Saturday, April 20, 2013

Have you 'sold' a book for free?

Writers often promote their careers by giving away books for free.

My daughter, Rachel, hopes jump-start her career as a film storyteller by shooting and posting a sketch comedy webseries she calls 'Middle America.' The show is about two German dancers, Guter Helmet and Anslag Slag, who relocate their unique dancing skills to the booming oil fields of North Dakota and find their eccentric selves completely out of place in that conservative rural community.

During Christmas vacation, I manned the camera for her first rehearsal in our family room. {My daughter is the blonde-wigged character.  She's been collecting the props in this picture for over a year.

Our hometown newspaper surprised her by featuring her extras casting call on the front page of the Wednesday paper: Filmmaker seeking 'non-actors' for new comedy series.  Rachel explained why she wanted to film in our small rural town. She asked for "flannel shirts and puppy printed sweatshirts" in a husband and wife team, an organist, a hotel manager, a quilting group, an outdoorsman and oil field workers. She hoped someone--anyone--would show up.

Thirty-one people came from four towns. Some were eager for show biz discovery. Others thought it would be fun to check off an item on their bucket list.

A German friend has offered dialect coaching. The lumber yard is offering plywood at cost. The new meat market on Main Street wants to serve $5 boxed lunches. A local bar has offered an upstairs space to build a set. (Guter and Aslaug will turn out to be terrible pole dancers. They'll have just three fans--the bar owner's twin 9-year old sons and his wheelchair-bound father.)

The crew will work for food--and to repay Rachel for seven years of producing their independent film projects. We'll borrow campers to house them--the camera operator, sound recorder, set electrician, set stylist, hair and make-up, assistant director. My son will build the sets. My daughter-in-law is scouting locations. My grandkids will run around getting extras to sign release forms.

Rachel is preparing the text and videos for a campaign to raise $5500 for set materials and shooting expenses. With luck, and support from the universe, she'll shoot seven ten-minutes episodes in late June. And her show will be a hit.


Renee Ann Miller said...

Oh, Ana, that sounds like a hoot! Look forward to seeing the finished project on the web. Wishing Rachel and your family the best of luck and success with this!

Ana Morgan said...

Thanks, Renee!
So much work goes into pre-production. And the actual filming is repetition after repetition. Actors and crew work really hard.
It is scary and exciting. A huge investment of energy and money for an uncertain payoff.

Just like writing...

Misty Dietz said...

Hilarious! Looking forward to watching! :)

Ana Morgan said...

Thanks, Misty. We just settled on the logline:

This webseries is about two odd German dancers who relocate to the oil fields of North Dakota to promote their exotic minimalist dances at a local strip club. Definitely out-of-place in Middle America, Guter and Aslaug try hard to fit in and dance without taking off their clothes.

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