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Okay. After four years of writing scripts and receiving no substantial option offers from Hollywood (I'm Canadian but live in Denmark, which doesn't help matters much), I decided to write a low-budget script, film it myself with my friends for crew and actors in Denmark, then use it as a calling card in the States...or so I thought.
I managed to round up about 20 grand by selling everything I owned. Then, by chance, I walked by a prodco's office and decided to go in and introduce myself. They were so impressed with my enthusiasm for my project, and my "I'm making this film no matter what" attitude, that they immediately optioned my script (for nothing) with my condition that the film be in production within six months with whatever money raised by then (because I always had my 20,000 to fall back on in case they couldn't come up with anything).
Sure enough, though, they raised a very respectable amount in that short period of time. They could have got ten times more if I would have made the film in Danish, but it had to be in English if I was going to use it as my calling card.
Anyway, it turned out to be much more than a calling card when I was able to get professional actors and crew with the money they did end up raising, plus all the equipment and lighting I required. We wrapped principle photography last month and we also signed a distributor.
The film will be released in the theaters in selected European cinemas, and with any luck, it will make it over to the 2006 festivals in North America.
So in conclusion, don't take no for an answer. Ever. If you want it bad enough, go make it happen.
Hope someone can use this as inspiration.
James Barclay - very proud writer/director of "Himmerland"
James, that is an inspiring story. Congratulations! I hope the film does so well that it opens the doors wide for your next project (and the next, and the next!)
You are my hero. Congratulations! That's the way to do it.
A big congratulations!
I'll be looking for the movie.
Good for you and pushing on with ambition.
I have said it before and will say it again, Canada and Europe are where all the action is for newer or unproduced writers.
There are many Production Houses looking for new material and are willing to take a hell of a lot more chances than Hollywood does.
It is more about the story than the money in the backend and upfront.
Best of luck with the final cut and the festival circuit.
Great job James! Good for you. If the film is good and gets attention in Hollywood, it will open doors for you. Of course I must say that if any unknown screenwriter in Hollywood tried to walk into a production company and tried the same thing, it wouldn't work. So any new screenwriters in Hollywood reading this thread, save your time, don't sell everything you own and walk into a major studio thinking you will get a meeting. What you could do, is get enough money to film a short or a trailer of your script and use that to get yourself some attention. There is no magic formula, everyone has a different story of how they made it, but networking is so important.
Does anyone know of production companies or agents in Canada?
They have a list of guild signatory agents.
Good luck. Orlanda
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