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Conspiracy Filmmaking!

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posted on Feb, 19 2006 @ 01:30 AM
In posting here, I'm posing a few questions. As some of you know, I'm an amateur filmmaker in my spare time, and as I'm currently out of work, I have a lot of spare time. I've come up with a concept for a film that I want to start shooting.

Question one is this: Given that I'm trying to keep a nearly zero budget on this film, I was wondering if that powers that be (namely Simon, Skeptic, and Springer) would allow me to use the ATS name in the film, free of charge, in exchange for the advertizing for the site that I'd do in the film.

Question two is: Who would be interested in helping me collaborate with scripting and production of the film (all volunteer work, unless the film makes money). Details on the concept to follow later in this post.

Question three is: Would anyone, who is relatively local to the Baltimore, MD, USA area, like to help out with the film (once again, volunteer work). I need actors, crew, and production staff.

If you've read this far, you're probably interested in the concept of the film. The concept is fairly simple (assuming you've followed my posts on here). The basic plot is as such:

A man develops a free energy system, based on the Tesla Coil (as some of you know, I've been conceptually working on just such a device), and when he tries to market it, meets competition from the Federal Government, Oil Companies, and other such organizations. Eventually, he is contacted by those that currently run the hidden South American city founded by Tesla and Marconi (according to the theories), and becomes engaged in warfare between the Tesla/Marconi city and the rest of the world for peaceful technology for mankind.

I feel this film can remain pretty close to zero budget, save the building of an actual Tesla coil, and assuming that I can bring a CG artist(s) onboard as volunteers. If the film comes out as I'd hope, it will be entered in Sundance, and could possibly bring about a career for me, as well as anyone who's assisting on or acting in the film.

Anyone interested?

posted on Feb, 19 2006 @ 07:25 AM
Since I'm retired, I have plenty of spare time as well. If you could use me for help in scripting, I'd be glad to help out.

I love the plot, btw.

posted on Feb, 19 2006 @ 10:08 AM
GREAT plot!

I can't help now, but I will support you any way I can - in spirit if nothing else.

posted on Feb, 19 2006 @ 11:02 AM
Nothing wrong with making a film on a shoestring budget. But why not attempt to find funding?

Lots of University, and other funding out there.

For example:
Funding Independant films

posted on Feb, 19 2006 @ 11:24 AM
U2U Simon, Springer, and SkepticOverlord and ask about the use of ATS name. They're the ones who clear such things.

posted on Feb, 19 2006 @ 11:27 AM
For myself, there are several reasons to fund yourself / do it with no funding.

The more people involved in funding, the more they may want a say in it. If I'm writing and directing, I usually know how I want it to turn out and don't like dozens of people trying to push it in different directions.

And if you manage to pull it off with an extremely low budget and it turns out well, that's something to be proud of.


posted on Feb, 19 2006 @ 01:54 PM
Great plot! When you get the script 100% prepared you should post it here. I would love to read it.

posted on Feb, 19 2006 @ 02:01 PM

Originally posted by MMP
Great plot! When you get the script 100% prepared you should post it here. I would love to read it.

copywrite it first lol. Seriously good luck with your film. This could be an ATS first


posted on Feb, 19 2006 @ 02:48 PM

Originally posted by kuhl

Originally posted by MMP
Great plot! When you get the script 100% prepared you should post it here. I would love to read it.

copywrite it first lol. Seriously good luck with your film. This could be an ATS first

Yes get it copyrighted! I can't believe I forgot to say that!

posted on Feb, 21 2006 @ 02:44 AM
First of all, I'd like to thank everyone that responded for the support. I will say that I posted this thread, possibly a little prematurely, as it was nothing more than a concept in my head at the time I posted this. Only today have I started writing the outline for the film, and it could be another week or two before I start the actual script.

The look of the film that I'm thinking of going for is sort of a cross between that great retro 1940s/high tech look of "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" and the secret island in "The Incredibles" along with current military technology (you know, it does end up in war).

At the moment, I'm really only in the research and early plot development stages of the film. I'm just trying to find dedicated crew/actors for when I'm ready to start shooting (probably within a month or two), and especially CG designers that can help out with the backgrounds and special effects that are WELL outside of my budget range.

One person mentioned trying to find funding for the film. Since this is my first effort, I'd really like to try and keep financial debt down to nothing on this. I have no idea if it'll succeed or fail. I don't want to end up having to pay off a $50,000 loan if this film flops. On the other hand, if it ends up being a really good film in taking it to sundance and other indie film festivals, I could likely pick up a contract with an indie filmhouse (like Lions Gate) that would be willing to pump more money into a film (I know a friend of my girlfriend has been recently picked up by Lions Gate, and got $2 million in funding for his next comedy/slasher flick (called "Chainsaw Sally") - only his second film, I might add).

Essentially, this film is my debut, first try, and hope to god I get it right sort of thing. If it turns out well, then I could very well get funding to make better films in the future. I do have several conspiracy theory films brewing in my head, and this could be the start of a series of films that helps, along with the TV show, to make ATS famous (not to mention some of the members - there's a lot of threads that I'd be willing to pay for the rights to use as a basis for a film, if only I had funding).

Collaboration help is always welcome (just U2U me), and since the film will be shot exclusively in digital, it'll be easy for me to email or post online (securely, obviously) the film clips for editing/sfx elsewhere.

I also have a few sources for music lined up, but I'm always willing to hear other sources, if anyone is interested in helping me score the film (my computer barely allows me to do original music, so it's difficult, at best, for me to do it).

Anyway, if anyone feels that they can help out in any way, please U2U me, and we'll make arrangements for a better form of contact.

Btw, I've also just U2Ud Simon, SO, and Springer regarding permission to use the ATS name in the film. Having just done it, obviously, I'm waiting on a response.

[edit on 21-2-2006 by obsidian468]

posted on Feb, 23 2006 @ 04:45 AM
Just an update on the project...

Springer has approved my use of the ATS name in the film, free of charge. Thank you so VERY much, Springer (and, as a brief spoiler, ATS will be how the main character is found by the Tesla/Marconi secret city, AND how he's tracked down in the secret city by the Federal government (no fault of ATS - they catch him online, and track his IP - he gets stupid and just HAS to brag on ATS *laugh*). I may also need a fake username of "TeslaFreak" to be in chat for the film project... I'll let you know if I need it.

The plot outline is about 60% done, and once it is finished (hopefully within the next day or two), I will be sending a copy out to those that have expressed interest in helping with the film (specifically scripting it), both on here, and from my own group of non-ATS friends (yes, I have those as well - although, they may end up joining the site after they fully realize how much of an inspiration my discussions on ATS regarding this very topic have been an influence in the film plot). So far, I have two of the three lead roles cast with VERY enthusiastic people (who I've been writing the parts for), one of which is a huge Tesla fan, and the other is a huge sci-fi/conspiracy theory fan. I feel that these people will carry the roles better than I could expect.

The final lead that I'm looking for is the female romantic lead. She is a brilliant physicist, and the granddaughter of both Tesla and Marconi (interesting plot twist - those involved will learn all about it, and those not involved will have to wait until I release the film to learn about it), and basically the unspoken leader of the secret city. She's an attractive, tough, redheaded woman, who wants romance, peace, and has a secret desire to kick a little butt.

Additionally, I've decided on a style/look for the film (very 1940s retro, ala "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" (or any random 1940s-1950s sci-fi robot/technology film), yet with a healthy dose of current and future technology - the secret city is roughly 500-750 years more advanced than the society we know, but mostly (they do have spies on the outside) based on Tesla and Marconi's work - they may still use tubes, but it's still vastly more advanced than us).

The real world look will be, well, real world... I'm planning on having the US government (who is tracking the lead character to the secret city) using F-14s, F-15s, Apaches, Stealth Fighters, Stealth Bombers, and even bringing the X-11 (I think that's it's designation - the new multi-config next generation stealth fighter/bomber/interceptor) into play.

I've also decided on music choices for the score of the film, and having heard the music posted here in podcasts, I feel I have a good chance of locating my music artist here. I'm looking for a very modern/high tech music feel, while integrating old 40's style big band/swing music. Kind of like Brian Setzer meets Rob Zombie/NIN/VNV Nation/Apoptygma Berzerk. I think VNV's "futurepop" style is great for this film, but I'd need more big band/swing influence. Note here that I DO want all ORIGINAL music (to avoid royalty costs). I could do it myself, but, since I completely demolished my old music computer by trying to mix too many tracks with too many effects and fried the entire machine, I'm currently about $4000 (I'm going VERY high end) away from my desired perfect audio/video creation computer (my current machine, while decent, lacks the juice to do things properly). So yes, with this, I'm calling all you audiophiles out there to try and create the music sound I'm looking for. One thing I can offer is the possibility of working on future films with me, hopefully with a budget - if this project turns out well, it will be getting as much screen time as I can get for it - Sundance, IFC, local film festivals, bookings at several local theatres that LOVE to play indie films, etc. If this film turns out well, and I have offers to make more films (with an actual budget), I'll be VERY faithful to my entire production/cast team, and make sure I don't leave anyone behind (as a side note, I'm actually trying to court Lions Gate Films with this project).

If I end up getting this film noticed, and get an offer for a real budget, I assure you, anyone following with me will be getting paid, and anyone involved in this film will get paid as well, if this film makes a profit (I'm not expecting it, but a man can dream, can't he?)

Anyway, a few final sum-up points and notes before I go too long...

I'm looking for a female lead.
I'm looking for a composer for the score.
I'm looking for CG artists (and if anyone knows Bryce 5.0 and can teach me, I'll be quite greatful - I have a copy of the software).
I'm looking for people who are willing to take a chance on a nothing project, and help to make it a great project.

Some have already volunteered, and trust me, I got your U2Us, and will certainly be in touch (as soon as the script outline is complete).

I have a feeling that others are willing to volunteer, yet not certain if they want to or not - to you, I can say that at the least, it'll be fun and exciting, and at the most, it could lead to a career in films, if this project is successful.

I do have many other ideas for films that would be of interest to the community here, but this film is taking the number one priority at the moment. I feel good about this film, as everyone who has read the basic plot outline (same as I posted earlier in this thread) has loved the concept. I think this could end up as an indie blockbuster - maybe not mainstream, but in the indie world. My goal is to get it screened at Sundance and various other indie film festivals (IFC holds one a year, various NYC groups hold them once a year, and even locally, here in Baltimore, I'm certain that I can get it screened, at least for a night, at both indie theatres in the city, and can enter them in several of the annual indie film festivals here in Baltimore (we are, after all, home to MICA and JHU, both of which have phenomenal film departments, not to mention the critical acclaim of Barry Levinson, John Waters, and others (as well as the popularity of Homicide: Life On the Street and The Wire, which were both set here in Baltimore), which makes for a HUGE film community here. All that said, I have plenty of chances for exposure, and thus, plenty of chances for success.... who knows, it may even get invited to Cannes (I really don't have the cash to fly to France, though).

Who's excited about this? It's really going to happen! (those that U2Ud me before, need not do so again - I already have you in mind) U2U me and we'll get everything set up!

(Edit to fix spelling errors)

[edit on 23-2-2006 by obsidian468]

posted on Feb, 23 2006 @ 05:05 AM
Oh, and just as an aside, I will be using this thread for all public updates regarding this project. There's just no point in having multiple threads.

I'll also be stopping by chat occasionally for those that may be interested in helping out (or those that haven't seen this thread).

[edit on 23-2-2006 by obsidian468]

posted on Feb, 23 2006 @ 09:43 AM
You have a great idea and ambition Obsidian468, so don't give up. But...

You say you're going to shoot on digital with amatuer actors? There are problems with making any kind of watchable movie with these two elements.

Digital is fine, but how will you mount the camera? If you watch enough movies, you'll see that the camera is always moving, either on a dolly or on a steadicam, somthing like that. Of course, there are not many head mounts or items to use with digital consumer video, if you want to make the camera move.

Now if you just want it stationary, like on a tripod, this is where you'll have to rely 100% on your other elements, specifically your actors. If the camera is not moving, these people's lines have to be even more interesting. Most video-type amatuer movies end up unwatchable because A: the camera is fixed in place (boring) and B: the actors cannot hold the audiences attention.

I would advise the following (others may criticise here with no fear):

1. Write your script such that the EVENTS of the movie are what keep people interested. Do not rely upon your actors, do not rely upon your CG people. The script is the only way for you to have any chance of making a good no-budget movie, and it's also the hardest part to do right.

2. Build good props. Have good sets, shoot in interesting locations. Essentially what I'm saying is to do ALL the cheap things you can think of. Props can be built well for next-to-nothing if you've got a friend who's good with crafts and stuff like that. As for locations, if you point a camera at Devil's Tower mesa, for example, the audience will be interested simply due to the scenery. They'll THINK you spent some money. Then, you could have your characters having their (boring, probably) conversation in the foreground, while still having an interesting background image which won't distract.

3. Study fringe filmmakers like David Lynch and others who accomplsih their own visions with minimal filmmaking flash. DL for example, will have two actors against a boring background, talking about some weird crap, but he is succcessful at what he does because his SCRIPTS are always top notch and remain clearly within his sector of speciality.

...I wrote this real quick before heading out to work so forgive typos. I shot a no-budget film start to finish and even premiered it (in front of thirty or so friends). I was disappointed with just about the whole project except for a few parts. I have been thinking about doing another one, but I'm more into music right now.

I like the idea of this thread in general. I think that a properly made movie with a good script could affect some global goodness. Heck, look at what one CARTOON did!

Don't let realists like me get you down! Keep the enthusiasm up, but understand what you can and cannot do. Remember also that editing video can be time consuming if you only have x-amount of time on the editing machine and you have a bag of 30 DV tapes. This is why you must plan ahead.

[edit on 23-2-2006 by smallpeeps]

posted on Feb, 24 2006 @ 06:54 AM
This sounds like a very good idea. Im continually toying with ideas for low budget films in my mind, none of which ever materialise though

I agree with smallpeeps though, your greatest tool is your ability to write a good script. On a low budget its the only thing that can captivate an audience. Be sure to make the dialogues believable though! Bad dialogue is the killer of any story, whether on film or on paper.

I look forward to your updates, and good luck!

posted on Feb, 24 2006 @ 07:33 AM
how long is your film gonna be?
most low budget films are genrally 10 to 20 mins long,
your plot is good, but to me it seams like a mammoth undertaking, actors location ect,

have a look at this site

I'm saving up to join film school, so i'm very interested to see how you go, pls keep us informed, i wish you well.

all the best... ian

posted on Feb, 24 2006 @ 01:45 PM
To address a few points:

I am not casting people with no acting experience. The two lead male characters I have cast are both being played by men with a good acting background. One is a professional actor, who does a travelling one-man-show, and the other is a historical reenactor who has appeared in many PBS and cable historical educational programs. Given that this story MUST be character driven to get anywhere, I need people that can act.

As far as locations and effects, I do have access to a piece of software called Vegas. It's made by Sony, and is the definative digital video editing software. It will enable me to do compositing, special effects, sound effects, color correction, etc. (in fact, most of the major films that are being shot on digital media are edited on this same software). That said, most of the fantastic locations (or locations that are impractical to get to, or expensive to get to) will actually be digitally rendered digital mattes (or paintings, which later get edited into the background). The advantage of using digital mattes, is that I can animate them, to an extent (such that water actually appears to move, and I can make leaves on trees rustle so that it looks like a breeze is blowing). I am using a piece of software called Bryce for the backgrounds. The version I have is capable of creating animated loops, several minutes long, and has a lot of effect features built in. The digital renders that Bryce creates are about as close to perfect photo-realism that I can get with a piece of commercial software.

Regarding camera movements, I'm probably going to use several different techniques. Since my camera has a built in picture stabilizer, I can do a lot of shots handheld, and thus get more flexibility in camera movements. A lot of the dialogue is going to be shot using a tripod for the camera, and for the long, establishing shots using the CG backgrounds, I can move the camera anywhere I want, as it'll be a virtual camera.

As far as the length of the film, I'm shooting for about an hour and a half to an hour and 45 minutes. The rough plot outline I have would actually make for a 3-4 hour film, but obviously a LOT is going to get cut/changed/shortened as the script develops and is streamlined. This isn't my first film project, as I have played around with shorts and such before, but this is certainly my most ambitious project.

There's certainly going to be an eclectic set of directorial style influences on this film, though - a bit Quentin Tarrantino, a bit Lars Von Trier, a bit George Lucas, and a bit Gore Vidal. I am a huge indie film fan (roughly half of the 200+ movies in my collection are independent films), and as such, I've been taking cues from the realms of possibility explored in those films, insofar as what's practical/possible and what's not on a shoestring budget. Add to that many years of experience with community theatre projects (from the tech side, where, often, an entire show is produced for $1000 or less). I haven't outlined anything that can't be done for low-or-no cost, given people who are supportive of the concept, and willing to donate time and/or money to the project.

I figure, worst comes to worst, and I can't finish this film without some source of outside funding, I can always work on one of my less-ambitious projects, and use that as a vehicle to try and get funding to finish this one. Either way, this film will be getting made. It's just a question of if it gets done in a year or 5-10 years. It will get made.

posted on Feb, 24 2006 @ 05:25 PM
Got any room for a pregnant lady who has some experience in the Flash animation world? I can act as well as illustrate, Im currently working on a flash presentation, Oh and I live about 60 miles outside of Baltimore in West Virginia's eastern panhandle

posted on Feb, 24 2006 @ 07:59 PM

Originally posted by denial28
Got any room for a pregnant lady who has some experience in the Flash animation world? I can act as well as illustrate, Im currently working on a flash presentation, Oh and I live about 60 miles outside of Baltimore in West Virginia's eastern panhandle

Well, pregnant or not, doesn't bother me either way - I'm an equal opportunity freeloader with this project *laugh*

What I'm really looking for in the graphics department for this film is realistic animations and backgrounds - CG background mattes, and CG special effects (military planes, flying discs, electrical effects, etc). I know Flash does have some pretty high end capabilities, but I'm not sure if it'll work with the film (and I also have to be able to get any CG animations in an MPG or WMV format - it's FAR easier to edit that way). The stuff I'm really looking for with this is Bryce style photo-realistic graphics rendering and animation - images and animations that I can overlay footage of live actors over, and have it be believable.

If you want to, you're more than welcome to try developing something with flash that could work for the film. Actually, I have a good idea for you, and it's an important establishing shot for the film: a '50s style flying disc flying into a cave in the side of a mountain located within a jungle.

Remember, realism is key.

posted on Feb, 24 2006 @ 08:07 PM
I know this is REALLY premature (as I haven't even started writing the script yet), but as I've hit a bit of a writer's block with the plot outline, I did this as a creative side route, hoping to get my imagination back on track. I have three versions of this trailer, one for every connection speed. There is NO footage from the film in it (how could there be - primary shooting doesn't start for at least another two months), but I like how it turned out, especially being thrown together in an hour. The music is not mine (and will probably not even appear in the film), but is a royalty free clip I found that works well for the trailer.

Anyway, without further ado, here they are!

Hi Res, Large Image - 7.9MB

Hi Res, Small Image - 2.45MB

Low Res Web Stream - 878KB

posted on Feb, 26 2006 @ 12:16 AM
On another note, I just submitted the pre-production information to

Let's see if they accept it this early in the process.

Additionally, another way that any of you may be able to help:

I'm looking for a website developer to donate time to development of a simple, but attractive website for the film. Listed below are the criteria for the website:

- Welcome page: nothing spectacular, but basic info on the film included
- Plot synopsis page (a more complete plot synopsis will be sent to whoever (if anyone) volunteers
- Trailer page: a place that I can host trailers for the film. Right now, it's just the teaser trailer, but will eventually include more in-depth trailers
- Production blog page, where I can update with information about the production process of the film
- General info/Cast/Crew page: a page where I can post information on cast and crew credits and bios (it'll be all unknowns on cast and crew, so we need to give ourselves some credibility *laugh*)

Anyone willing to help with this, please U2U me.

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