Written by Timothy Boyle (Writer/Director/Producer):
To the readers of Cinema Australia,
This is an article I was asked to write about the making of my latest feature film currently entitled “The Half Dead”.
I say currently entitled, as I’m certain that if the film is picked up by any type of distributor. the first thing to go will be the name. You can’t be too precious about these things. I’ve made movies that have had so many name changes, I have no idea what they’re called anymore.
I’m certain one of their marketing gurus will come up with a far more apt title that will help sell the film into the various territories.
The ‘working’ title I chose depicts horror, whereas the film itself is certainly not that. It’s a super hero film. A film I decided to write one night after meeting a certain Hollywood exec at one of those “after parties” in the Hollywood Hills. You know the type, the ones where you meet everybody but nobody really cares who you are.
This exec had just had her movie come out the week prior. It had made over US$100 million at the box that week and she was therefore understandably very excited. She asked me if I had seen the film, to which I replied yes. She then made the mistake of asking what I thought of said film.
I explained my opinion, letting her know that I didn’t think it was any good, to which she defiantly spouted out the international takings combining it with the US domestic box office. I replied, “…but it wasn’t any good, as a movie”. After a long silence, she nodded her head and said “Okay… you do better”.
So here we are, a number of years later and my attempt to do better.
We went out to make an ambitious film. A genre film. I was attached as writer/co-director some years back to the reboot of the Phantom comic book franchise. A film I still very much want to make. In order to show the powers that be the quality of film I was capable of making, I decided to forge ahead with a similar genre piece. To make something that helps these power people say, “yeah… let’s go with that!”
So we set out to make a sci-fi, action, character driven, comic book style, franchise-possible feature film… with only seven crew (yes… seven!) and some of the finest actors in the country. Let’s do the list, shall we. Tasma Walton, Steve Bastoni, Terry Serio, Jay Laga’aia, Jai Koutrae, Peter Phelps and not to mention John Rhys Davies.
How did we get these people? This amazing pool of talent? Simple. Script.
The cheapest thing you (as a producer/director/writer) can do is write. You get it right on the page and people are interested in being in your project, no matter the budget.
So we had a commercial script that appealed to these actors and we shot the film over 16 months – shooting for 60 days on and off. We had no funding from any Government funding board. We just had the hard working Cast and Crew and me and my business partner’s bank accounts. We were rolling the dice. Seeing what happened.
It was long and drawn out experience and we’re still not expecting to finish the film until late next year (due to the massive amount of visual effects work needed to create this world).
We have just appointed an international sales agent to the film and will be attending this year’s AFM to introduce the film to the buyers.
Our hope is to secure a US domestic release for 2015 – even VOD as this is probably the best way to have the film seen, whilst keeping distribution costs down. The idea of seeing your film at a cinema is becoming archaic. Most people are downloading content (legally and illegally) so it’s become about adapting your own personal ambition to the reality of the world around us.
Even though we are busy finishing off this film, I’ve already begun work on a number of different projects. One we’re shooting next year. It feels like an exciting time in the film industry. There’s an energy. a new wave of independent filmmakers making movies that are selling both domestically and overseas.
Very interesting times indeed. I wonder how many of you readers out there are part of this movement too?
You can find out more about the film at http://www.thehalfdeadmovie.com