Celebrity Casting, Equipment Purchasing, and Fourth Draft

This week has been filled mostly with detailed equipment research and purchases, script writing, e-mail answering, and casting contact work.

It’s pretty boring to write about the equipment purchases (or too lengthy to read about), but very time consuming. I will post pictures and final lists later. Long story short – we have the equipment to record a movie! Packages are being ordered and other packages are arriving every day.

We have finalized our 100 actors casting list, their letters, produced all the puzzles, created every website, and my mom is organizing the shipments. She is folding, packaging, and sending them off in the next couple weeks. Our friend, Cathy Tracy, knows calligraphy and is penning the addresses of as many as possible to help draw attention to the packages and get the opened.

The fourth draft is finished! The third draft drifted a little off course in making so many drastic changes, but the fourth draft fixed them and made it stronger.

The script (third draft) was nominated for an AWARD at American University. It is the end-of-the year competition for undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Communications. It is very competitive, and we will find out the results Friday.

The generous folks over at Tryptonaut Pictures offered to donate 27,000 feet of Kodak 500T 35mm film stock (about $2,000 worth!). That records many hours of professional footage. If we can find a way to use the film without impacting our budget, we will be able to accept the donation and make something cool.

We are waiting to hear back from the kind person with a possible movie studio lead (should hear something tomorrow).

Web traffic is up to about 7,000 visitors this month. We are about to break the maximum web hits allowed for my current website ownership plan.

I post in 30 Craig’s List cities every two days.

A music supervisor offered to come on board and raise money to pay for music licensing fees and his own salary. That’s an offer no one can refuse. I will write more when things are confirmed.

Front Page Story

Our story was on the front page of American University’s website: www.american.edu. It is gone now though, so here’s a screen capture of it.


Major Studio, equipment, new crew, celebrities,

One extremely kind individual offered to pitch the project to his friend in a high-ranking position at a major film studio (cannot disclose the studio at the moment) and two interested producers.

Over 1,500 casting applicants. Audition tapes are starting to trickle in.

We have a makeup artist! Sarah-Beth Alfree has already arranged a makeup sponsorship and an assistant (Scott Forrester) to cover the hair and makeup of the film. Both Sarah-Beth and Scott live in Birmingham.

We have a Social Media Consultant as well. My friend, Tony Romm is an experienced journalist and has offered his help spreading the word through creative online mediums.

Equipment orders are in full swing. The sound equipment deals have been arranged. The list price of our equipment is $6,380, and we are getting it for $2,917. This is thanks to James Lunsford’s smart equipment research and Sennheiser’s generous deal.

The Red Camera is in shipment. This week, we also ordered 3 lenses, a hard drive, a package of 50 glass camera filters, a tripod, and professional equipment cases. I will post details and pictures of equipment down the road to serve as a reference for anyone interested.

Several interested investors have contacted me to read the script.

Southwest said no to the project as is, but they are excited to work together if the film develops into a project with more promise of distribution (i.e. if a celebrity signs on).

I got kicked off Facebook for promoting the movie too hard. Even though this is an annoyance, I see it as a crowning victory to extreme promotion (and hopefully no one was annoyed in the process. (They have agreed to let me back on under a personal account with terms of cooperation).

We finished up the celebrity letter and celebrity production information and are ready to distribute the puzzle packages.

Accomplished actor and Vestavia Hills community member, Michael Papajohn (the robber in Spiderman) has agreed to help out with the film. We are going to talk more next week.

The fourth draft of the screenplay is underway (after a third draft consulting session with my smart professor, Claudia Myers).

Craig’s List posting is the #1 reason for most of these developments.


Red One Order (Serial)

We ordered the Red One camera yesterday and received our camera number! It's a christening of sorts in the industry. I will post the full list of what Red equipment we ordered and the price paid when all orders are complete.

Steven Poster Shoot

John is working with Steven Poster (Donnie Darko cinematographer) on a documentary, and John needed someone to cover for a couple hours. I didn't work too long, but working with their crew is a great opportunity for John, and I certainly learned a lot in the brief time I was there.

Look at Steven Poster's work here:


Casting is working, PR, sound decisions, and composing

Casting is working! We have over 1,000 applicants!

We tried a new tactic – Craig’s List (online classifieds). I tried it a while ago, but my posts were deleted because you cannot post the same post twice, and you cannot post in more than one city. To make a long story short, we circumvented the spam filter and can now post all over the country. So far we have contacted only 60 cities. There are plenty more cities around the US, and we can always re-post, so needless to say, the doors are wide open for casting!

Fenix and I have developed a more streamlined audition process and means of auto-responding to applicants. We would prefer to be personable, but it’s simply not possible at this point.

Along with inquiring actors, we have had many telephone calls and e-mails from people who want to help the project (casting assistants, production assistants, make up artists, more composers, sound designers, equipment company owners… even a trick rope rodeo person and a craft services provider!)

The celebrity casting is moving forward as well. Will’s package design is finished! It’s attached below. My parents printed it out, and my mom is cutting and folding each of the packages.

Christie finished her second draft of the celebrity letter and is working on the third. It’s coming right along.

Amanda (PR) is working on the public relations campaign. She is very busy this week, but she contacted two newspapers and will get back to me soon with phone interviews for journalists. She will also respond soon with the proper contact information to get in touch with celebrities so we can send out the packages.

This week, we are ordering the Red Camera! It should arrive in a couple weeks. John has his first hands-on experience with the camera this week in his cinematography, so at least we aren’t buying blind. We are making more ‘buy’ decisions every day.

Our sound consultant, James Lunsford has been working full-time on the project for the past month. We have not mentioned his involvement as we were not certain if he would be able to be the sound designer. He has developed the equipment purchase list for audio and is working on finalizing our purchase decisions (taking from quotes from five sources – including Sennheiser).

A very talented and pro-active composer, Richey Rynkowski won’t listen to my plea to “wait for composer auditions.” He is taking charge of this project and composing music anyway. He sent two songs based on the online cues at www.kentonbartlett.com/script. They sound GREAT! I’ve attached them below so you can listen. He put two days of work into these songs knowing that composing was premature. He is also well connected with a conductor and a performing orchestra and offered to pay for live recording of his score. Even though we can’t promise anything at this point, this is the kind of determination that stands out.

After the first two songs, he said he wanted to compose more original songs. If he’s going to go against advice of waiting for auditions and work on the music full time, then I feel it’s my responsibility to give him instruction. I sent over several musical references, and he is working full-steam on some new songs. He is obviously very determined, and we are very excited to hear more of his work!

We keep sending out more e-mails to ask for help from a variety of places, and we will keep you updated on any leads.

Richey Rynkowski - Original Compositions

Richey Rynkowski's first original composition based on the 23 songs that correspond to the script. He was pro-active and composed prior to the composer audition.

Richey Rynkowski's second original composition.


Final Package Design

Will's final package design. My dad printed them, and my mom is cutting, folding, packaging, and sending them out as soon as we get the addresses.

New Celebrity Casting Site Design

The re-vamped celebrity casting site to be consistent with Will's final package design. http://www.missingpiecescasting.com/johnnydepp.


Newsy News

Some big news… My friend, neighbor, and ex-babysitter, Amanda Leesburg started and runs a very successful Public Relations company in Atlanta. I contacted her to see if she could help find someone to help with casting and with PR… she offered to help on the project immediately!

She represented Jane Fonda last year, and is responsible for Animal Planet, Jeff Corwin, some Nike accounts, and helped cast the TV show, America’s Got Talent. She is extremely friendly and connected, and she offered to post the casting call around the internet, talk with her friends in the industry, hold casting sessions for us (announced through radio) in Atlanta and in Birminhgam. She is also very connected in the celebrity circuit and is going to help attract celebrities to the project. After discussing the possibility of working with celebrities, she said it was highly probable that we could get some people on board!

The script is now registered with the Writer’s Guild of America!

Fenix is hard at work on casting. We finalized audition plans, script excerpts, and the casting form. We should be getting some audition tapes in very soon. We gathered a list of about 20 websites and e-mail list-serves to post our casting call on, and that should also increase responses.

Christie and I are still working on drafting letters for celebrities. We had two versions and sent out for votes on which angle people liked better. She took the feedback and is working on a new version.

Friends are still sending e-mails out to help with the casting.

The puzzles are in! Our first 25 puzzles have been delivered for packaging prep, and they look great. Will is almost done with the packaging, and they will be ready to send out as soon as the letters, addresses, and customized websites are in place.

Southwest airlines should get back by the end of the week with their decision on helping with the project.

I talked to the Birmingham film commissioner this week on the phone. He finished the script, liked it, and wants to help see it through. He walked me through a list of about 15 questions I made up. He cleared a lot of things up and is working on the project to help us out in securing locations and making production run smoothly.

John and I honing in our equipment decisions, and we have contacted several professionals to get their feedback and guidance on the project.

We have a comprehensive sound equipment list created by our prospective sound designer, James Lunsford. He has been an enormous help on the project! He came up with an equipment list spreadsheet and got quotes from about four different places. Our budget for sound is $3,000, and his product list came in at $2,994. He’s awesome. We sent out his product list to another place in the DC area for a second opinion.

Also, my former sound professor/friend/sound consultant, Greg Smith is selling his extra-long boom pole (usually sells for about $600) to us for $100!

Puzzles are in

The puzzles are in! Here is a scan of one of the puzzles.

Film Pitch Video

Even though this is humiliating, it may be of interest in documenting the film. This is a final project presentation for business class. To make it fit with the class, I adapted this film to be pitched as part of a long-term, 5-film partnership with Lionsgate Entertainment. I wanted to take it seriously to prepare for possible studio pitches in the future.


Third Draft and More

The third draft is finished! You can read it online at www.kentonbartlett.com/script. Two new songs for this draft are que 10 and que 17. E-mail me for the track-changes version.

Casting is moving along. Several friends have signed up to take charge of contacting institutions within a single state. We used a Facebook group to get people involved with it. We have had about 30 responses from interested actors/actresses. So far it’s been mainly friends, but several professional thespians have inquired.

We sent off the first 25 puzzles for production, and they will arrive in approximately two weeks. Will is finalizing the packaging designs so we can send them out. Christie submitted a draft of the letter to celebrities, and she is sending two more drafts tonight. By next week, we should have a finalized version and direction for how to go about sending these letters.

We posted an ad for used equipment on the Red Camera user forum. We have gotten several responses and advice on how to go about procuring equipment for production.

Abbott had her first chance to shine on the legal front this week. She drafted a professional, thorough, 4-page contract to be used in signing on our sound designer. We will slightly modify the contract for other crew members, but it was important to make the contract for the new person because we are essentially strangers and have not worked together in the past.

I spoke to Southwest Airlines brand manager. She said they would consider helping on the project if we included a scene involving airlines. I added the scene, sent the third draft over, and we should hear back from them soon with their decision. Hopefully we can get some free flights!

John and I have been doing a lot of heavy research to really figure out what we do and do not need so we can have our final purchase decision in the next couple weeks.

Fundable Collection Over

Our Fundable collection ended. We only raised $390 out of the $10,000 goal.