Psst, wanna buy a movie? Deals will certainly get consummated during the Toronto International Film Festival this month, but few flicks are going as cheaply as Casey Walker's Free For All But You. Indeed, the Thunder Bay, Ont., native is selling his movie one frame at a time. For $10, you get a frame, an associate producer's credit at the end of the film, advertising and access to website traffic through www.mymilliondollarmovie.com, as well as an inside look at the movie business. If the film makes money, investors and three charities will get a slice of the profits.
Walker's hoping to raise $1 million in cash and another $500,000 in trade. He's sold nearly 16,000 frames since launching the idea in mid-August. It hasn't been easy, yet the fundraising campaign appeals more to Walker than playing the Hollywood studio game or waiting in line for a government grant. “I'm not the most patient person when it comes to stuff like that — I wanted to make it happen more on my own, not by relying on other people so much,” says Walker. “I've never really been much of a businessman, but necessity is the mother of invention.”
There is a precedent for Walker's financing adventure. U.K. student Alex Tew successfully sold pixels–the dots that make up a computer screen — as advertising space on his “Million Dollar Home Page,” to finance his education last year. Walker promises to return the money if he doesn't follow through on his pitch. But actually making money is another story. Although Walker has directed the Emmy award-winning Zoboomafoo and Prank Patrol kids shows, he's never helmed a feature film. Plus, he's making a Canadian film, not exactly the road to riches. Then again, every director has to start somewhere.
Walker describes his flick as a romantic comedy in the vein of There's Something About Mary and American Pie. That at least sounds like it might appeal to American audiences. Besides, as Walker points out, “For the price of a ticket to a Hollywood stinker, you become a producer of my movie.” At $10 a frame, more than a few will take the chance to roll 'em.