtre" is a feature-length narrative dramatic comedy. It tells the story of Miles, an ambitious young filmmaker hoping to find work in the film industry. He happens across a production company that promises him a job as a production assistant, so long as he doesn't do anything to upset the short-fused director.
The position is highly unglamorous, but he accepts it with glee, enthusiastic to finally be working on an honest-to-goodness film, even though the director, Adrian, strikes him as someone who's not quite in touch with how to make a movie. When seeds of doubt about the quality of the currently in-production picture are sown, Miles takes it upon himself to look over the company's past filmography. Miles is appalled to learn that every film they've ever produced has been a complete and utter train wreck. Contrived plots, hackneyed dialogue, anachronistic period films, laughable action staging, pitifully low production values and offensive lack of skills are just some of the problems the company has — no matter what genre, the filmmakers seem to have an uncanny ability to one-up each atrocity with a more shocking atrocity. Miles is completely dismayed.
But despite such a disappointing revelation, a fire is lit inside of him. He becomes determined not to let himself work on such rubbish without a fight, and acquires a copy of the script, spending the entire night rewriting the film to his standards. Miles throws out the sexism, adds depth to the characters, adds a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor and mercilessly gives clichés the axe. Knowing full well that Adrian takes a somewhat laid-back stance and doesn't keep on the up-and-up with the film his directing, Miles realizes that he can slip his modified shooting scripts in with the daily work schedules. However, no amount of rewrites could ever save a film directed by Adrian's ruthlessly efficient yet slapdash manner. Adrian refuses to let the actors try their own interpretations for line delivery and keeps the rest of the crew on a tight leash. Unless Miles were to take a more hands-on approach, the film is doomed… which is precisely what he decides to do.
First a lone rebel, later a leader of disillusioned veterans, Miles manages to turn the actors and some of the crew to his cause in making the company's first-ever non-terrible movie. Working on Adrian's film during the day, and sneaking off to set things right in the after-hours, Miles and his co-conspirators stage a daring caper for the love of the craft.
Austin Hillebrecht and I feel that in many ways, we've been doing our research for this film the moment we made our pact to become a filmmaking duo for life. Now that we're a bit older and have more experience, I feel comfortable in it being a project that comes straight from the heart. It's our love letter to filmmaking — pulling from what has happened and what we've learned in the past ten years making movies together.
"Coup de Théâtre" is our largest-scale production to date, and the amount of resources we'll need to make this will certainly surpass our budgets of the past. However, we have already gathered a substantial amount of resources, including the majority of the equipment we plan to use. We'll be working in high-definition (1080p) video, using the revolutionary HD-DSLR video cameras, the Canon 5D Mark II and Canon 7D, which will allow us a versatile setup for beautiful, multi-cam shooting.
I firmly believe that the story for "Coup de Théâtre" is the finest piece of writing we have ever accomplished. We've taken much away from our own experiences in the wild world of film and added a healthy dose of unconventional twists, humor, and emotion to offset what might seem like the inherently familiar territory of a "heist film," and have received immensely positive feedback from fellow writers and filmmakers on the current iteration of the screenplay. I have never felt so passionate about a project before, and will do everything in my power to ensure that high production values and commitment to quality are at the forefront of the production.
Over the weekend of November 20th – 22nd, Austin and I held auditions for the primary roles, and we were absolutely floored by the wonderful performers who have joined our team. We greatly look forward to working with our actors, who we are confident will raise the film to a whole new level. The actors (along with the crew) are volunteering their time and are working for free, but we fully intend to feed them all during production, which is going to require a bit more money than our current budget can fully support.
In addition, we need to raise funds to cover other costs. We need a high-quality field monitor during shooting, funds to hire an audio professional to record Hollywood-quality sound, and a budget for our art department for gathering and making props, costumes, and set pieces. The amount we have specified is the minimum we will need to complete this film the way we envision it. However, the more we raise, the better — a larger budget will ensure that the film is made to the highest degree of quality, and could allow us to secure even better equipment (such as the Canon 1D Mark IV, an astonishing camera with unparalleled performance in low-light shooting).
We have begun securing our shooting locations, and have confidence that filming can be completed by April of 2010, of which most will be shot in and around Portland. Late spring and the summer will be spent almost entirely on post-production, including sound design, special effects work, and working with a dedicated composer to score the film. We are pleased to announce that we have recently been given permission by the terrific independent band Pomplamoose (www.pomplamoose.com) to incorporate their music into the soundtrack, which Austin and I have felt would be a perfect fit for quite a while.
We stand a lot to gain from this film — I cannot imagine a more important or more logical extension of our blossoming film careers than to commit ourselves to this film. Once the piece is finished, we have no intention of concluding our involvement in it. With the level of quality we know we can achieve, we'll be submitting to as many film festivals as we can afford by the fall and winter of 2010, including Sundance, Cannes, and as many others as we can possibly afford, and we'd love to continue our past traditions of holding screenings in Portland (in the past, we've put on benefit showings for the art programs of Portland Public Schools and raised over $1000).
We would love for this film to find an audience and a distributor, but what we hope to gain most from making this film is to have an incredibly impressive feature to show our skill and dedication — one which will give organizations and backers the confidence to allow us funding for future original film proposals. We want to do justice to the stories we want to tell, and completing this film to the highest of our ability will enable us to make that next critical leap forward. We are passionate and dedicated to our craft, and if we are able to raise enough funds to create this in accordance to our vision, we will commit to making "Coup de Théâtre" a film that we will be proud to have as the launching points of our careers.
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Your name will be listed on-screen in the credits as an associate producer, and you'll be kept in the loop with project updates as the film develops.
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As above, plus complimentary access to a digital download copy of the finished film!
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As above, and you'll get a DVD or Blu-ray copy (your choice!) of "Coup de Théâtre" loaded with special features and behind-the-scenes material.
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You'll get the digital download + DVD/Blu-ray, with a dedicated space in the "Special Thanks," in addition to an opportunity to appear within the film itself if you live near (or can travel to) Portland, OR... if not, no obligations! We need to film a wild and crazy fake "highlights reel" for a series of terrible fictional movies within the film, and we'd love to have you involved in a brief cameo appearance! It will be fun.
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In addition to all the above benefits, you'll get an invitation to the Portland premiere (TBA 2010).
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"Executive Producer" status will be bestowed upon you! You'll be proudly recognized as such in the credits, in addition to a big, big, big special thanks from us for helping us make our vision come to life. (Plus everything above!)
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For going beyond the call of duty, you'll receive every reward on this page as well as a personalized animated recognition from the one and only Edward Renaldo Fopperschmitz himself for "saving his pocketbook" (see video).
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