MERC follows a mercenary named Jack. He lives in a not to distant, war-torn future. In his world, being a mercenary is like being a day laborer or a handy man. Jack spends his days in a market in a demilitarized sector of the city. He works out of a small shack and spends his time trying to sell his skills to people on the street. The problem is, no one seems to care. The film follows Jacks day as he fails time and time again to gain employment (often through lying and trickery). Jack is accompanied by his neighbor Carl. A local clothing distributor who is always chipper and equally clueless. Jack and Carl have a very "Homer and Flanders" type of relationship. At the end of the film Jack finds himself in a dangerous situation that could either be the big break he has been searching for, or it may cost him his life.
MERC is filled with different brands of comedy, ranging from dark humor, absurdist, and slap stick. Blending these elements in an immersive and original setting creates a backdrop for the film that should keep viewers intently watching and laughing. Even if they don't know why.
MERC is a 15 page short script. It is an original story based off of a concept photo taken for the Canon Photo Competition. The script is locked but is still going through minor tweaks in order to accommodate our location and actors. All principle actors have been casted and a large amount of extras have shown interest through our facebook page.
The Shoot is taking place August 9-12th of this summer. The 9th is being used as a set up day and grabbing of introduction "hero shots" with our main actor. The 10th is our "Extras Day." We will be grabbing all the crowd shots and all shots with large group extras. The 11th is for our "heavy dialogue" scenes and the finale. The 12th is a "back up day" in case we go over schedule.
Currently we have different groups of people helping with pre production. We have a casting director that has started an add campaign in the area to recruit extras. We have an art director who is painting all our set dressings and signs. Our costume director has has designed all the principle actors wardrobes and has assembled most of them.
One of the big things we want to do with this film is to do "everything in camera." We will be doing color correction in post production but all the special effects will be in camera. We have spent the past 4 months building and buying everything we for the sequences. All effects have been tested and are ready to go.
Most of our actors and crew know each other and have worked with each other before. We keep the mood on set light and fun. We are all open to ideas and collaborate to make every project flow.
A lot of pre-production has been done on this film thus far. Because we plan on having a lot of extras on set we need to buy items to help the production go as smoothly as possible. We will be buying crew shirts and ID tags to help organize and coordinate the activities. These items will also be used as rewards for kickstarter funding.
Overall the funds will be used in 4 main purchasing areas.
1). Gear - We need to rent sound and lighting equipment just like any other film. Most of our film is outdoors so we are renting silks, diffusion, reflectors and 1200 HMI's.
2). Food - We are planning on having around 100 background extras for our second day of shooting. We want to keep everyone happy; and that takes slat, sugar, and pizza. We have had dozens of people already volunteer to show up. Now we want to make sure they have a good time while they are helping us out.
3). Crew - A lot of the people that are crewing for us are friends from college and friends we have met in the industry since college. While this project is a labor of love, we are still all professional adults. We would like to pay our crew for their time. While it is probably not up to the current industry rates, we still want to give them something. We want our crew to know that they are important to us and that we value their time and effort.
4).Sets - We want this film to be visually dense. A lot of things going on in each frame. We have some artist friends that are currently helping us with creating our sets and set dressings. Some of the raw materials are free but the majority of them have to be bought.
The rest of the money goes toward the normal incidentals you need to make a film: makeup, costumes, trailer rentals, insurance, etc.
(we own our own camera gear; that's why it's not listed anywhere.)
Risks and challenges
This film faces challenges just like any other. Actors not showing up, crew not showing up, gear not working, bad weather. The production team has discussed all of this. We have encountered all of these things before on previous projects. While they are never easy and always unwelcome, we feel confident we can fix anything that goes wrong. In the past when actors don't show, we replace them with one that has. We will have plenty of extras on set, so we can shuffle actors if needed. If crew doesn't show, we all just work harder. If gear is not working, we just live without it. Use the b-cam as primary camera, use smaller lights closer to subject, backup footage on secondary computer, etc.
The biggest challenge we face right now is with our location. We have the perfect location picked, and we have permission to be there on our shooting dates BUT we have been told that there is a chance the building might be demolished before we get to shoot. We are currently looking for a new location just in case we need it. We are shooing in a town that the whole crew is familiar with and knows well. We should be able to come up with a new location relatively quick.
Overall, this is not our first production, just the first kickstarter we have ever created. Our team is a group of highly talented, highly motivated people who want to see this project happen. If given the proper funding, this project will succeed. It's never easy, but nothing worth doing ever is!
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