Why This Nudist Film Sequel Needs Your Help On GoFundMe
Guest blog by: Conci Nelson of YNA SoCal
There is a belief that if you’re actually working in the entertainment business, you’re rich. You shouldn’t need help. There’s an even stronger belief that if you’re making a sequel to a movie that did relatively well, you’ve got even more money.
Neither of these beliefs are true. They can be, but they rarely are.
The movie Act Naturally found its core audience: the naturists. It’s a great introduction to people who are interested in social nudity, but don’t really understand the concept of de-sexualized social nudity. It’s a comedy, so we all know that the characters are going to be a little more amplified and, well, comedic.
The sequel, Act Super Naturally, started off relatively strong, but every step of the way we have hit different roadblocks and 2016 has hit us extremely hard.
JP Riley and myself have sunk everything we have into this project, as reports from all different sources from “Variety,” to the IFC continue to tell us that just like the American Economy, the middle has fallen out of the market in Independent Film.
For close to two years, I (along with my medical team) have been trying to pull me out of my Psoriatic Arthritis flare. I even joined a clinical trial, because I truly believe in helping to find a better treatment or even a cure for this and all autoimmune diseases, if not for myself then for those who follow me in the world. At the beginning of this year, I was pulled out of the trial when I was hospitalized due to complications and almost died of Thrush.
Obviously, I’m still here and working to get healthier every day. What’s more, I’ve NEVER been more motivated to finish any project as I am with Act Super Naturally. Unfortunately, my little brush with death did put production on hold for a about a month and a half.
In the month and a half I was recovering from the Thrush, four dear friends who were all associated with our production passed away:
Chris Larson, a frequent background actor for us in many projects (including Act Super Naturally) and close friend, due to an irreversible epileptic seizure;
Jason Hinkle, our DP, my Éclair ACL and film loading mentor, and a dear friend to both myself and JP, to colon cancer;
My dear friend of close to twenty years Chicago-unit hair and make-up artist, Shay’wa Olawumi, to an allergic reaction to a medication;
And finally, one of our Executive Producers, Chas Springer, due to complications from diabetes. Chas was a naturist himself and was often more excited about the project than we were. We even wrote him a cameo that was crucial to our ending.
Now, Chas had set up his investment such that we received 25% of his investment in pre-production, 15% during the first leg of the film and 15% during the second leg. The final 35% would be released during the end of principal photography, to get us through production and post-production. He passed away before those final funds were released. Now his estate is in probate, and we have no way to access those funds or even know if we will ever receive them.
In the months since, we have been selling gear and asking friends and family for financial assistance. Finally it seemed we had made some headway by getting approved for a $60,000 combined Business / Personal Loan with FilmFundingLA, but I had to get my debt to equity ratio down, which was why we originally started the GoFundMe campaign.
The date came when we were supposed to be issued funds. On a Saturday morning I was informed that somehow, one of my credit cards simply didn’t appear on my credit report and that we’d have to raise another $8,000 and pay that one down in order to qualify…but we would then qualify for $160,000, rather than the measly $60k.
This not only messed with our plans to return to production, but that amount would cause us to go over-budget, which is absolutely NOT what we had agreed to when we first approached FilmFundingLA. Not to mention it gave us enough pause to really investigate the men behind the company and their lending practices.
As it turns out, FilmFundingLA is simply a predatory lender and does nothing but request credit cards or increase credit lines on your current credit cards and convenience checks on your behalf and then charges you 12% for their services. And last time I checked that was NOT a loan; it just allowed me to accrue more credit debt.
Believe me, we want to finish this movie as much as all of you who keep asking when it will be available, want to see it. But this threw a major wrench in the works.
So, now, we’re looking for any help we can get. Gofundme.com is a great temporary solution, but what we really need is an angel (or a few) or private equity investors interested in a development loan agreement that would hopefully be able to provide us with capital that would equal the total sum of $75,000 to finish both production and post-production and keep us within our budget.
Somehow, we have been hit over and over and over again with misfortune, illness, tragedy and death, and still we continue to push on. We just need some financial assistance to allow us to bring our fans, the naturist community, and the rest of the world the movie we have dedicated our lives to for the last three years.
As a comedy, Act Super Naturally once again works with amplified personalities, but this time we put the community front and center as they try to save their resort from the pitfalls of new ownership. We also step outside of the Bear Lake Naturist Resort microcosm and see how the rest of the world perceives the naturists.
JP Riley and I have worked hard to make this sequel feel more authentic to naturists at its core, while still laughing with our fellow naturists rather than poke fun at our lifestyle.
Now, all we need is the financial help to get the last 10% of production completed, get through post-production and finally bring our audience the movie that they deserve rather than a patchwork film that falls into all of the potential pitfalls of a sequel.
Help us, Naturist Community, you’re our only hope.
CLICK HERE to contribute to our GoFundMe campaign for Act Super Naturally!