Welcome to Just Crowdfund the $&*# Movie!, where indie moviemaker Jayce Bartok talks about the dos and don’ts of crowdfunding from the trenches of his own crowdfunding campaign. Have a question for Jayce about his movie, Tiny Dancer, or just crowdfunding in general? Ask away at .
Have you ever stepped back and thought “Holy crap, I’ve been so busy Tweeting that I forgot about my film!”? In the midst of Hurricane Irene, Tiffany and I showed our work-in-progress to Tiny Dancer’s lead actress, Daphne Rubin-Vega. As the rain pounded against the windows, she leaned back and said: “I like it. It’s compelling, but what is the story?” For a moment I felt like I was in the eye of the storm as I, too, wondered about good old fashioned things like the script, plot and characters—stuff that involves huddling over a laptop at Starbucks, plinking away on Final Draft. Damn, damn, damn.
I mean, I made my first film, The Cake Eaters, as a writer, so I know it’s all about script, but in the midst of the hurricane of crowdfunding responsibilities, the note “REWRITE” on my dry erase board kept getting pushed farther and farther down the list by things like “PARTY,” “GUEST LIST” and “SOCIAL NTWRK!”.
It’s a glass of water in the face when you realize that the most important thing you should do as a moviemakers is to make a good film. In the race to get a film made, many moviemakers lose sight of this. In my opinion, that is the great undoing of so many DIY crowdfunding experiences. We watch the teaser trailers, we click the “contribute” button and we watch films made by friends and peers who are so damn glad that it’s over. They’ve devoted a majority of their time, not to the film itself, but to surviving the insanity of trying to raise money for it… and that shows up onscreen.
In my years as an actor, it took me a long time to realize that when someone shouts “Action!,” you should take a second, get yourself together and know that, in the final analysis, it’ll be you on the screen. Not that cranky 1st AD who has it in for you… it’s your mug. As a moviemaker, you have to realize that it’ll be your film onscreen, not a montage of all the donors who believed in you. Those donors won’t be happy if you lose sight of your vision.
So as Tiffany and I raced out of the flash-flood waters back to the safety of NYC (never leave the city, ever), I asked myself “What am I doing? What film am I making?” It’s not a great feeling to have, that uncertainty, but it’s an important one.
On that note, I wanted to give you all a glimpse of what we’ve been working on. I’d love to hear your feedback (gulp!). Below is a sneak peek at Tiny Dancer (I won’t call it a “trailer,” because we haven’t shot the freakin’ thing yet).
Jayce Bartok is an actor and moviemaker who runs Vinyl Foote Productions from Brooklyn with his wife Tiffany. Currently, you can see him on USA’s “White Collar” and in the upcoming feature film Predisposed, opposite Melissa Leo. Follow The Independent Collective at twitter.com/ticnyc to stay updated on the Tiny Dancer crowdfunding campaign.