Donors Save ‘Blue Like Jazz’ Pic

Most films don’t tap into moviegoer wallets until they reach theaters. But Blue Like Jazz, an adaptation of Donald Miller’s faith-based book, waged a 30-day campaign that raised $346,000 from 4,495 supporters. That allowed the film to overcome a budget shortfall and begin production yesterday in Nashville. Marshall Allman (True Blood) plays the lead role of Miller, Tania Raymonde (Lost) and Justin Welborn (The Crazies) also star. Steve Taylor is directing. The dough was raised through, and  the flm’s backers claim it’s the largest crowd-sourced creative project ever. The book is about the author’s spiritual journey and the donation campaign started when the author blogged that the movie version of his book would be placed on indefinite hold because an investor fell out for $250,000. Two fans, Zach Prichard and Jonathan Frazier, created a grassroots save-the-film campaign by launching One of the film’s backers agreed to match the amount raised if it got to $125,000. That backer will match the $346,000. That gives the filmmakers an extra $450,000 that will be used for extra shooting days. The total budget of the film is $1 million. These donors won’t get their money back, but there were other incentives. The director has personally called around 300 of the donors so far, and between shots, will be logging phone time until he completes over 1000 thank you calls. Many donors will receive “associate producer” credit, which could mean the end credit roll will be longer than usual. But the filmmakers said the donors saved the movie.

Comments (29)

  • “The total budget is under $5 million”….

    I was following this film on Kickstarter because I’ve used the site before to raise funds for a very low-budget project. I assumed BLUE LIKE JAZZ was under a million dollars. Certainly the filmmakers could have found a way to make this film for 3 or 4 million?

    Comment by Justin — Thursday October 28, 2010 @ 8:17am PDT  
    • Right, because it’s so much easier to make a movie for 4 mil than <1.

      Comment by The Jamie — Thursday October 28, 2010 @ 9:15am PDT  
      • Having made four films under 1 million I can say, yes, it certainly is.

        Comment by Josh — Thursday October 28, 2010 @ 1:13pm PDT  
        • He meant real movies.*

          *if you’re Fleck and Bodden I apologize

          Comment by Danny — Thursday October 28, 2010 @ 3:26pm PDT  
  • way to devalue the title of Associate Producer. Some of us have to work to claim that position instead of merely cutting a check

    Comment by Frank Tien — Thursday October 28, 2010 @ 8:23am PDT  
    • I agree with Frank. Donors are no more Associate Producers than they are co-directors.

      Comment by Steve — Thursday October 28, 2010 @ 8:36am PDT  
    • Somehow I doubt filmmakers desperate to just get their movie made care much about your ego.

      Comment by HW — Thursday October 28, 2010 @ 8:52am PDT  
    • Yeah, most have to have to make it through dentist’s school first…

      Comment by Pcchongor — Thursday October 28, 2010 @ 9:08am PDT  
    • Most producing credits are nonsense. It’s okay, dude.

      Comment by Danny — Thursday October 28, 2010 @ 3:27pm PDT  
    • Right, because those of us cutting checks don’t actually work? I work just as hard and probably make a hell of a lot less money than any titled Hollywood associate producer. Why is my work less valuable than yours? If I choose to use some of the money that I earned to support a movie that I want to see made, and wouldn’t be made otherwise, I am helping to produce it. Jeez.

      Comment by Nicole — Friday January 7, 2011 @ 10:47am PST  
  • ha! nice fake outrage over the “prestigious” Associate Producer credit…

    Comment by buckzollo — Thursday October 28, 2010 @ 8:43am PDT  
  • In the great words of David Mamet: “What’s an associate producer credit?” “It’s what you give to your secretary instead of a raise.” Give me a break, Frank.

    Comment by Rocko — Thursday October 28, 2010 @ 9:09am PDT  
  • @ Frank Tien: People’s contribution to a film, be it financial or human, have merit. Why belittle others who are unwilling or unable to emulate your efforts?

    Comment by Anton H. Gill — Thursday October 28, 2010 @ 9:11am PDT  
  • Ugh. This book was so disappointing. Pretentious, self serving, and a flat out lie in some parts. The only redeeming chapter was the one where the author goes to a local liberal arts college, and opens a confessional, but instead of seeking confessions from strangers, he instead confesses his own failures to them. Lots of books deserve to be made into movies, this isn’t one of them.

    Comment by Cash — Thursday October 28, 2010 @ 11:18am PDT  
    • I actually loved the book, but agree it’s an odd choice for a movie. There’s nothing resembling a filmic narrative in there. Hopefully they’ll prove me wrong and have a good take on it, but I’m worried.

      Comment by Matt — Thursday October 28, 2010 @ 2:41pm PDT  
  • Dear Frank -

    Regardless of what you think of the Associate Producer title, it played a part in encouraging people to give to the film. It was an idea that worked, and worked well.

    If my money helps a producer get the job done – then heck yes, I’m an associate.

    Quit crying about it.

    Comment by John — Thursday October 28, 2010 @ 2:00pm PDT  
  • Cash, clearly a few thousand fans disagreed with you. The only reason this movie is being made is that the book touched countless lives. I’m sorry Blue Like Jazz didn’t affect you in the way it did many others, but again, it’s clear Miller struck a chord with many of us. And who knows…maybe you’ll enjoy the movie more than the book if you choose to check it out!

    Comment by RMS — Thursday October 28, 2010 @ 2:36pm PDT  
  • Speaking for myself (as a donor to the project), my donation wasn’t made to be given a “title” as Associate Producer or to be included in the credits. I gave and thousands of others also because I believe in the project and the filmmakers.

    Comment by Trey Shaver — Thursday October 28, 2010 @ 2:38pm PDT  
  • wow, some rather testy (and a bit envious) folks here.

    The book was excellent. I realize that is my opinion, but I get to say my opinion here.

    The whole “Assoc Producer” thing can easily be resolved in a quick reference check, and lets just see what it ends up taking to make this film, money-wise, before jumping down everyone’s throats.

    Goodness. I’d say this gives some hope to others who may have plans for a film but can’t get conventional investor backing. Maybe even one of you on this comment list someday will use this approach to make your own film.

    I’m willing to bet that many of the films that never get made are as good as many of the ones chosen by the critics as great films.

    You are all sounding a lot like people from publishing companies trying to pooh-pooh authors who independently publish. It’s another option.

    Comment by Kellie — Thursday October 28, 2010 @ 2:48pm PDT  
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