Film Critic: The Movie
Film Critic: The Movie
From the best-selling book, "Film Critic", comes a feature film in the grand tradition of Christopher Guest meets Calvin & Hobbes.
From the best-selling book, "Film Critic", comes a feature film in the grand tradition of Christopher Guest meets Calvin & Hobbes. Read more
About this project
Two years ago, in order to get better at my craft, I decided to read a book on film criticism. I went over to Amazon, typed in "Film Critic" and quickly realized there was no book by that name. "Huh", I thought to myself, "Why don't I just write a book called "Film Critic?" So that's exactly what I did.
Fast-forward from the genesis of the idea to the execution, things worked out far better than I ever could have expected:
There were the great reviews.
For a hot minute I beat up on One Direction:
And people read it on the beach?!
So, as you'd guess, I was highly tempted to rest on my laurels. And rest I did, for a solid year. Then I googled "Film Critic Movie". Wanna guess what came up? I'll give you a hint ... nothing resembling a movie. Which left the field wide open for this guy (I'm this guy)!
Last summer I was in the successfully Kickstarted film Whoop Dreams with the crew from FilmDrunk.com, Vince Mancini, Ben Kaplan, and Matt Lieb, all filmed and edited by Tall Tale Productions. Naturally, I decided all of them needed to be heavily involved again, and they readily agreed. Born ready, those guys.
You may also know me from my twice-weekly podcast (also extremely well-reviewed on iTunes!) with Brad Brevet of RopeofSilicon.com, which will allow me to get the word out and give updates - made all the better by Brad making fun of me!
Now, about that adaptation, in the grand style of all adaptations ever, it will have very little to do with the book. Oh, some of the situations will seem eerily familiar, but Film Critic: The Movie will be a comedy about a passion, whereas "Film Critic: Los Book" was part memoir, part "how-to", and fully "Laremy propaganda". The film will give me a much better chance to make fun of myself, to play the fool, and (hopefully) to force my fellow brothers and sisters-in-arms to help me produce a great comedy. You know, for laughter. Doesn't anybody remember laughter?
You know what Film Critic: The Movie will be? Just a little something to break the monotony of all those hardcore superhero films that have gotten to be a little bit out of control. But how are we gonna get there? What are the specifics of getting this choo-choo train of hilarity rolling?
Let's talk ...
Naturally, I'll be incurring plenty of costs on this project, unless my Kickstarter page makes the Drudge Report as a "Hollywood elite scum project!" That said, if the project does find funding, here is a rough sketch of the finances.
Production Crew: I plan on using Tall Tale Productions, the fine people who produced/directed/edited Whoop Dreams for a significant portion of the shooting. They do great work, so it seems only fair to throw a few of the dolla dolla bills their way. When Tall Tale isn't involved, we'll be doing a mix of local production crews and straight up guerrilla filmmaking. Expected Spend: $3000
Which leads nicely to ...
Gear: I have some of the needed equipment, but it couldn't hurt to add a few lenses and an alternate camera for multiple shots. Probably a rental in here too, in terms of lights or backdrops. Expected Spend: $3500
Actors: I believe in paying people for a hard day's work, so I'll be paying scale for what studios call a "super low budget production". No one will get rich, or die trying, but they'll at least be able to buy a new pair of pumas to wear to parties. Expected Spend: $3500
Music Clearances: I've had a vision of the soundtrack for a long time, and I'm hopeful that the fact that the artists I want are relatively unknown will cut down on costs. However, as music companies are the devil, I reserve the right to just play the kazoo for some of the songs. Don't tempt me, music royalty people! Expected Spend: $2500
Travel: I plan on shooting in five locations, more on that below, which is going to place a strain on the budget. Hopefully I can use miles for some of this, but with an extremely tight shooting schedule comes rather difficult travel arrangements. I'll be staying with friends and loved ones for most of the filming locations (whether they know it or not) but the airfare might be somewhat pricey once added all together. Expected Spend: $3000
Post Production, Festivals, Other: Applying to film festivals takes money, as do editing bays and possible lo-fi advertising. I already own the needed URLS, so that's taken care of. Food on set, props, penicillin, you name it, I've probably forgotten it, and thus we'll need it. Expected Spend: $2000
Now, if you add up all of those dollars, it equals more than our goal, I realize, and this is on the highly conservative side of budgeting. Still, we'll be grateful and likely crying with joy just to make it to $12,000. But if we somehow make more than our goal? Well then, I'll be detailing exactly what we're going to do with the extra money via Kickstarter updates, as well as introducing some tasty stretch goals. Could this mean CGI? A guest appearance from Smaug the Dragon? Dare to dream!
Risks and challenges
We'll be shooting in five locations, which on the face of it seems bonkers, but if you really dive into the decision, it's far more bonkers than it is at first blush. Here the locations, and why I'm using them:
San Francisco: To weave in Matt Lieb (as a therapist, naturally) and Vince Mancini (as the arch-villain beret-wearing foil film critic).
Chicago: For the "team" aspect of the film. I won't say much other than to think "The Office" (BBC version).
Miami: Movie junkets will be explored in-depth in Miami. Oh yes.
Seattle: I have to shoot in my home town, no way around that. Characters such as the "Publicist" and "The Love Interest" should expect to make an appearance here.
Singapore: Gotta have Ben Kaplan! He's to be a film critic agent, because we definitely need those, and the exotic backdrop of Singapore will be just what the film doctor ordered.
All of these locations will be a challenge, in one way or another, but the five-way segmented script is actually a much easier way to film. For instance, I only need seven to ten usable minutes from Asia, and another ten to fifteen from Florida. Over the course of two to three days, this should be doable! At least that's what I tell myself, late at night, when I'm quivering like a boy just deluged by a hailstorm.
In reality, having interviewed dozens of wonderful directors, and been on a set or two, I've picked up a few tricks that normal filmmakers wouldn't necessarily have in their bag. Additionally, I've got a great set of resources at the ready to criticize everything I do - that's what running in a pack of wild film aficionados entitles you to!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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