The Hollywouldn'ts, in the words of MySpace creator Tom Anderson
When you are self-distributing and independently producing films, word of mouth and social media is extremely valuable. In addition to asking friends and family to pre-order and spread the word, we've also been asking friends with large social networks to spread the love.
Serge is friends with the creator of Myspace, Mr. Tom Anderson. He wrote a lengthy blog article about the film that he shared with over 1,000,000 followers I wanted to share with anyone who hasn't read it on Facebook:
I have the coolest story for you! It’s a story about dreams coming true! :-)Stick with me here, this is long!!
When I first began taking photos, I searched the interwebs for help. I quickly found Serge Ramelli, a French photographer with a Youtube channel. Not only did his videos teach me Photoshop & Lightroom, I found Serge engaging & fun to watch. Like most all Americans, I liked the French accent! :)
Fast forward a few months later and I’m in Paris taking photos and who should I happen to run into… SERGE RAMELLI, my YouTube teacher! (We photographers are like sheep, always flocking about together in the same spots!) I approached the jovial Frenchmen, “Serge, I’ve watched everything on your Youtube channel! You’ve really helped me.. Thank you!” We added each other on Facebook and I said Bonjour.
Fast forward a year later, and Serge called me asking for help. He told me he wanted to get an 0-1 visa to come to the US to produce feature films. He wanted to work in Hollywood and make movies! I was happy to help. So from a dusty tent some place in Arizona, I typed up a letter on my laptop… when I got back to civilization a few days later, I sent off the letter.
Like magic, after just one month, Serge told me his Visa had been approved and he was coming to Hollywood. He thanked me profusely and told me he never would have been able to come to America without my “star power” endorsement. (Take that Donald T!!) I thought it was funny that immigration would care what I thought, but I felt warm & fuzzy thinking I’d helped Serge! The man who'd helped me so much through his videos! This was in Sep 2014.
Now fast forward again to just a few months ago! (The story is getting better…) I started feeling social again (as some of you may have noticed by my recent postings!)
I had stopped scaling mountains, stopped squeezing into ice caves, and stopped jumping over lava to photograph volcanos. I was sleeping in my house in Los Angeles, not in a tent in Patagonia. I noticed I actually have a nice bed & house here in Lalaland. Lol.
Anyway, I started thinking about Serge, and I messaged him:
“Serge, how are things going, did you ever make that movie?”
To my surprise, he wrote back, “YES! It comes out in a month!” And he sent me a link to the trailer.
When I watched the trailer, the biggest smile came to my face. I was overcome! Not only does it look like a great movie (I’m such a sucker for these feel-good movies), but Photo Serge, the would-be producer was not just a producer.. Serge was the freakin STAR of the movie!! I was shocked. He’s so good in the trailer. Watch this trailer!!! OK! Did you watch it? I watched it like 15 times that night. Haha.
That’s my Serge. :-) I immediately began peppering him with questions.. How did this happen? How did you learn how to act? How did you end up being the star!? I got so pumped up. I was so proud of him!! As an actor, Serge is a natural! America hasn’t had a goofy, lovable foreigner in awhile. Now we have Serge. I think he’s going to be the next Gerard Depardieu!
The next morning I had lunch with Serge. It felt so Hollywood… we were sitting on a sunny street side cafe discussing his life in movies over the last 2 years. It turns out Serge has wanted to be an actor for a long time! And now his dream has come true! I began to ask Serge about producing movies and the budgets, costs, issues, etc. I was asking because I’ve had what I might call a “fantasy” of making a movie myself. I first thought of it back in 2000 when I was getting a Masters in Film at UCLA. Didn’t know that about me, did ya? Haha.
Now here’s where the story gets even more interesting. Serge’s movie, “The Hollywouldnts” is an independent movie financed on a small budget. It’s currently in pre-order status. There have been 500 preorders already.. wow! If Serge can get 347 more pre-orders, he will actually set the all time record for pre-orders on an independent film! Completely nuts!
If that happens, Variety and a bunch of industry magazines will write about the power of social media driving recognition for his movie! And if that happens, the movie just may get enough attention for big distributors to see it. If that happens, Serge’s little movie will be taken to the next level! And finally, if this movie becomes a financial success, Serge will be able to produce and develop more movies. I was so excited about his story. I told him I wanted to help!
Side note: Lately I’ve made a point of trying to help people with anything they need.. It’s kinda my new thing. :) I meet someone that I know, or someone I just met for the first time and I ask: what do you need in life? If I can help, I do help! I connect them to the right person, or whatever… It’s been pretty awesome and fun! (This relates to my earlier post a few weeks ago about having the best day in my life. I felt that way because I helped so many people in one day!) It’s nice to not think about yourself, ya know? Haha. So yah, I immediately told Serge I wanted to help!
The first thing I did was pre-order my own copy… a small gesture. But now I’m here spreading the word, a bigger gesture! WAVE!!. If you like this movie and you want to help Serge and the creative team behind this movie, pre-order it on iTunes… It’s just $9.99 for the SD version! Remember the key is to pre-order. If you order before the movie comes out on May 16, then that’s the key metric that is going to make the industry notice this little indie film.
There were 60 people employed by the production of this movie — some young & hungry and just getting in the industry, others more seasoned and lending a hand to this passion project… I want to blow this out and make it a success for them, and make it possible for them all to do it again. They’re already in preproduction for the next project! You can help to by pre-ordering the movie. Please do!
I’m super excited to watch the movie when it comes out! I normally only get this excited about the release of Star Wars movies… Haha. I’m supposed to be in Amsterdam on the release date. Anyone there? Maybe we can organize a little release party. :-)
For my own part, I want to say that through meeting Serge (he doesn’t even know this yet), I’ve made some key steps to start producing a movie myself. It’s an idea I’ve had for many years, and its starting to become a reality. How nuts is that?! Haha. It’s something I literally never thought I would actually do, but now I’m actually working on it. Thank you Serge for the inspiration! That's the second time Serge has helped my creative life - first with photos, now with movie-making.
So whether you want to pre-order and help out Serge or not.. I hope you found this little story entertaining and use it as inspiration to step outside your normal routine of thinking and make your own dreams come true!! Serge went from being a Youtube Photoshop tutorial guy to realizing his dream of producing and acting in a movie in just two short years! And it’s clear even from the trailer that he has a real talent for it! I’m totally blown away by what he’s achieved.
I’m gonna watch the trailer again… it always makes my heart swell. :-)Enjoy !
An amazing shout-out from Tom and proving the value of developing excellent relationships and helping anyone you can, just as the movie hopes to convey!