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 .
Later today, Tiffany and I are boarding a plane for the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, where two of the films I had the good fortune of acting in, Michael Walker’s Price Check and Phil Dorling and Ron Nyswaner’s Predisposed, are having their premieres. We both feel extremely late to the party. All week, people have been emailing things like “Meet me on Main Street!” or “You are invited to the gifting suite!” When they hear we’re arriving in Park City for the last half of the festival, they promptly say something like “Oh, I’ll be back in NYC on Monday. You really are missing everything if you don’t come the first weekend. Why even bother going?!” You’d think we’ll be arriving in a ghost town!
On a serious note, the sad passing at the festival of October Films co-founder Bingham Ray, whom Sundance founder Robert Redford called “a true warrior for independent voice,” was shocking. Many of my earliest indie crushes—Mike Leigh’s Secrets & Lies, Lars von Trier’s Breaking the Waves and David Lynch’s Lost Highway among them—were Ray’s babies. And I’m always so impressed when I hear how Ray was the only one to embrace and release Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine.
Then we hear that Tracy Morgan—who stars in Prediposed!—collapsed from exhaustion after being honored by the Creative Coalition Spotlight Awards in Park City. Of course, after hearing the news my first thought was: “Wait, that means he won’t be at the Predisposed premiere!” Sure enough, his Twitter—“Thank U 2 the hospital staff. Back at work 2morrow shooting 30 Rock. Holla at me!”—confirms it.
Speaking of Twitter, it’s playing a huge role at Sundance this year. Early tweets reacting to films have been leading to empty seats and crazy reversals in expectations about certain films. Take this initial reaction to Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer, tweeted by ComingSoon.net’s @WkndWarriorCS: “Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer joins Hounddog, Downloading Nancy and [The Informers] as one of the worst movies to ever premiere at #sundance.” It got worse as Erik Childress of efilmcritic.com tweeted that “I have so many negative things to say about Spike Lee’s RED HOOK SUMMER that I don’t know where to begin.”
Do people realize how ultra-negative tweets can hinder the sale of someone’s film? From where we stand, just trying to get a film finished is an accomplishment, let alone getting accepted to Sundance. And then all that pain and strife and struggle is reduced to a 140-character tweet.
I have to admit, I’m a little terrified about going. An indie pioneer dies, Tracy Morgan collapses and then these horrible tweets about Spike Lee… Should we even go? I know it’s an insane thought. We put together a press kit, a trailer and excerpts from the Tiny Dancer script, hoping to have a nice package we can use to entice power brokers. But will they all be too busy checking Twitter to find out what to buy and what to avoid?
Stay tuned for my next post, where I’ll fill you all in on what went down at Sundance.
Jayce Bartok is an actor/producer/writer/director who runs Vinyl Foote Productions from Brooklyn with his wife Tiffany. He wrote, co-produced and starred in The Cake Eaters and can currently be seen in USA’s “White Collar” and in the upcoming feature films Predisposed, opposite Melissa Leo, and Price Check, both premiering at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. To stay updated on his Tiny Dancer progress, follow @JayceBartok and @TICNYC on Twitter.