Filmmakers planning to shoot a comedy in Beaufort are asking you to fund the project.
V.W. Scheich, co-director of "Basement Bob," said those involved are banking on pre-sales of DVDs and digital downloads to finance the movie. There is an opportunity for product placement and angel investors, but the primary path is a campaign to solicit community support, Scheich said.
"This is a new model and a new opportunity to get the project off the ground this way," said Scheich, who moved to Beaufort this year from Los Angeles with his wife, Uyen Le. "And everyone who has been involved so far has been outstanding.
"The sales are slowly coming in every day."
The movie, with filming tentatively slated to begin in the fall, will star co-director Gary Weeks as Bob, a man who lives in his ex-wife's basement.
"When she decides to sell the house, Bob will go to every ridiculous extreme to keep from losing her forever," the film's website states.
Scheich has worked as a production coordinator for movies like "Spider-Man 3" and "Superbad" and as a director's assistant for "Herbie Fully Loaded" and "Stuart Little 2." His movie "Wallenda" won best short film at the 2013 Beaufort International Film Festival.
He said the money from the pre-sales for "Basement Bob" would sit in an account and be used only for the movie, that no one involved is currently taking a salary and that the money would be refunded if the project doesn't happen.
Cost for pre-orders ranges from $2.99 for seven days of online streaming to $25 for a Blu-ray disc.
The budget is expected to be more than the Screen Actors Guild's Ultra Low Budget Agreement of $250,000, but less than the $1 million needed to seek tax incentives in South Carolina. Casting and location costs will determine the final amount, Scheich said.
The funding model for "Basement Bob" is similar to that offered on Kickstarter, a website to help people raise money, usually small amounts at a time, for creative projects.
The movie "Veronica Mars" raised more than $5 million on Kickstarter after an initial goal of $2 million. That project included star power like Kristen Bell and an audience hungry for the movie after years of the television show by the same name.
"There has been a landslide of projects using Kickstarter for funding, since 'Veronica Mars' made its target, most of which will never get off the ground," James Dyer, digital editor-in-chief of film magazine Empire, told CNBC last year. "I do think it's a valuable tool for funding projects that have no other way to raise the funds, but equally it only works if you can generate an upswell of interest."
Scheich said he thinks Beaufort's history, with films such as "Forrest Gump" shot here, would lead to a community willing to participate.
The filmmakers' challenge has been to educate potential microinvestors about the project and funding model and to find an outlet where their message resonates.
"We're banging that drum as loud as we can," Beaufort Film Society president Ron Tucker said. The film society is an executive producer of the movie and will help it raise money but won't contribute funds, Tucker said.
Scheich said there has been some misunderstanding about the movie. At a meet and greet hosted by the Beaufort Film Society, some in attendance clapped for Scheich's presentation and then asked him where they could find the finished product.
"Selling a movie is getting harder and harder all the time because there is so much content out there," Scheich said. "I'm doing the hardest part first."
Follow reporter Stephen Fastenau at twitter.com/IPBG_Stephen.
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