The SAWDUST pilot, a 3D TV drama set within a circus during the Great Depression, will still be produced even if Kickstarter funding is not successful, 3D Focus is told.
"SAWDUST" is a period, family drama set on the stage and behind the scenes of a Depression-era traveling circus. It is set to be the first original drama being produced specifically for 3D television with Hollywood legend Mamie Van Doran signed up for the lead role.
It appears the Kickstarter campaign launched to finance the pilot won’t achieve the $100,000 goal, however, 3D Focus has been informed the pilot will go ahead with self-financing.
Rex Weiner has written the script for the Sawdust pilot and is also the producers rep. Rex has been a member of the Writers Guild of America since 1982 who’s screenwriting credits include The Adventures of Ford Fairlane. He was also one of the first writers hired to create the TV series Miami Vice.
Independent filmmaker and editor John grimshaw has the role of obtaining funding for the pilot and has worked with Wayne Schoenfeld for several years on a number of projects. Wayne put the project together in the first place and his series of circus photos a few years ago resonated with a 10,000 audience strong in Paris and 28,000 people in Salsberg. He is scheduled to be presenting a set at the Royal Circus, Monte Carlo in January, when it is hoped the Sawdust pilot will receive its premiere.
Wayne’s friend and 3D guru Anthony Coogan was instrumental in making Sawdust a 3D project. Anthony has been involved with stereo imaging for more than thirty years and has served as Stereo3D consultant on a variety of projects including NASA's Lunar Expeditionary Team at Rockwell International Space Center. He has worked on over sixty projects ranging from medical communications to "live" music concerts and stage performances. Anthony suggested to Wayne that his circus images could translate well as 3D moving images and the concept of Sawdust 3D was launched.
John Grimshaw told 3D Focus “First and foremost, [the audience] are going to get a great story. A good story well told is really what our goal is with this. The story is unique – there hasn’t really been anything like that for television in quite some time with the visual spectacle of the circus and the fact that it is taking place in a depression era, an economic climate not unlike the one we are experiencing today”.
The project attracted publicity due to its unique way of attracting funding. The producers posted a Kickstarter project, a crowd funding website for creative projects that offers a range of incremental incentives to project backers according to how much they pledge. Sawdust is the first attempt to fund a 3DTV pilot via the website.
“It seems as though people are not certain about the future of 3D and so no one is willing to take the risk” said Wayne. “There is a fair amount of my cash going into this too. Kickstarter is only a partial way of funding and for us it’s also a way of sort of getting it out there but behind the scenes we are talking to a number of other people who are likely to partner with me to put in additional cash”.
With most Kickstarter projects not attracting 100% funding we were curious to know if Sawdust would still go ahead…“It just means I will be writing bigger cheques” said Wayne. “We would certainly hope and prefer that our kickstarter campaign is going to be successful. Having said that, there are contingency plans to make this thing happen but the reason that kickstarter is such an interesting model is everyday people can be a producer of a Hollywood production”.
The team were recently present at the 3D Entertainment Summit escorting their lead actress Mamie Van Doren, bringing some Hollywood glamour to the project, of which Rex is delighted about “We are very pleased to announce cinema icon Mamie Van Doren has been cast in the leading role of Sawdust – she will play the Ring Mistress, trying to hold the circus together during difficult times. She is a terrific actress and a wonderful woman and she looks great.”
Funding for 3D TV projects is a challenge and the Sawdust team had originally approached the 3D networks but to no avail. As 3ality Technica CEO Steve Schklair told us “The 3D TV market in America is going nowhere” so $100,000 is a large gamble for most conservative networks, especially outside the established 3D stable of sports, movie and natural history. In America, 3net is the main 3D channel and it is difficult to imagine how Sawdust would fit within its schedule but Wayne hopes that networks will be more willing to take the risk once the pilot has been made…
“Advertising is not there for 3D right now and one of the reasons we decided that this was a good time to get into 3D is that there is an open book. You have all these channels that are broadcasting that have really terrible material. So to be able to provide them with some really quality episodic drama we think will create business for us and for others”.
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From a creative perspective, John Grimshaw believes 3D will add more to Sawdust “If you look at the story that Rex has created it is compelling on its own, however in my opinion 3D is an absolutely essential storytelling device if it is done properly. It is not just an add on where you are going to be watching this and all of a sudden something is going to be sticking in your face like a sword or something. I think the way 3D is going to be utilised in this particular series is as a storytelling component and I think the excitement of this project is bringing that to the public so they can see how that really works and why it is compelling, why it is the future and why we believe in it so much”.
The Sawdust crew hope to begin shooting in October or November in time for a premiere at an exhibition in Monte Carlo in January 2013. For more information visit Newdemocracyproductions.com
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