Facebook. Twitter. Google+. Skype. Tumblr. Get ‘em right here folks. Get your actors right here!
Social media has been invaluable in the casting process for A Perfect Weapon. It’s also been invaluable in the crewing-up process as well. I’ve been able to reach into the coffers of several social site to connect with like-minded, talented folks to begin the casting and crewing-up process. I say “begin” because this is just the start. There’s lots more to do.
For now, here is a taste of the people who have already gotten the “greenlight” from me. Some have been officially offered a roll. Others have been asked if they’re willing to come in and read for me.
Phil – met him on Facebook (actor)
Brandon – met him on Twitter (actor)
Elena – met her while casting a movie for a friend in Texas.
Chester – met him at the Hollywood Black film Festival portal, then on Twitter and Facebook (actor)
Kaitlyn – met her on Twitter (2nd AD/PC)
Justin – met him on Twitter (Associate Producer)
Paul – met him on Twitter (Line Producer)
Parimal – met him at IFFLA, then on Facebook
Check out how DESTINY played a role in many of these connections.
A PERFECT WEAPON stars four incredibly talented international actors: Alimi Ballard, Tehmina Sunny, and Ravi Kapoor.
When I decided to do a little #WritingSprint back in October 2010, little did I know that destiny had plans for me three years into the future.
Earlier that year I had written, produced and directed a little project called Resurrection of Serious Rogers. It was a thriller in a series of thrillers that I had been toying with. While shooting RSR in January 2010 I fractured my wrist and had to wear a cast for several months. So, by October I was dying to write something. I’m pretty sure I’d written the outline and treatment for Deterrence Theory while I still had my cast on.
That month, in October 2010, I wrote two full length feature film scripts. Each was about 125 pages. First up was Deterrence Theory. I wrote it in 7 days. Three days later I started to write Demigod, and I finished it in 8 days. Little did I know that Destiny had already written a little sumthing-sumthing.
I love thrillers, especially action-packed political thrillers where there’s a conspiracy and a secret government organization that has its own agenda. You know, Tom Clancy type shit. But when I wrote Deterrence Theory I wrote it specifically with characters of color. Why? Because It shouldn’t matter what color the CIA agent, the spy or the terrorist is, so why can’t he be black, or she be Chinese or Indian?
Specifically I chose Indian. For some reason India’s political landscape and geographical position just appealed to me. And the landscape is marvelous, It has a jungle, a desert, poor areas and very rich areas. My main characters were African American, Indian/African, Chinese and Moroccan, but the core of the story connected India, the Middle East and America.
I rewrote the story over the next two years while getting input from several people. The entire time I thought to myself, “I need to sell this script because I’ll never be able to make it.” But in my heart I knew that if I sold to a studio they’d do like they always do, “whitewash” the cast.
Then I heard about Juntobox Films and Forest Whitaker being the Honorary Chairperson. I rewrote the script, wrote in a cameo for Forest and submitted. My project became the 2nd most viewed project on the site. Later when the first place project was taken down because the creators had fabricated their views, Deterrence Theory was #1. I thought the film was going to be made until I learned of the budget cap on JBF projects. At the time my project wasn’t written to be a low six-figures project. I rewrote it for budget and cut down my set pieces, which allowed me even more room for character development. I literally went from about 50 speaking roles to twenty, which gave me even more room to work on character development. It was done — but it was still too expensive.
DESTINY STEPS IN
I started to think that I could make the movie for $1M with a tight budget, more rewrites and a star. I started searching for actors and actresses and the project morphed into “A Perfect Weapon” codename: the #MassivelyBigIdea.
Then destiny stepped in. I needed some extra money so I asked my friend John, whom I hadn’t seen in years, to keep an eye out for potential gigs for me. John introduced me to Parimal who was working the Indian Film Festival LA and needed an editor. Turns out Parimal was also one of the top Bollywood news journalists in LA. We got along great and suddenly I had all this access to top Indian talent!
On the social media side I saw Alimi on Twitter. I was a huge fan of NUMB3RS back in the day. I wondered if Alimi would be interested in my script, but I didn’t want to come off sounding like a Twitter Stalker. I engaged in a lot of small talk and would drop statements like, “Man, have I got a script for you!” Little did I know, Alimi was already checking my indie street cred ha!
Then by chance I saw an episode of NUMB3RS called “Chinese Box.” Alimi was the focus of this episode and who – was it ever intense! That’s when I knew he was my guy and I had to break the ice. I made a PDF of the script, uploaded it to my blog and gave Alimi the link so he wouldn’t have to give me his email address if he didn’t want to.
Two days later he hits me back on Twitter and says, “Weapon is f*cking badass!” He’s in.
Parimal starts sending talent my way. After a few scheduling conflicts we connect with Ravi. I brag to Ravi that once he reads the script he’ll have no choice but to play the role of Hamsa Mehra. Ravi reads and agrees, He MUST play Hamsa!
Parimal then connects me with Tehmina. I send her the script. She emails me the next day and says she “couldn’t put it down.” She wants to talk over the phone. I tell her about the crowdfunding aspect and she’s still in. Moreover, she totally “gets” who the character Femi is, every little nuance.
Meanwhile, I’ve been researching Indian actresses and I’m focusing on finding talent in Bollywood. I find an actress and I add her name to the IMDB page… as a placeholder.
The actress checks her IMDB, sees my project, looks me up and emails me saying she’s totally interested in shooting an American Thriller. I send her the script. She says she will read it over the weekend.
Eight hours later she emails me back and says, “I must say this is good. Very good! Call me!” and she gives me her telephone number. We had a skype session the next day, hit it off and now, Rayna Tharani is officially in my movie!
The talent attached to this project has virtually been handpicked for me by destiny. My BFF Mary has a role in the movie as a prison guard. Last month she gets a gig playing an “androgynous meter maid” and I get to see exactly how she’s going to look in uniform in my movie.
I wrote a character named Butch. He’s a thug, but he’s an international thug. Street smart. Imposing figure. Aggressive. I meet Phil Idrissi at a one-man play…and he IS my Butch. I sent him the script and BAM, he was in.
And I keep filling roles… just like that.
DESTINY WANTS ME TO MAKE THIS MOVIE. THIS IS…*THE ONE*