By ANDREA POTEET
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE – No matter how great the idea is, all films take one thing to hit the big screen – money.
So when a local filmmaker needed funding to turn his first feature script into reality, he turned to the Internet.
Wyandotte resident Brion Dodson started a page on the website Indiegogo – where people create blurbs about an entertainment project they hope to create and visitors donate small or large amounts in exchange for gifts ranging from a signed script to a role in the movie – to help fund the making of “The Route,” a story about a boy who takes on his friend’s paper route to raise money for a bike race with his dad. After a few weeks, the page has gotten him nearly $3,000 closer to his $30,000 goal for the movie.
In the past, Dodson has relied on a group of area friends and family to help produce and star in short films for his company, Captive8 Productions, and for those of Downriver production companies like Poison Apple Entertainment and Ring of Fire Entertainment, owned by friends.
But for his feature script debut, he said he wanted to raise enough money to pay those who had helped him on other films.
“It takes a lot of money to make a film,” Dodson said. “I don’t know any people with a lot of money, so it’s a new concept to get a little bit of help from everyone. Five dollars here, $25 there, it all adds up.”
With a fundraising deadline of May 13, Dodson said he is surprised at the quick response, which included several small donations as well as a $1,000 anonymous one.
He said even if he doesn’t reach his fundraising goal, nothing will stop him from seeing the film – based off childhood recollections of block parties and bike races in his hometown of Lincoln Park – reach an audience.
“It’s still going to get made, one way or another,” Dodson said. “I’m just going to have to pay people less. I’ve said that even if we only hit $5,000 I may have to animate the movie. One way or another, It’s going to get made with whatever money we do get.”
For Dodson, his first feature film is the realization of a lifelong dream. As a child, he made 8-millimeter films with friends before enrolling in the Center for Creative studies with an expectation that he could turn his artistic skills into a career in movie special effects.
Later, he attended the Motion Picture Institute of Michigan while working full-time at Great Lakes Steel and said he fell in love with script writing and starting working on the script that would become “The Route.”
“That’s where I kind of decided that writing and directing was where I wanted to be,” he said.
With the recession of 2009, Dodson found himself laid off from his job and struggling to support his wife and teen daughter. At the same time, film incentives were bringing more projects to Michigan and Dodson enrolled in the Lifton Institute for Media Skills to give his love of film another shot.
After two years, Dodson was offered his old job back. But on the day he was supposed to show up for training, he was offered a job working on another feature film. Dodson left his work at the steel mill behind and jumped at the chance to work on the film.
“I haven’t looked back ever since,” he said.
To further his fundraising, Dodson is throwing a fundraising event, “Captive8’d,” 7 p.m. May 4 at Biddle Hall. Featuring music, food, raffles and more, proceeds will help fund “The Route.” Tickets today are $45 or two for $80 and after today are $50 or two for $90. Tickets are also available at the door for $55.
For more information, or to order tickets, contact Dodson at [email protected].
To donate via Indiegogo, go to www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-route-feature-film.