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Posts tagged ‘telefilm’

‘SHADOWLAND’ FUNDRAISER and FAQ!!!

June 2, 2014

Brooke Burgess

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(by Brooke Burgess)

Q: What’s this all ABOUT?

Like the video says – I’m seeking support for my 5-book middle grade (8-12yrs) contemporary children’s fantasy series: The Shadowland Saga.

Q: What’s the quick and dirty way to donate?

PAYPAL or INTERAC e-PAYMENT (for Canucks) to my mail:

bb@brookeburgess.com

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paypal donation button

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Q: Why not a formal KICKSTARTER/Indiegogo?

Scope. The stats show that the formal crowd-funding campaigns that tend to be the most successful are related to tech, games, film/TV, and content with established brands (I’m looking at you, Reading Rainbow).  This is just a bunch of books – and the funding goal ain’t that high – so I wanted to keep the focus on close friends, industry peers, and hardcore fans of my previous work with this more personal approach.

Now…if the series takes off, and there’s a rabid audience eager to fund the launch of a full blown transmedia experience of the narrative world?  Then you’ll see Shadowland on Kickstarter in a big way. Count on it.

Q: Why NOW? The first book isn’t even published yet!

Heard of Wattpad? It’s Facebook for readers. Over 25 million of ‘em.

I posted the first six (unedited) chapters of the book there this spring to a great response. A month ago, an editor for the service got in touch and asked if the whole story was complete. It was. Then he asked if I’d be interested in FEATURING it on their front page for a month, and at the top of their Featured List for five more, starting this July.

So…it’s a chance to reach thousands (and potentially millions) of new readers who could evangelize the story’s ‘brand’ before it officially launches…but, I’d be giving away the first book for free. Which is a beautiful idea in theory — especially considering the themes of the story — and has the potential to drive more success later thanks to a loyal audience.

Hey, it’s worked before.

Q: What’s the STORY, morning glory? 

Thrills. Chills. Mystery. Drama. Magic. Adventure. Pirates! And CATS!!!

The Shadowland Saga is a story loosely based on actual events – and, more importantly, a series of life-altering dreams – from my childhood in rural Nova Scotia. Curious yet?  Here’s the bittersweet genesis of it all, which inspired one close friend to remark, ‘Jeez, Brooke…that sounds like the origin story of a pre-teen superhero?’  And there was an eerie kinda truth in her words.

The synopsis of the first book in the series, The Cat’s Maw:

In the sleepy town of Appleton, 10yr-old loner Billy Brahm follows a cat onto the road and is struck by a car. His leg is shattered, his summer ruined, and his brief life is changed forever. He returns home from the hospital, and the mysterious cat is waiting for him. That night, dark and prophetic dreams haunt the boy — visions that seem born of an impossible place. Is this strange realm the key to healing his broken body? Is the cat with the golden eyes there to help the boy, or to unleash the nightmares into the waking world?

Too frightened to share the truth with his strict adoptive parents, Billy realizes that the only ones he can turn to are the country vet’s tomboy daughter, the town’s ‘crazy cat lady’, and a robed, tea-drinking mystic from the other side…

The tiger named Tao.

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Q: Why do you NEED money? You’re living it up in Asia!

Interesting story, that…

Last spring, I was called back to Canada to do some narrative design consulting for a big multinational media company that shall remain nameless.  The collaboration was disappointing, to say the least – I was lucky to have my relocation and living costs covered when all was said and done.

Flash forward to last September. I was flown out to Paris for a meeting with another nameless media powerhouse to discuss a major collaboration. Dream gig with dream pay. They made an offer, and I was to receive my relocation and work visa paperwork the following March.  To save money, I had them fly me back to Asia so I could start writing the first book in earnest. At least I could finish that one before my funds and credit dried up, and I embarked on a new life in France…

I didn’t learn until the end of THIS February that someone was hired internally to save money.  Which left me dans la merde. 

Q: What’s your FUNDING GOAL, and what happens if you surpass it?

I’m trying to raise approx 30K for the entire series. As I outline in the video, this will cover:

  • Professional editing
  • Industry-standard layout
  • Original illustrations (cover and interior panels)
  • Audiobooks (talent and engineering)
  • P & P (publishing and promotion)
  • BASIC living expenses

If a miracle happens, and I somehow surpass this goal?  Then every cent would go into top-notch TRANSLATIONS: French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, and multiple Asian languages. Anywhere that cats and quality children’s literature are loved and appreciated!

Q: Okay…then how much are those LIVING EXPENSES, anyway?

Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and the like have been a godsend.  ‘Oh my Buddha!’ as the locals like to say.  Rents are cheap, food’s even cheaper (especially in the north), and wifi is free and abundant.  And that’s all I really need:

  • I can survive on $500/month.  (single room + 2 meals/day)
  • I can get by on $700/month.  (single room + A/C + meals)
  • I can thrive on $900/month. (room + meals + scooter + beer!)

So, yeah…I’m happy to plunk away on a laptop with a cracked screen and scribble outlines on a 50 cent notepad whilst snacking on local fruit, veg’, and a spicy curry or stir fry per day.

This campaign ain’t about lifestyle, friends – it’s about making a creative dream come true.

Q: What about BROKEN SAINTS? Didn’t you rake in the dough?

Okay – time to set the record straight on this issue once and for all:

  • During the creation of the web series (2000-2003), we self-funded the entire thing.  Fan donations and benefit concerts helped a little, adding approx 15K to our coffers.
  • In late 2004, we were awarded a 250K recoupable grant from Telefilm Canada – meaning that we had to pay it back.  The team swelled from 4 to 40, most working for ‘sweat equity’.  Sales of the original indie DVD barely dented that, PLUS we lost 60K on 2000 copies that fell into a black hole with a bankrupt distributor.
  • A year later, 20th Century Fox Home Video (yes, that FOX) agreed to worldwide distribution for the DVD set. Huzzah!  They gave us a low-mid 6-figure royalty advance, which we used for salaries, legal and licensing, and to pay back the lion’s share of the Telefilm grant.  By 2007, that bank account was a pleasant memory.
  • The DVD set has since sold 90K copies worldwide (not bad for no marketing spend!), but needed to sell – thanks to defective glue on the first run of cases and the classic rules of studio creative accounting (just ask Peter Jackson and friends) – 200K copies to ‘break even’ before they paid out a cent.

Q: Why not get a PUBLISHER ADVANCE like real writers do?

Publishers just aren’t forking out the dough like they used to.

The industry is in shambles, traditional powerhouse pubs in NY and London are tightening their belts and raising the gates, and debut authors (particularly in challenging genres like children’s fiction) are being offered tiny advances with draconian contracts that surrender all control of an original IP to their legal and marketing departments.  The days of Rowling-like success for new writers are over.

The more research I did, particularly surrounding fantasy and mystery/horror stories for young readers, the more I realized that self-publishing was simply the way to go.

Q: What if we’re LIKE YOU — too broke to help?  

That’s okay!  Here are some other great ways you can chip in:

  • Can you pimp the above video with a bit o’ glowing praise? 
  • Can you Tweet, Facebook, Tumblr, Google+, Reddit, re-blog, and bathroom-wall this post? 
  • Can you Like/Star and comment on the Wattpad chapters? 
  • Can you promise to say something nice on Amazon and Goodreads when the book comes out?  

Seriously, gang…every little bit helps!

Q: Who the hell are you? I ended up here by fluke. What have you DONE?

I hear ya’…we’ve all searched and clicked on questionable stuff before. No judgment here ;)

Scope out the PROJECTS folder if you’re the curious/due-diligence type. Oh, and here are links to two of my projects on Amazon, with a third due later this summer.

Q: How do we know you even like CATS, and aren’t just cashing in on the whole ‘I Can Has Cheezburger/Henri/Grumpy Cat’ thing?

I could explain, but I’ll just let my true love tell you with her eyes:

“He loves them almost TOO much…”

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IN DEVELOPMENT: Dance of the White Tiger!

January 24, 2013

Brooke Burgess

Muay Thai Motion Picture Mayhem!

A belated Happy 2013, one and all!  Another year brings a firm resolve, fresh inspiration, and exciting new projects to share.  I’ve been teasing feature film developments for what seems like an age, and with the challenges inherent to raising capital in the world of indie film, it’s high time to attempt a more traditional narrative.  Something with multi-quadrant audience appeal, international market support, and potential franchiseabilityOne of those rare industry blips where the rewards clearly outweigh the risks.  And, it should go without saying by now, something with multiplatform aspirations carved into its atomic structure from conception.

A little over two years ago, I committed to a ‘work vacation’.  It was to be an exotic change of scene, with the hopes of finishing the first draft of a Telefilm-funded screenplay I had pitched, and getting my physical health in line after years of late nights, table-sized Canadian portions, and ungodly levels of caffeine and sugar.

I would end up choosing Thailand.  And, for two incredible months, I would write…and learn the ways of Muay Thai. 

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RISEN

WORK
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TIMELINE:  2011 – CURRENT

PLATFORM:  Feature Film

GENRE:  Contemporary Sci-Fi

CLIENT:  In-House IP w/ HULO FILMS

LOGLINE:  Sheltered in a remote orphanage, a disabled teen (JACOB PRICE – 16) has terrifying visions of a technological apocalypse.  Little does he realize that the real battle will be waged within his very cells…and that the future of the human race will be HIS to decide.

With an original short story treatment, multi-stage development financing from Telefilm Canada and Saskfilm was secured for this teen sci-fi high concept.   Reminiscent of ‘thinking man’ cult hits including The Lawnmower Man, The Matrix, and Chronicle,  two (2) screenplay drafts have been successfully completed and reviewed by major distributors.

Project partners HULO FILMS are entering negotiations for international co-production beginning in Spring 2012.  You can view the digital pitch package here, which includes some sweet concept art by David Cameron Sloan.

Another Project in the Works..?

November 16, 2010

Brooke Burgess

"The Sleeper has not just Awakened...it has RISEN."

Sixteen years ago, the world was nearly brought to its knees by an ambitious experiment gone awry:  the first great advance in Bio-Intelligence.  The Program was born within manmade cells  – living code, designed to learn and evolve and serve our growing needs – and it was quickly becoming Conscious.  Without warning, the program spread beyond the top-secret confines of the laboratory.  Every screen on Earth flashed in unison with Its haunting image.  Every wire screamed with Its terrible frequency…

And then?  Nothing.

The Ghost was either imprisoned in – or had fled – the Machine.

It’s now 2012.  Locked away in a remote orphanage, a disabled teen named JACOB has no idea that his life – and the World itself – is about to change forever.  The boy is possessed by dark visions of a coming war between humanity and a frightening new force on Earth.  Little does he realize that the battle will be waged within him, and that the future of life itself is his to decide!


OLD-SCHOOL PRODUCTION DIARY!!!

August 24, 2010

Brooke Burgess

Whatever didn't kill us...keeps us rockin' in the free world.

Yesterday, I had the good fortune to hang with Broken Saints audio guru Adam Fulton for the first time in what seems like a warped age.  The afternoon included heaps of reminiscing along a winding coastal nature walk (I’m romantic that way), some quality java, copious cheeseish and cheesesque substances, and a slice of cinematic dessert.  Adam and I struck up a fast friendship during our Instructor days;  we were a pair of creative rebels – considered specialists in our chosen fields – and made it our parallel missions to inject undiluted doses of Passion into the minds and hearts of seemingly apathetic hordes of students…many of whom were only too happy to burn their parents’ mutual funds at Gaming University.

But no experience served our friendship more – and challenged it on every conceivable level, to the point of utter disintegration – than fighting side-by-side in the digital trenches of the Broken Saints 4-disc DVD 5.1 surround mix.   So, after a great reconnection and earnest pledges or more to follow from both sides,  I couldn’t help but dig in the saintly archives in search of some artifact from that vital era.  Something and found this old production diary

The account below - which was later published in Canada’s Reel West Digest - only skims the surface of what Adam and I (and the rest of the 30-strong DVD team) experienced on that 9 month adventure/greasy-slide-into-Hell.   But it might just give you an idea of what’s required when true Collaboration comes a knockin’, and the lasting rewards for those brave (and perhaps stupid) enough to answer the goddamn door…

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