Who are you?
I’m Vince Labriola, and I’m a filmmaker and producer from Chicago. I'm the guy sitting on the right in the photo, having a Hitchcock moment. Nice to meet you.
What is DEPARTURES?
DEPARTURES is a nine-minute short film I wrote and directed. It's the introduction to a neo-noir story I want to tell in a feature film called DOOR COUNTY. It is also a proof-of-concept demonstrating my crew and my ability to produce said feature film. Our small but talented crew is predominately based in Chicago, and the film was shot on location in the city and suburbs.
What is DOOR COUNTY?
DOOR COUNTY is a neo-noir film with mythological undertones, about a young woman who searches for her father's murderer with the help of a mysterious man from the distant past. A friend of mine read the script this summer and described it as “a mindfuck,” which is a pretty great compliment.
It is also a film immersed in the culture of Chicago: hot dog stands, bowling alleys, summertime trips to Wisconsin. It's about corruption, vice, and loyalty to family. With a femme fatale who loves to sip Green River and listen to REO Speedwagon while she drives down Western in her '71 Torino.
Can you realistically produce a film in Chicago?
Hell yeah. I firmly believe that this city can support ambitious, independent filmmaking. I spent three years learning the ropes big-time in Los Angeles, so I know what it takes and Chicago's got it. Not to mention I was born and raised here, inspired by the films of Hughes, Ramis, and Zemeckis. They set the standard, and damn right I'm aiming to put my name alongside theirs.
DOOR COUNTY is my Back to the Future. I mean it.
That's a bold statement!
"Make no little plans," as Chicagoans say.
I hear you did a Kickstarter.
We did! We raised $20,000 towards the development of DOOR COUNTY. Specifically, that money is going three places:
- To recoup below-the-line production expenses on DEPARTURES;
- To pay the key creatives who worked on DEPARTURES;
- To raise funds for late-stage development of DOOR COUNTY, specifically securing actors and principal investment.
Beyond the financial perspective, a successful Kickstarter shows actors and investors that we’ve begun to build an audience for this film. We met our financial goals because we’ve got a group of enormously supportive friends (like you!) who want to see our movie get made.
Okay, I’m interested. Tell me more.
Most definitely. The total production costs on DEPARTURES total approximately $15,000, divided between physical production (or “below-the-line”) and key creative (or “above-the-line”) expenses.
Below-the-line expenses are incurred during the actual making of the film. For DEPARTURES this included things like camera and lighting rental; location rentals; on-set crew pay and craft services; costumes, props, and set decorations; and voice-over recording sessions. We also paid our actors (their fees plus another 17% to the SAG pension fund) and a few other specialized creative contributors--- for example, the artist who designed the killer Medusa-head illustration at the top of the page.
When it came to above-the-line costs, several of my closest filmmaking friends and collaborators offered to help me produce the film and defer payment until the end of the Kickstarter, because they are literally the greatest. Together, we’ve put damn near 400 hours into the production of DEPARTURES, including plenty of nights and weekends.
Everyone who worked on DEPARTURES is epic and badass. You can learn more about all of them here.
What does the “development” of DOOR COUNTY entail?
We are right in the middle of the development cycle: early-stage was crafting the of the idea and script for DOOR COUNTY, followed by the production of DEPARTURES.
Our Kickstarter raised $5,000 for late-stage development: to prepare financial and legal documents related to our LLC; hire other filmmakers to help us prepare marketing and distribution plans; and pursue meetings, many of which by necessity involve travel to Los Angeles or New York.
In broad strokes: moving forward from a successful crowdfunding campaign requires us to attach actors and investment to the project. DOOR COUNTY is a script driven by a strong, 30-year-old female protagonist, and the film’s success will be determined in large part by landing the highest-profile actress possible for the role. After securing an initial investment of $400,000 we will be able to approach this caliber of actress, and by extension an equally strong supporting cast.
With the strength of that cast (think movie sabermetrics) we will seek an additional $600,000 in a final round of investment. With all of these elements in place, DOOR COUNTY gets the "green light" and enters the production cycle.
Hold on a second: I thought $20,000 was a lot of dough, you’re telling me this movie’s gonna cost a million bucks?
Yeah. It’s an investment comparable to opening a restaurant in the West Loop. Except that our “restaurant” is a piece of digital media that can be viewed anywhere on the planet (and in space too, which would be neat). There is definite upside to investing in an original film project like DOOR COUNTY.
And here’s the thing, there are a million moving parts in the development process. It’s long and difficult and every production faces unique obstacles. It’s why you sometimes hear about projects going into “development hell”.
But success is all about preparation. DEPARTURES is proof of that. It is an uncommonly polished pitch for an unusually compelling independent film. We know it will get us meetings with creative media investors and an actress or two, and we are prepared to take advantage when opportunity strikes.
And if the numbers are right, schedules align, and everyone signs on the dotted line... the film is “greenlit”, and DOOR COUNTY hits theatres eight months later.
Excellent. Can I read the script for DOOR COUNTY?
The script is part of the DOOR COUNTY producer's package (basically a business plan for film), and that's for prospective actors and investors only. But if you've got an interest in film investment and don't mind signing an NDA let's talk!
What if I have more questions?
I’m happy to answer them. If you’re an interested investor, film aficionado, or anyone in between, you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading.