With two novels under his belt and several stage plays, Mark MacNicol is lending his talents to film, producing, writing and directing avant-garde feature, Dreaded Light, which he is funding through ‘crowdinvestment.’
Mark spoke with The Fountain about the project, extending this experience to young offenders and how crowdinvesting is different to crowdfunding.
TF: A new film project, Dreaded Light, how exciting, what can we expect?
I hope it will be different from anything you have seen. In particular the use of light (one of the characters has a phobia of daylight). I also hope you will struggle to put it in a particular box/genre.
As the Producer Writer and Director it means I can take chances that I wouldn’t be able to or allowed to under normal circumstances. Also authenticity of subject matter (we’ve done a massive amount of research into Spiritualism).
TF: And you are providing young people with social exclusions an opportunity to work on this feature, how noble?
One of my stage plays, Kamikaze, toured high schools and young offenders units. That was a humbling experience and I got to meet a lot of very special staff and young people. While that play was touring I knew at some point in the future (if I was able to) I would reach out to them and get them involved somehow.
TF: You are looking for crowdfunding with this feature, why did you opt for this model of funding?
Haven’t technically used that model yet for this particular project. A more accurate phrase would be crowdinvesting (though I don’t think that phrase exists… yet).
So far the people who have supported us have bought shares in the limited company set up to produce the film (£1 per share). So they have an actual equity/stake. Unlike crowdfunding where you get perks or merchandise. After we hit the ‘crowdinvestment’ target though we will probably go on to crowdfund too. Possibly use that for post production and/or festival expenses.
TF: What are your plans for it’s distribution, are we likely to see it screened?
Yes the making of a film and it being seen are two completely different things. So many great indie films being made out there that have tiny audiences. Lots seem to end up on Amazon Prime and no one knows they are there. Fortunately we have a decent social media base to notify when it is available online. We will also certainly try for some sort of theatrical release. There is also the possibility that a sales agent and/or distributor picks it up. For now we focus on what we can control and that’s making sure we all elevate our game in order to make the best possible film.
TF: And what are your future plans beyond the Dreaded Light?
My background was mainly novels and stage plays until I did a Masters in screenwriting and then spent three months in Hollywood. Since then my focus has very much been screen. I have two scripts under option agreements and one being produced by an LA based producer. Also if Dreaded Light goes well I have an idea for another micro budget type indie feature with a small number of cast and locations.