DIAL 9 TO GET OUT: A darkly comic horror thriller
DIAL 9 TO GET OUT: A darkly comic horror thriller
A temp trying to survive - and an executive about to make a killing. A feature film packed with black comedy and a touch of horror.
A temp trying to survive - and an executive about to make a killing. A feature film packed with black comedy and a touch of horror. Read more
About this project
THANK YOU EVERYBODY! WE DIDN'T REACH OUR GOAL, BUT IF YOU'RE STILL INTERESTED IN SEEING THIS FILM GET MADE, AND IF YOU WANT TO HELP MAKE IT, GO TO http://cassavafilms.com/contact AND LET'S TALK!
This funny, fast-paced 2-minute animated pitch will give you a taste of this (live action) film's dark humor, and it lays out the first half of the story as well:
WHAT IS THIS MOVIE?
It's a feature-length thriller - with black comedy and horror elements - about a smart young woman named Robin who accepts an under-the-table temporary position at a tech company in suburban California. She has just days to find out that the charming man who runs the company likes to hunt down and murder his temps - and that she's the next target on his list.
"Office Space meets The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" is not a bad jumping-off point for describing this film.
WHY DOES IT NEED TO BE MADE?
Because I love suspense. I love the tension in shows like Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead and Hannibal, and yet I don't find this tension in many feature films today. DIAL 9 TO GET OUT will be one of those rare films.
There also aren't enough thrillers out there with truly interesting characters - especially female characters - and I want this to be one of those too.
But mostly I just want to glue you to the edge of your seat for an hour and a half. When you watch this movie, I want you to be able to say, "Well, that was awesome."
DIAL 9 TO GET OUT is funny, scary, smart, unpredictable, a little thought-provoking, and definitely popcorn-friendly. I want it to do for working late at the office what Jaws did for going to the beach.
SO IS THIS OR IS THIS NOT A HORROR FLICK?
Okay, yes, there's a maniac in a mask who goes around stabbing people. But it's about the tension, not the gore, so DIAL 9 TO GET OUT is more for the Breaking Bad crowd than for the You're Next crowd (though I hope the You're Next crowd likes it too). The emphasis is on a tight story, crisp dialogue, and rich suspense.
If I do sell this movie to a distributor, they might market it as horror, which is what happened when Lionsgate released my second feature Claustrophobia (which they retitled "Serial Slayer" for the English language market).
But between you and me and the blood-spattered water cooler, this is a thriller.
Story is everything, and DIAL 9 TO GET OUT has a great one. Now that we're at the end of the campaign, I've posted pages 1-67 of the full 105 page screenplay for all to read. You can read it here.
If you want to know how the movie ends, you'll have to get it funded!
MARK TAPIO KINES, Writer/Director. I've made two feature films. Foreign Correspondents (1999) was the first movie to be crowdfunded online. It starred Melanie Lynskey (Heavenly Creatures, Up in the Air), Wil Wheaton (Big Bang Theory, Star Trek: TNG), Corin Nemec (Stargate SG-1, Parker Lewis Can't Lose), Lisa LoCicero (General Hospital), and other fine folks. Claustrophobia (2003) also starred Ms. Lynskey, as well as Mary Lynn Rajskub (24), Sheeri Rappaport (NYPD Blue), and Judy O'Dea (the original Night of the Living Dead). I've also made a number of short films, I authored a screenwriting course on Lynda.com, and I sometimes write for Indiewire. More about me here.
META VALENTIC, Producer. Meta has produced a number of independent features, including Sundance favorite Urbania, Hunting of Man, Ladrón que roba a ladrón, and several shorts. In her TV life, she's worked on hit shows such as Castle (we shot my talking head in the DIAL 9 intro video on the Castle set), Bones, and Lost.
SCOTT SPEARS, Director of Photography. Scott's got more than 45 credits as DP and cameraman. Among his accomplishments: winning an Emmy for the short film The Birthmark and shooting Richard Hatch's 1999 Battlestar Galactica trailer, which revived interest in the show and led to the reboot. Scott was the DP for Foreign Correspondents and I'm happy to work with him again. He shot the creepy office building footage in the DIAL 9 intro video.
CHRISTOPHER FARRELL, Composer. The extremely gifted Mr. Farrell wrote the scores for my first two features Foreign Correspondents and Claustrophobia (as well as several of my shorts, including A Trophy). He's also scored a ton of genre pictures with great titles such as Dead Scared, Nightmare Man, and House of the Witchdoctor. That's his music you hear in the intro video.
WILLIAM LEBEDA, Titles Designer/Visual Effects Supervisor. William did the amazing title work on the intro video as well as my first two features. As Creative Director of Picture Mill, William has designed the title sequences for a slew of major Hollywood releases, most famously for David Fincher's Panic Room, but also for Sam Raimi's Drag Me to Hell, Jason Bateman's Bad Words, War of the Worlds, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Signs, Anchorman, and many others.
WHAT ABOUT THE CAST? ANY CELEBRITIES?
We're casting this movie the old-fashioned way: by holding auditions and hiring the very best actor for each role.
Back when Meta and I were trying to raise a million bucks from Hollywood types, they kept saying, "You need to cast bankable names so we can sell the picture to foreign territories." Yes, even if an actor is not right for the part or is impossible to work with. And of course, said actor's salary would eat up half the budget. A gloomy proposition.
One of the great things about crowdfunding this film is that there's no pressure to be "bankable". We can cast who we want. So if a complete unknown is better for a particular part than someone who was on a semi-popular TV show 15 years ago, we're going to cast that unknown.
That said, we're not dumb. If Jennifer Lawrence wants to star in this movie, she's gonna star in this movie. And in fact I have a good track record with casting well-known actors: I got Wil Wheaton and Mary Lynn Rajskub to star in my first two features, with little money and no industry connections. DIAL 9 will be a SAG-AFTRA signatory production, allowing us access to the best talent, so I will do everything in my power to land some recognizable actors.
MARK, ARE YOU REALLY THE FIRST PERSON TO EVER CROWDFUND A MOVIE?
Yes! I earned this claim to fame in 1998, when I raised $150,000 in finishing funds for Foreign Correspondents through my website for it. (Warning: ancient site.)
And here's an interview I did for a PBS show called "Net Cafe" in the summer of 1999. Dig that long hair! Ah, the '90s.
HOW DOES THAT $120,000 GET SPENT?
We're all about transparency here at the DIAL 9 Kickstarter page. So here are preliminary figures, based on a 12-day shooting schedule, with 3-4 weeks of pre-production and 2-3 months of post-production.
- $12,000 goes back to Kickstarter and Amazon for their commissions.
- $8,000 goes back to YOU - in the form of all those DVDs, Blu-rays, T-shirts, flash drives, shipping, etc.
- $5,000 for pre-production (office space for auditions and meetings, salaries for casting director, production staff, etc.).
- $30,000 for production crew salaries (based on 20 full-time crew members).
- $8,000 for cast salaries (based on the SAG-AFTRA Ultra-Low Budget rate of $100 a day per actor, plus agency commissions and SAG-AFTRA pension & health fees).
- $3,000 for 2 weeks digital camera package rental.
- $20,000 for lighting/grip/electric rentals, costumes, props, and set dressing.
- $3,000 for production insurance (required).
- $10,000 for main location rental (suburban office building) for 10 shooting days. The other 2 shooting days will be at (hopefully free) private homes.
- $7,000 for meals and craft services.
- $10,000 for post-production (editing, sound editing, music composition, titles).
- $4,000 for final sound mix and digital mastering.
If we can score any deals and use some of that money for higher production values, we will. (Anybody got an office building that we can shoot in?)
Here's a trailer for my newest short A Trophy. Everybody who backs the DIAL 9 campaign at $9 or more gets to see this short in its entirety. While I am exceedingly proud of this dark little film, its visual style is completely different from DIAL 9 TO GET OUT.
Below are the two different T-shirt designs that you can choose from. After the end of the campaign, we will contact you about your preference and size.
THIS COULD BE YOU:
If enough people ask nicely at the end of the campaign, we will also print style #2 (the shirt on the right) as a white graphic on a black T-shirt.
Aside from making movies, I'm also the author and host of Screenwriting Fundamentals, a tutorial on Lynda.com. Here's a sample:
I've gotten a lot of requests from people who want me to critique their screenplays. I have always told them no. But for 10 screenwriters who back DIAL 9 TO GET OUT at the $450 level, I will say yes! This won't be just a perfunctory glance, either. I will really spend time with your script, pointing out what works and suggesting fixes for what doesn't.
These make great holiday cards, "save the date" announcements, direct mailers for your business, etc. You send me the background artwork, and I'll do the magic. I spend hours making these things, so it's worth your pledge.
Here are two examples, using graphics from the DIAL 9 Kickstarter campaign. (They're heavily Photoshopped: the hallways were in Columbus, Ohio, and I was in my bathroom in L.A.!) Your cards don't need to be this creepy. Unless you want them to be.
(Please note: I may ham it up in these photos, but I am NOT an actor, and I will NOT be starring in DIAL 9 TO GET OUT.)
A lot of filmmakers offer speaking parts as a reward, but isn't it weird that they won't tell you up front what you're going to say? If you're going to cough up $1,100, you should know what you're in for.
Below are the lines for "GARY" (the male character) and "MELISSA" (the female character). They're not Shakespearean monologues. But you will come off well, and the audience will enjoy your little moment. I promise.
Yes, Melissa has a little more dialogue than Gary. But whoever plays Gary gets to work with the movie's leading lady, which will make up for it.
Risks and challenges
This is where I have to say that there are plenty of things that could derail this production. An earthquake could hit us in the middle of the shoot, or our leading lady could run off with the Hare Krishnas.
But I have already written and directed two independent features. Each production had its share of challenges (my favorite might be the Claustrophobia production sound recordist having to get his wisdom teeth removed on the first day of the shoot), but there was nothing that couldn't be overcome. In the end, I finished both films and I sold them. The fact that I'm coming back for a third feature tells you how committed I am to making movies. It's hard work, but I finish every film I start.
Foreign Correspondents was shot on 35mm, filmed all over California, and cost $500,000 to make. Claustrophobia was shot on SD consumer video, mostly in one house, and cost $60,000 to make. DIAL 9 TO GET OUT has a budget, scope, and shooting schedule right in between those two. We do have some particular challenges: There will be tricky stuntwork. There will be messy practical effects (blood). We're going to have to make every penny of our budget count. But with a solid cast and crew - and lots and lots and lots of planning - I know we can handle it.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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