December 1, 2005

HC Newsletter - December 1, 2005


It's hard to believe, but December is upon us. I suppose it might be easier to accept for those of you living in colder climates, but this year seems to be moving at a swifter pace than any in recent memory.

This is the first in what will be a series of monthly (or more frequent) newsletters to those who are formally or informally involved in the forthcoming independent film "Humboldt County." Over the next few months we plan to build a website where these updates will be posted and where we will be able to engage in a more interactive dialogue about the progress of the project. In the meanwhile, you'll just have to suffer through this old fashioned, "electric mail" correspondence.

Though it is likely that Danny, Darren, or I have been in contact with each of you sometime in the past few weeks, you may not be aware of the extent of the effort that we are putting forth right now in order to advance the film. We and other members of our team are currently spending the majority of our time in the following four areas, listed in no particular order:

1) Script: The script continues to be our best tool in attracting creative elements to the project. We constantly receive overwhelmingly positive responses from readers within the industry, and having a sound script is an oft overlooked element in the recipe for a successful film. Though the "Humboldt County" script has been in a stable state for many months now, we still occasionally receive from readers enlightening notes that we feel will improve the story. Based on such feedback, Danny & Darren have recently completed a new draft of the script which includes a number of relatively small changes that -- as a whole -- further enrich the characters and storyline. If any of you is interested in reading this new version, let me know and I will be happy to forward it to you.

2) Crew: Though they may not seem as important as the people on the screen, there are dozens or sometimes hundreds of people working behind the camera on every film who fundamentally affect its quality. We have been making a concerted effort over the past few months to research, recruit, and interview innumerable candidates for key roles like Cinematographer (also known as Director of Photography), Production Designer, Costume Designer, Editor, etc. You may not understand the purpose of each of these positions, but they are essential to the filmmaking process, and we intend to fill our roster with the highest quality crew we can. One of our more recent recruits, legendary cinematographer James Glennon (whose credits are listed here: is an example of the sort of person we've been able to attract based on the script and our vision for the film.

3) Cast: This area is inevitably the one that most people care about, for obvious reasons. At the moment, we're still in the nascent stages of our casting process. Because we are at least four months from starting production and because our financing is not yet finalized, we have been holding off on contacting actors (through their agents) until our offering is the best it can be. Over the past few weeks, we have had several meetings with our Casting Director, John Jackson, in order to strategize our approach in the tricky area of attracting recognizable actors to this project. Casting can be a long, slow, and often frustrating process, but we will certainly keep you informed as we make headway in this important area.

4) Financing: We currently have hard commitments and/or funding for approximately half of our minimum budget. Because we would prefer to raise more than this minimum (which will allow us more flexibility when it comes to cast, schedule, and other tradeoffs), we continue to aggressively pursue new investor candidates. It goes without saying that failure to complete our financing in a timely fashion will have an notable impact on our schedule. Our pipeline of prospective investors is considerable, but by no means full, so -- as always -- if any of your friends or colleagues might be intrigued by the opportunity, we'd be grateful for an introduction.

Hopefully I have provided a good sense of our current status and priorities. One important note that I want to convey before I sign off: filmmaking is both a fickle and highly collaborative process. On a film of this (or, really, any) size, there is bound to be considerable flux. I ask you to keep this fact in mind as we move forward, as one month we may announce that certain individuals have come on board, and by the next they may no longer be involved, due to scheduling conflicts, contractual difficulties or any number of issues. The idea that we need to trust is that, because of the collaborative nature of filmmaking, no single individual will make or break a movie. It's going to be a fun ride, with plenty of bumps along the way, but I strongly believe we'll all be smiling in the end.

I encourage any of you to contact me with general or specific questions, and I will try to respond as quickly as possible. (Please try to contain these questions to the matters of this project; I'm really no good with answers to queries about car problems, baking, child rearing, and the like.)

Happy December,