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Outside In Budget Slashed - Focus on Donations and Sponsors

It’s been a interesting couple of months since the media coverage and YouTube exposure hit. Lots of interest in the film but ultimately, I turned down the two investor groups. Never an easy decision but one that has led to some serious and creative thinking about the film and funding.

The bottom line of this thinking is that “Outside In” is returning to its roots as a not-for-profit film to keep its spirit, message and art pure. Secondly, while traveling, I had some time to start thinking creatively about how to produce the film for as little as possible. On returning home, I started to doing testing and research on exactly the leanest way I could get the film made without losing anything on-screen.

Turns out, there was plenty of fat to trim. First, when you are pitching a film as commercial enterprise, investors want assurance that if something happens to me or the film, they are protected. So, extra staff has to be hired, extra insurance, contingency funds etc. That quickly piles up a budget. But by funding with donations through my fiscal sponsor (Fractured Atlas), donors and sponsor don’t have that concern. They are making a tax-deductible contribution to a great organization that will insure the funds are spent on the film or should something go wrong, the funds go to a very worthwhile organization that support thousands of artists around the world.

Then I started doing some testing with OpenEXR,  an incredible file format that allows a huge reduction in storage and processing power needed for the film. OpenEXR was developed by Industrial Light & Magic, the visual effects company started by George Lucas who were frustrated (as I have been) with the usual file formats available for high-end visual effects.

So, with these two big factors and several other tweaks, the budget for the film is now less than half – only about $150k to produce and $250k for the final digital negative. This lower budget means funding the films with donations and sponsors is now very doable. Plus, it just feels much better. The goal of “Outside In” is not to make money. The goal is to inspire. By being able to keep the film pure in spirit, I have a much better chance of achieving that goal.

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