Monday, May 2, 2011

Ghostkeeper and it's audience

Things are moving on two fronts, both Ghostkeeper and Christmas story. First Ghostkeeper, you should go back to Thursday's posting where one of you posted a good point. Basically, put young people in to attract an audience.

As I said in the post, I had thought of this especially after watching a screening of a really awful 16mm print, magenta-tinted and scratchy as hell. The audience was 80 people in a small screening room called Trash Palace in Toronto and only 5 were over 25. I toke a hands up poll.

It didn't take a rocket scientist to realize that my audience would be19 upwards to maybe 25 and that they would be single urbanites with some film knowledge and who enjoyed movies that were obscure and the older the better. I didn't think younger teens would be interested as Scream 4 was a flop, after 3 weeks it still hasn't made it's cost. So much for that coveted teen audience.

 So I added two characters in that age group, 21-ish. One is an Australian girl who is traveling around the world, taking odd jobs for a few months here and there. This is actually based on one such girl who revealed that a lot of Australians are doing that. So staying five minutes ahead of the trend, I added the Australian girl to the cast.

One of the recurring notes in (somewhere between "it's a classic movie to it's the worst movie ever made") was that I failed to really utilize the Indian mythology of the "Windigo", the creature that "preys on human flesh". While there are several spellings of the word, Windigo is the accepted Cree Indian tribes.

This time I added a lot of mythology, as you probably saw in the posting of two storyboard frames on March 28, 2011. You'll notice it's mostly about a creature, a Windigo, that was based on some old crude drawings, but more on descriptions by Indians.

By the way I use the term Indians for the American readers. In Canada they are referred to as First Nations.

In reality, there actually is a "Windigo psychosis" that occurs with some people, mostly isolated and in winter, become cannibalistic and probably helped create the myth. So to this I added another younger character, a male, same age, 21, who was half white, half Indian.

These people are often called "Metis", defining themselves as half Indian and half French-Canadian. One of the most famous Metis was Louis Riel, who in 1885 rebelled against the Canadian government in a short war that had maybe 100 casualties. Not much compared to the US Civil War casualties, but hey, we did our best.

Both the Australian girl and the Metis are considered the leads, thus having a connection with the audience of the same age. And since this isn't a slasher nor a torture horror film (Saw), I considered I would probably lose some of the audience.

I'm taking a chance on not being tremendously explicit in horror, again that was one of the things the positive reviews mentioned. In their own words it was creepy, not gory. It was a combination of the isolation, the cold and the terror inside them as well as a real threat from a crazy woman and her brood. The horror is as much in the atmosphere as it is in the characters. The hotel smells evil.

Ultimately nobody can really predict the audience, I feel certain that my audience is that age span starting at 19 to 25. I also changed the genre to "supernatural thriller", rather than horror, again maybe splitting the audience but my expectations are more realistic. 

I don't see this as making millions of dollars, in fact I would be happy if it gets a good audience from DVD, pay-for-view and cable sale to someone like HBO. If it does get a theatrical... well, lets not get ahead of ourselves.

I really am doing it for those kids who discovered my 1980 movie, something I forgot about to some extent, and never expected that fan base, small but growing each week by the looks of the Ghostkeeper clip on Youtube. It's in the Materials section of this blog.

And of course, it gives me a good gig of writing and directing and also leading to next year when I want to make Emperor of Mars, my final movie.

Or at least until I write another screenplay.