Face to Face to Face to Face

Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010
The Tilt gang meets up for the first time. Was it weird? You bet!  Watch the video below to see our first face to face Tilt meeting where we reveal a brief synopsis, discuss who our audience is, and chat about locations. 

Finally, some info on Tilt!

EGOFEST: A Meeting of the Movie Minds

Posted: Monday, February 22, 2010
By Julie & Jessica of King is a Fink

Pre-Party Jitters (or, "What if Phil hates us?") On Friday, 2/19, we made the 10 hour trek from Chicago to Brainerd, Minnesota.

The purpose of our trip was two-fold: first, we wanted to attend the EgoFest Short Film Festival, which was kind enough to screen 2 of our shorts (Snow Bunny & Libidoland); second, it was time to meet Phil Holbrook and Jeremy Doyle, the director and cinematographer for TILT.

The drive flew by and the scenery was beautiful, but when we got to Brainerd, we were nervous.  What if we don't click with Phil and Jeremy? And, if that happens, how to we proceed with TILT?

Our worries were for naught.  As soon as we stepped into the E Squared Cafe for the EgoFest pre-party and saw Phil at the bar, we knew we were in the right place.  His handshake was firm; his smile, genuine.  This was the same guy we'd interacted with so well on Twitter and Skype.  Jeremy Doyle joined the party.  We all immediately started sharing juicy secrets.  All was right with the world. 

EgoFest, Baby, EgoFest! (Or "Who thought 40 movies in 12 hours was a good idea?") The day of EgoFest was awesome.  Phil was the consummate festival organizer, making sure that all of the filmmakers present (and those checking in via Twitter from afar) got the most out of their festival experience.
TILT prep took a backseat for the day, but that didn't mean that this wasn't an important day for our new crew.  We all got a chance to check out each others' films, assess each others skills, and even see each other market themselves and speak in public (Phil, of course, addressed the EgoFest crowd numerous times; the rest of us participated in Q&A sessions after select shorts). 

After the awards ceremony, we all headed back to E Squared for the after-party to relax a little and discuss the shorts.  An excellent ending to an inspiring day. 
Down to Business! (Or, "Are we seriously doing this TILT-thingy?") Sunday morning we met bright and early at the Sawmill Cafe for the best business breakfast ever.  (Anyone who's never planned their future over cinnamon streusel is really missing out.) 
We did a bit of planning for a video blog idea we'd discussed prior to the trip, then headed out to pick up equipment and shoot.  (As of today, we're planning to post this video on Thursday, 2/25.)  The vlog will explore: our real first meeting; what TILT is all about; and who our audience is.  Don't miss it!

An Idea is Born

Posted: Thursday, February 18, 2010
So, where did the idea for Tilt come from?  Easy question.  A dream.  I dreamt it.  It was right about this time four years ago.  I remember because it was right before my daughter's first birthday.  I love being a dad, but sleep had been kind of rough on me that first year she was born.  I would wake up from nightmares about having forgotten her places, or that she had quit breathing during the night.  It wasn't uncommon for me to check on her a couple times, even after she had started sleeping, for the most part, through the night.

That's right, this is a picture of the bed where the magic happened.  The bed Tilt was conceived in.

The night the magic happened, the nightmare was a little bit different.  My little girl was all grown up. It was so surreal that when I finally woke with my teeth clenched tight, drenched in panic, I knew instantly that it had only been a dream.  The very next thought that popped into my head was to grab a pen and my notebook, so I could write it down.

My Notebooks

I have what my wife affectionately calls "the hurt brain".  An illness, I believe, that may be common in husbands.  Symptoms include... forgetting to take out the trash, forgetting to pick up milk on the way home, and sometimes the lack of fine motor skills that keep laundry from making it into the basket.  My wife has given me a prescription of notes.  These notes "save" me.

Having spent a youth (that lasted until I was almost 30) with the motto "you never know how much is enough, until you know how much is too much", I have thought, maybe my wife is right about this "hurt brain" stuff.  There have been times when, what I thought was a great idea, has flown out the door, because I didn't write it down.  Well, those days are done.

I use notebooks for all my ideas, stories, scenes, witty lines, and complete garbage that I come up with.  I've tried many different kinds, but my favorite are the small moleskins.  And no, I am not being paid with cash or free product to say that.  They are handy, small, and I use them all the time.

Why yes, I did write in this one with a green sparkle pen. When genius strikes, you go with what's available.

Just think, had I not jumped up in the middle of the night to write down an idea that scared the hell out of me, I may not have been able to pass it on to Julie and Jessica (@kingisafink) to write a script.  It may have been just another idea that popped into my head and disappeared like any other bad dream with the morning light.

Being Born

Four years have passed since that night.  My little girl is almost five, and the story is now in Julie and Jessica's capable hands.  Things are really starting to come together.  This idea/nightmare from long ago is finally being born with the help and collaboration of others.  I never would have thought that writing down a simple paragraph in the middle of the night would lead to working on my very first feature film, but here we are.  I hope you will find this process as interesting and fun as I do and perhaps follow along with us while Tilt is in the process of being born.

FRIENDLY FEEDBACK: The Distribution of Wealth

Posted: Monday, February 15, 2010
One of our goals with Tilt is to include the audience every step of the way. While we (Phil, Jeremy, Julie & I) are all passionate about filmmaking and storytelling, we aren’t experts on everything that’s involved with making, marketing, or distributing a feature film. In fact, it’s incredibly daunting for all of us. Therefore, we want to tap into our biggest resource: YOU.

Why are you a resource? For many reasons. You might have more experience than us. You may have more expertise. Maybe you’ve already made a feature film (or know someone who has). Or you might simply have a different perspective. Whether you fit one or all of those categories, we’d love to hear what you have to say. So - up for giving us a little Friendly Feedback?

TODAY’S TOPIC: The Distribution of Wealth

Now - first we want to acknowledge that broaching this subject is incredibly presumptuous. We haven’t even finished the script, and we’re already thinking about what happens if we make money. Who do we think we are? Well, for one, we’re people who, despite not having experience making a feature, have life experience that has taught us to be very cautious when embarking on financial endeavors with others.

Going into this, we all understand fully that we may make no money or (please, no!) even lose money. However, from our experience (from Julie’s as a business owner and ours together as filmmakers), we know, beyond a doubt, that this is an issue that needs to be discussed openly and honestly up front. Otherwise, problems could develop later due to unrealistic expectations and assumptions.

Here’s what we’ve agreed on so far:
  • All money raised to make TILT will be used to make this the best movie possible. What does this mean? We will not pay ourselves unless we turn a profit.
  • If people (us, friends, family, members, guardian angels, fairy godmothers, etc.) invest in our movie (outside of Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, or other crowdfunding platforms) AND if TILT turns a profit, then those investors will be reimbursed before we divvy up the rest.

So, today’s question is: If TILT turns a profit, how should be split it up?

After examining Hollywood film budgets, it looks as though they usually allot money to people based on their specific roles: the producer and director get the most, followed by the screenwriter, followed by the cinematographer.

However, some of the circumstances of our arrangement make following this model difficult:
  • We are all wearing several different hats. Phil is directing and producing. I am writing and producing. We’re exploring the possibility of sharing editing duties. We’re all contributing to the planning and promotion of the film. The tasks that we all complete are not cut and dry.
  • Julie and I are writing the screenplay together. Does this mean we should we be treated as a unit or as individuals?

Additional questions:
  • Also, we’ll need to set aside money to pay other contributors. Should we pay them up front or give them a share of things later? How much should we set aside for them?
  • Since none of us has marketing, publicity, or distribution experience, should we hire a strategist or consultant right now? Is it too early? And will it really help us make more money in the long run?
  • Are we wack-a-doo to fork over money for a consultant for a movie that hasn’t even been written yet, let alone filmed or edited?
  • Should we plan to set aside money to pay sound designers? Or actors?
  • Most importantly: What questions aren’t we asking that we should be?

Thank you in advance for your insights and ideas on today’s topic. If you don’t know the answers, feel free to bring someone else into the discussion. The more, the merrier.

Posted by Jessica

The Nitty Gritty on TILT by Julie & Jessica

Posted: Thursday, February 11, 2010
  • What is TILT? A feature-length dramatic thriller we're making in 2010
  • Who's involved? Phil Holbrook (directing & producing), Jessica King (writing & producing), Julie Keck (writing), Jeremy Doyle (cinematography), everyone else (TBA)
  • What's it about? A father, a daughter, a tragedy, and some revenge. Not necessarily listed in order of appearance.
  • When is the movie going to be finished? Phil first approached us about the collaboration in January. We plan to deliver the 1st 30 pages to Phil before they head up to meet him (and Jeremy) at EgoFest on 2/19. Projected finish date for the screenplay = March. Shooting planned for late summer / early fall.
  • Where will TILT be shot? Lovely Brainerd, Minnesota
  • Have any of you made a feature-length movie before? Nope
  • Does that scare you? Yep.
  • Why do you think now’s the time to try it? We’ve all produced our own shorts; check out Phil's Honest Work, Julie & Jessica's shorts, and Jeremy's work. Also, we’re all driven. We’re inspired by the other amazing filmmakers we know taking a shot and making it happen. We’re all ready. And we all know that 4 heads (and sets of hands) are better than one.
  • Who’s in charge? Everyone. We communicate regularly through email, Twitter & GoogleWave. We meet weekly via Skype. All tasks are discussed, assigned, and followed-up on in a friendly and respectful manner. And when things get done, Jessica puts cool scratch-and-sniff stickers on our reinforcement poster. (Phil has the most stickers...for now.)
  • How are you going to engage your audience? We’re going to buy a whole bunch of diamond rings, then take our audience out for a romantic dinner, get down on one knee... no, wait. Scratch that.
  • We hope to engage our friends and our fans by sharing every single step of this filmmaking journey via blog, vlog, Twitter, etc. We all have all of the passwords to all of the TILT accounts (Twitter, the blog, the email, etc.), so we'll all have equal opportunity to ask questions, vent, or share information. Maybe Phil will post videos when he’s in the midst of casting or scouting for locations. Maybe Julie will vent via vlog when she’s up all night and having trouble with a scene. Maybe Jeremy will blog about how he can't believe Julie wrote a spaceship into the middle of a dramatic thriller...maybe not.
  • But we're not only going to share our successes and frustrations with you. We're also going to ask for your input. From time to time, we're going to post questions or ask for your opinions about how to do something or which way to go. Why? Because YOU, friends and fans, are our best resource.
  • So far, who’s the hardest person to work with? Phil. Two words: Di. va.
  • Who’s the easiest...? Julie, definitely.
  • Um ... easiest to WORK WITH? Oh...um, Jessica & Jeremy are probably tied on that one. (Awkward...)
We hope this gives you a little better idea about where we started and where we're headed. We plan to post updates on Mondays and Thursdays, at the very least, so subscribe to the site to make sure you catch everything. Also, you can keep up with us on Twitter (@TILTtheMovie) for additional updates. Follow us individually on Twitter to get extra tidbits and a ringside seat to our collaboration: Phil (@philotilt), Jeremy (@jerdoyle), Julie & Jessica (@kingisafink).

What's Coming Next? A post from Jeremy Doyle about equipment he plans to use + a vlog from King is a Fink
Posted: Monday, February 8, 2010