Shady Valley is a horror/comedy that follows the misadventures of a picked-on teenager named Ricky who discovers that his home-made martial arts system can slay demons.
We made this promo video to showcase the concept, as well as our formidable Hollywood filmmaking skills. :)
How we got funding
We needed $10,000 to make the promo (a lot more than we had), so we ran our first crowd-funding campaign. We came to realize that running such a campaign is more-or-less a full time job, but the pay-off was that hundreds of wonderful contributors got involved. We exceeded the target by $47.
We had a lot of fun making the promo (I mean, does any filmmaker NOT secretly want to make a martial arts monster movie?).
We also learned a bunch about commercial filmmaking (see below).
What we learned
After taking the promo to international film markets, a few critical lessons emerged:
If you want to make a commercial film, talk to distributors at the concept stage – Filmmaking costs a lot of money, and the “easiest” way to get that money is to secure a distribution deal before you get started. If we had talked to distributors before starting, I think we would have made a lot of different choices (see below).
When you’re looking for funding, genre is very important – Horror/Comedy/Martial Arts Monster movies, amazingly, are not the first (or the even the tenth) genre that distributors look for. Unless you’ve got Michael Cera.
If you don’t have a big name involved, make a really cheap film – If you want to make a film full of special effects and action sequences, you need a name actor in movie. Or you need to be a famous director or producer. Otherwise, choose a concept that you can make for $2.50. Then you’re golden.
Considering the above lessons, Shady Valley may need to be reborn into a new, more ergonomic form. Watch this space…
Actor Roberto Pombo
Roberto Pombo plays the lead role of Ricky. He is a gifted performer who studied physical comedy in Italy, and did 2 months of martial arts training leading up to the promo shoot.
NB. Full body prosthetic suits are very, very hot
Our special effects guru Jaco suggested that we cast a dancer to play the monster. The reason, he explained, is that dancers are used to physical hardship.
Even after hearing this, I don’t think any of us realized just how tough it was going to be to do a physical performance under 2 inches of rubber-latex.
The lovely Kieron Jina (aka The Monster) explains…