Point Of View

Point of View: The Never Man Chases Million Dollar Dream:
a Guest Post by Michel Plaxton

There are a number of innovative ways to fund a feature film in Canada.  Crowd-source funding, like indiegogo, has become an increasingly legitimate source of money/power from the people.  Netflix has gotten into the game, funnelling real money into new productions.  Fingers-crossed that the CRTC will give a nod to the Starlight channel, a proposed all-Canadian-film broadcaster with 70% of its revenue slated for Canadian film production – at least on the present drawing board.  But for now there is another actual avenue.

What would you say if you could win a million dollars towards the production and distribution of your feature film?  That’s right: win.  It’s a competition. And it’s called Cinecoup.

Cinecoup insists it is not a contest, probably for legal reasons, but also because they truly see themselves as a different kind of film studio, generating interest and investment through social media buzz.  They are looking to give commercial, truly populist movie projects – that would never get a change at government funding – a financial shot in the arm.

The folks at Cinecoup describe themselves as “an innovative web platform-as-film studio model” and a “gamified Film Accelerator.” What’s that all mean? Beats me.  But in practical terms, each week over several months, teams of filmmakers meet creative and social media challenges to develop their film projects.  Projects are evaluated not only on their craft and creativity, but also by online voting. Film buffs make an impact; the more votes the better.

Projects are weeded out, through weighted scoring (creativity, craft, social media voting), down from the initial group to the Top 60, Top 40, Top 15 and so on.  The Top 10 all get optioned.  The winning film project gets $1 Million financing and guaranteed distribution in Cineplex theaters across Canada.

I learned about Cinecoup through my friend King-Pin (yes, that’s his real name) Lei. To enter, we needed to meet a few criteria: form a 3-person team (no more, no less), create Facebook and Twitter entities for our projects (the more “Likes” and Followers, the better) and produce a trailer for a non-existent film.

Sounds crazy but doable.  We jumped on King-Pin’s story idea for a sci-fi thriller, entitled The Never Man.  We hooked up with talented screenwriter, actor and friend Todd McGinnis and threw our collective hats into the ring.

Armed with only a rough story line, we hashed out what our trailer would look like.  Through friends, family, associates, no shortage of begging and borrowing – and in a feat that would’ve made Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney envious – we gathered talented actors and technicians to shoot a sci-fi feature trailer.  Shot over a weekend, composited, edited, and scored within a week, our trailer was in the can.  Since then, we faced other weekly creative and marketing tasks, or “Missions”, some more onerous than others.  All of which are available for viewing on Cinecoup’s website (cinecoup.com).

As of this writing, we are midway through the competition, having completed the 7th Mission.  All along the way, teams have been weeded out. The Never Man has made it into the Top 40.  And voting for the Top15 is ongoing until Sunday, April 28th.

Overall, for team Never Man, it’s been a tough but thrilling ride.  And there’s more to come… if we pass the next stage: the Top 15.  Which reminds me… I’d be remiss if I didn’t say please go vote now for The Never Man at www.cinecoup.com/the-never-man.  Five minutes of your time could make the difference!

This is Cinecoup’s inaugural year.  Only time will tell if Cinecoup will make a lasting impact on the Canadian film scene.  However, it has made an impression on the teams of filmmakers, their supporters and film fans so far.

Visit the Cinecoup website.  Check out the different projects.  You’ll quickly find something that turns your crank.  It’s a film buff’s buffet.  And vote for The Never Man… often.  Yes, you can vote more than once; the more projects you check out, comment on, “like,” etc., the more votes you earn. Vote early. Vote often.

And cross your fingers for Cinecoup’s continued success – for the sake of Canadian filmmakers and film fans alike.

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