March 13, 2013, 03:51 PMTRUTHTELLER59
Pay to be in a movie: Magic Elevator
Originally posted by peanut112:
Okay, film producer, I'll take a chance and put up $10K on this film, if you tell me your real name, who your agent at CAA is, and if you can if you can actually write a posting with correct English grammar and composition.
Is that possible? Oh, wait, probably not, Aleksandra.
Aleksandra who is really Berenika
March 20, 2013, 09:16 PMFilmProducerOf14
Whoa, dudes! Be all sure to check out new Magic Elevator super production “Seventy-Nine.” Horror teaser is now on website, really scary!
Viewer discration advise!
March 28, 2013, 07:28 PMFilmProducerOf14
To all you all detractors out there. Magic Elevator just made deal with big TV producer company to make "Science of Ghosts" TV show and has "Infected" trailer.
You detract, you lose opportunity. Better act now!
March 30, 2013, 01:09 AMJoey
I have to jump in on this one. Bjorn here (not Joey).
While this sounds crazy and I'm almost certain what Secret Agent Man will say. The general rule applies here, it sounds crazy, it's a sham, WATCH OUT, turn around and run.
In the age of indie gogo and kickstarter there are multiple ways to finance and produce work, as Actors you are your own producer. Why do so many successful Actors have their own production companies? I cannot speak for anyone else or the validity of 'Magic Elevator' pro or con I won't even critique the quality of work.
However, I am currently involved in a project (no relation to Magic Elevator) that involves a group of working Actors from guest stars to b player regulars on currently airing cable and network shows mixed with a small crew, myself included all putting money and vast amounts of time into the film's production.
For our project everyone has an equal stake in the equity of the film. We all come with our own valuable contacts within the industry and we all come with a different skill sets. There was a time when films were seen as an art and what I'm finding with this project I am a part of is that it is a collaboration piece, a group of Artists each with a different color painting on a single canvas. Is it running smoothly? It is so far, no egos and every hiccup (and there has been many) that every production goes through has thus far been met with shoulder shrugs, "it could be worse" and "this is normal, don't stress"...
Are Agents involved? Yes, and it wasn't as hard of a sell as I thought it would be. The big Agencies are production companies or they have that ability and usually tie these services with their top level talent on both sides of the camera. (Disclosure: We are not part of the big 3) The smaller Agencies understand this model even if they don't have that reach themselves. While we are NOT getting funds via the Agencies, we are getting support and access to their network of connections, assuming the final product is up to snuff.
Who pays what?
The material costs have been split pretty evenly.
Travel: paid my the individual.
Lodging: paid my the individual (we ended up pitching in for an RV instead of hotels, it was a lot of fun and we generally ended the nights with smores. Actors came and went, the crew remained minus some scheduling conflicts.) This kept us near the locations, and allowed us opportunistic shots we didn't even think of timing was everything.
Paid Work: No One, not Actors, not crew. No labor or "my rates" were paid. Equity in the project is evenly spilt.
What about makeup? The materials were paid under materials. No rate was paid. Equity in film yes.
Sound? Batteries yes, Rate Nope, equity yes.*
Camera? Nope, equity yes. (Small rental for a particular shot covered by materials.)*
PA? Nope, equity yes.
Editor? Nope, equity yes.
Costumes? Costs yes, "rate" no.
Script? NO, NO ONE got PAID up front, equity yes.
*There were a few items that worked out to be cheaper to buy than rent, or it was time to update that piece of equipment. We did some creative math, by adding to the individuals equity stake and allowing a fraction of the would be rental fee to be used toward the purchase of the equipment, on agreed to terms.**
**Front of camera talent and the director held veto power, the written pre agreed to budget held the most power. Originally we were set to come in slightly underbudget. Then 2 unique opportunities were presented that would cause us to go over budget after a discussion we split the cost for 1, and the 2nd was paid for by a single individual in exchange for an increased equity stake.
What about distribution?
Plan 1: It's all about who you know. With currently working Actors this is a HUGH foot in the door + connections to acquisitions departments and promotion between small fan networks.
Plan 2: Budgeted for festival entries with group agreed minimum sale price if it even comes to that. However festival buys are generally buyouts and studios love to lose profit, ask Ed Burns
. The Brothers McMullen Newlyweds Nice Guy JohnnyInterview about budgets and pay.
Plan 3: Online Distribution. (research how much hulu, crackle, and heaps of other outlets are prepared to pay for original content.
Plan 4: Have a private screening, laugh have a smore, use fake names for credits.
Does any of this guarantee success? NO WAY, and that's the gamble we are all taking. A gamble on the project and a gamble on each other. I've been to casino, I far prefer this production gamble and it has been way more fun.
Filmmaking is an immersive process, the mafia doesn't invest in films like they used to. Funding comes from all over and I would prefer to invest in myself. As an Actor you are counting on others, other Actors, the crew the edit, the sound and at the end of the day you have no authority over these positions. If you are paying into a project you have to think, what am I paying for. If the question is who am I paying then it's not a collaboration, it's a service. If it is a collaboration project like a film, in my own humble opinion it probably comes from organic relationships and introductions. A completely different vetting process than going to an audition to pay to be in a film.
After all I wouldn't be willing to gamble on someone I didn't know and I'd assume their main talent could possibly be their ability to pay the fee.
Would I do a collaboration/investment again? Yes, without a doubt if the project is right and I trust the mix of talented individuals. I'd love to work with the same group however doesn't it feel weird when Actors and Directors keep working with the same Actors and Directors? I do know there are a couple stories brewing between different members of group, but it could have very well been a once in a lifetime meeting of minds. Who knows, Kill Bill came out of a story Tarantino and Uma joked about on the set of pulp fiction years before it became a reality.
Today, you can pay $800 and have someone film a reel for you and that is seen as a service, not too long ago it was a sham. Maybe this model Magic Elevator is working on will soon be seen as a long play reel opportunity, maybe it won't. That will all depend on who or what is getting paid for.
Sorry for the long reply, I spent way more time on this diddy than I anticipated.
All the best,
March 30, 2013, 01:57 AMJoey
As if I didn't spend too much time on this, I should have read it first. Now I read from page one... and yes, The general rule applies here, it sounds crazy, it's a sham, WATCH OUT, turn around and run. However
, I think this topic is a huge benefit, after all it's pretty easy to tell what is going on and it protects more people by waving this around for all to see. It'd make a great series of articles, from this "setup" to legit alternative funding, like kickstarter & indie gogo all the way through to how these type of contracts actually work in the real world. Festival acquisitions, distribution and royalties, gross vs net profits and yes a 5k investment should include your rep and a lawyer.
p.s. I laughed out loud at least once a page so if anything keep it up for comedic value.
May 16, 2013, 02:25 AMJoey
About two weeks ago we had a shoot with an Actor, an Actor who is currently at Cannes now (2013). I noticed the film he was in was produced by Magic Elevator while it sounded familiar I didn't make the connection until I googled it and found myself linking back here, to this topic. I must apologize.
Magic Elevator does have an entry in Cannes 2013, "Seven-Nine." Looking over their website again, maybe even more in depth than before and feel obligated to say that they are not a scam. They are not promising anything they have not delivered. For proof, by a ticket to France where they are currently promoting their collectively produced film. Maybe this could be used as inspiration to what a few people can do with a little investment from everyone. I myself am a little bit inspired.
June 11, 2013, 06:26 PMTotallycool
Joey you sound like you actually know what you are doing, you have a good team, and it was very generous of you to share your process here. So I commend you on that, I'm sure great things will come out of this project.
As for the "congratulations you've been selected to audition and pay your cash" people (not just magic elevator), I would advise actors against it until they determine that it makes good monetary sense because they seldom offer parts or projects worth investments of thousands of dollars via la casting. Learn about how people make money in this industry BEFORE you offer to produce ANYTHING. Producing is nothing like acting. It's 100% smarts, connections, and sales!