Prospect Short Film

The short film Prospect has been making its way across the web from the guys over at Shep Films. Prospect is the coming-of-age story of a teenage girl on a toxic alien planet. She and her father hunt for precious materials, aiming to strike it rich. When the father is attacked by a roving bandit, the daughter must take control.

They shot on a budget of around $28,000 raised through kickstarter and a small grant from 4Culture in Seattle. They say however, given the huge amount of volunteer time, labor, and talent donated to the effort, the actual cost would probably have been closer to $100,000. The camera used on the film was a Black Magic Cinema camera 2.5 which gets a thumbs up from us of course. For glass they paired inexpensive Nikon Ai lenses and one Tokina 11-16 wide with a re-purposed Panasonic AG-LA7200 Anamorphic adaptor.

We have to give kudos to the art direction and the cinematography from Zeek Earl is Gorgeous. Even though the backdrop is a forest, most of the minimal atmospheric special effects do a good job making you feel as if you are on another planet. All of that said its just a very well made short film. Check it out on vimeo: http://vimeo.com/90049558.

Here are a few tips from the guys at Shep Films that they felt contributed to the success of their campaign.

1. Be Prepared to Work

Developing and running a campaign is a lot of work. Crowdsourcing is not free money. Research other campaigns to see what’s worked. Put in time on the front end to develop your campaign’s video and other assets. Build a schedule. Reach out to press in advance of launch. You’re basically starting a small business. Make sure you’re prepared.

2. Don’t Be Entitled

Nobody owes you anything. Be gracious. And, most importantly, put in the effort to prove why you won’t waste anyone’s money. We focused our efforts into a concept reel for the film. We invested in creating some initial costumes and props and shot test footage on location. This served as a sign of our commitment and a demonstration of our ability to execute. And it also ended up functioning as a pre-trailer to the film, getting people excited about the film’s aesthetic.

3. Create Compelling Content Around the Campaign

We didn’t think that the pitch would be compelling enough just by itself. While we had a lot of great assets – concept art, design prototypes, even actual props and test footage — we wanted to do everything we could to create additional content around the campaign, disguising the plea for money in a bunch of stuff that was interesting in its own right. A local artist illustrated a poster for the film. We released behind the scenes documentaries. We created a super-contained companion short to deepen the world of Prospect. We released our previous short film In The Pines online. And we were active in the comments in places like Reddit and on nofilmschool.com to be transparent about our development process for those who were interested.

Thanks again to Zeek Earl & Chris Caldwell for giving us something beautiful to watch!

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