Despite my being an incredibly dramatic person, drama tends to not be my artistic style. I’m a comedy person.
But then I met Colin Hinckley, who loves drama and, specifically, horror. And we decided to write a horror film together called Buy In, a tense character study about capitalism and power and desperation, so when it came time for me, the director, to make decisions about the look of this project, I was more than a little nervous. And then I had a few ideas and then we shot the film and now we’re preparing to release it into the world at the end of a crowdfunding campaign (more on that later, but spoiler alert- we’re 62% funded!).
…I wanted to share some of my directing choices, because I think it was a great educational opportunity for me, a person who prefers fast talking comedies, to learn how to slow things down and use the camera more strategically than normally.
A big theme in this film is the power different people wield, and no one is more powerful than Marc, the salesman, played by Marshall Taylor Thurman.
Marshall is 6′ 5″, which is an inhuman and absurd height, but also worked in our favor. Colin, who plays Roger, is naturally shorter and less broad shouldered, and we wanted to emphasize that as much as we could. To begin with, we tried to shoot Marshall from really low angles to emphasize his height and size. I wanted the audience to feel him towering over Roger and, as a result, us.
Even when he’s sitting, I wanted him to feel big. To take up more space. To get uncomfortably close the the camera as he rattled off his sales pitch….
Bri Castellini is TVWriter™’s favorite indie web series maker in the world, period. She also does a lot of other things, or as Bri puts it, she’s a “Writer, filmmaker, adjunct prof, and human bulldozer from NYC.” Learn more at www.BriCastellini.com
If you want to make a fiction podcast, setting up a Patreon page is almost de rigueur. Most of the time, especially if you have a small audience, you can make more money with a Patreon account than you can with advertising. Plus you don’t have those obnoxious ads cluttering up your audio masterpiece. You’re not going to get rich, but you might at least be able to pay your cast and crew.
During the month of February I built and launched both a website and a Patreon page for my fiction podcast. Of the two, the Patreon page was the least difficult by an order of magnitude in spite of being just as complex.
Why? Probably because Patreon WANTS you to make money. So they can make money. They have detailed guide documents for both launching a podcast and for running a promotion to increase the number of your patrons.
I followed the promotion guide explicitly, and I had my calendar filled out with things to do for the first 25 days of March! Something EVERY DAY. I even (shock! surprise!) got most of those things set up, ready to go before launch day.
It’s called marketing, folks, and Patreon seems to have a pretty good handle on it.
The hardest thing about this? The icky feeling I get asking other folks, mostly strangers, for money. I’m starting to overcome that, a little, by looking at it this way: I spent most of my life working on the front end and getting paid on the back end; with Patreon I’m (maybe) getting paid on the front end and working on the back end.
And, when I think about it, that’s the way most artists make their money. When I do a commission for my carving, I always ask for 50% up front.That gives me a cushion for tools and materials and time (yes, time costs money) that I need to do the work.
My patrons will pay me money every month, up front, and that will allow me to actually HIRE actors, composers, artists, etc., to produce a piece of work that will entertain the people that give me money.
So if you’re thinking about Patreon, download (and read!) the guides they have. They’ll increase your confidence about trying something new.
Once the campaign has run its course I’ll be back to give you an update.
Bob Tinsley is an artist, writer, boataholic and new audio/podcast fiction writer-producer. A mighty fine one too, as his 2nd and 4th place People’s Pilot 2019 finishes demonstrate.
In November 2016, my good friend Colin and I decided to write a horror short film together. Colin had just finished a stint as Carl in season 2 of Brains (a web series I created and also starred in) and as Kevin in Ace and Anxious (a short film I had written/directed).
He was a big fan of horror and I had been wanting to try my own hand at it, so it was decided: a short film in the horror genre with an idea of our production restrictions in mind as they developed the script. We knew we wanted to keep the cast small, the location singular, and the horror psychological, and within a month we’d written the first draft of what would become Buy In, the story of a charming young salesman and a strange, lonely traveler who find themselves locked in a struggle for control over their own destinies.
Production commenced in January 2018, with a tiny cast and crew of seven people total (4 crew, 3 cast), and post-production was completed the following year in January 2019. Buy In then began its successful festival run, racking up several nominations and award wins.
Why did it take so long?
Money. We were a team of volunteers, who loved working together and wanted to make a creepy film about the horrors of multilevel marketing schemes. Colin and I financed production and post-production with our day job salaries, and we couldn’t be prouder of what we put together. Now, we want to give our short a splashy entrance to the world, and we need your help to once again live burden free.
But isn’t Buy In finished? What’s the money for?
First and foremost, we need your help to settle our debts. We bought in to make this film, and to get it to your screens, we need to pay up, to our incredibly talented cast and crew who also bought in.
More importantly, though, we have an exciting proposition for you. Would you, [insert name here], like to buy in to an exciting new opportunity? It’s called Buy In on Seed&Spark, and here’s how it works:
Step 2: Recruit others to pledge to and follow the campaign! Every new pledge you bring gets you closer to the top. The top of what? Why, our Buy In on Seed&Spark leader board! Compete to become the most valuable salesperson in our international community! Each new level you rise to will unlock a new employee ID card to show off your success to other salespeople, in addition to seeing your name move up our Employee Rankings list on the campaign page.
Please note: this is not a pyramid scheme and we take any claim that it is to be deeply hurtful.
You have been recruited to the Buy In on Seed&Spark team by pledging and following our campaign. Welcome to the team! Now get recruiting by sharing the following message with your friends, enemies, and followers:
Help me climb the ranks of the exciting definitely-not-a-pyramid-scheme by supporting the psychological horror project #BuyInFilm on @seedandspark! Join the team and climb the ranks yourself: seedandspark.com/fund/buy-in
Level 2: Lust
You have recruited 1 additional teammate to the Buy In on Seed&Spark community. Tweet proof of your new recruit’s pledge to us here.
Level 3: Gluttony
You have recruited 2 additional teammates to the Buy In on Seed&Spark community. Tweet proof of your new recruit’s pledges to us here.
Level 4: Greed
You have recruited 4 additional teammates to the Buy In on Seed&Spark community. Tweet proof of your new recruit’s pledges to us here.
Level 5: Platinum Executive Diamond
You and your recruits have personally pledged $666 or more to the Buy In on Seed&Spark community. Tweet proof of your and your recruit’s pledge total to us here.
Is there anything else you need, my supreme overlords?
There is no need for such formalities. As your supreme overlords, we graciously request you simply call us ‘teammate.’
Thank you, truly, for helping us bring this project to a screen near you and to seize the means of production. We are so proud of this project, and we hope you enjoy watching it as much as we’re going to enjoy sucking out your souls into our eternal soul bank. Terms and services apply.
Bri Castellini is an indie filmmaker and Film Community Manager for Seed&Spark, a film crowdfunding platform, as well as an adjunct professor for two MFA programs. Watch the remarkable Ms. Castellini’s award-winning web series, Brains, HERE. See Sam And Pat Are Depressed HERE. This post first appeared on Bri’s wonderfully refreshing blog.
We at TVWriter™ are big admirers of Bri Castellini and her partners in indy interweb and short film production, so it’s with great pleasure that we pass along the following message. (Oh, and, yeppers, we recommend Bri’s project to the max.)
Award-winning horror short about pyramid schemes launches crowdfunding campaign designed as a pyramid scheme
by Bri Castellini
Undead Burrito Productions is the producers of the award-winning horror short Buy In, a psychological horror short about lies, desperation, and multi-level marketing schemes, which seems like a project right up your alley.
Today we launched a crowdfunding campaign on Seed&Spark for distribution as well as for marketing purposes, designed as a multi-level marketing scheme itself to align with the themes of the film.
Here’s how Bri & Company see this new project shaking down:
Brooklyn, NY- The latest award-winning project by Undead Burrito Productions announces its online and NYC premiere with another announcement: a Seed&Spark crowdfunding campaign that hints at the themes of the film itself.
Buy In on Seed&Spark is described as an exciting new international community, where each time a pledge to the campaign recruits new pledges, they move up the leader board of top salespeople. If this sounds like a pyramid scheme, the co-writers of the film insist it’s just shaped that way.
Incentives for the campaign (outside of a place on their Buy In on Seed&Spark leader board for top salespeople) include an anti-capitalism propaganda poster, access to the film early, and, for just $666, associate producer credit on the film and immediate Platinum Executive Diamond membership status on the leader board.
Buy In is an award-winning psychological horror short about lies, desperation, and multi-level marketing schemes, which follows a charming young salesman and a strange, lonely traveler who find themselves locked in a struggle for control over their own destinies. Written by Colin Hinckley and Bri Castellini, directed by Bri Castellini, and starring Colin Hinckley, Marshall Taylor Thurman, and Mae Mitchell.
The film won the Spotlight Award at Stephenville Fright Fest in 2019, and was nominated for horror and acting awards at the Northern Horror Fest, VOB Film Festival, and the Northeast Film Festival Horror Fest. It will be available for rent or purchase on Amazon Prime on March 23rd, 2020.
Bri Castellini is an indie filmmaker and Film Community Manager for Seed&Spark, a film crowdfunding platform, as well as an adjunct professor for two MFA programs. Watch the remarkable Ms. Castellini’s award-winning web series, Brains, HERE. See Sam And Pat Are Depressed HERE.