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The Making of Cannibal! The Musical, by Jason McHugh


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Chapter 2 - Let's Make a Movie

Virgil Grillo, who was chairman and founder of the CU Film Department, took a strong liking to the official "Alferd Packer: The Musical" trailer and inadvertently convinced us to make the actual feature film. Virgil told Trey that he thought the film could be done for one hundred thousand dollars. He also told Trey that he could come up with the cash! With this news Trey gathered Ian Hardin, Matt Stone, and myself for a little meeting. The four of us sat down at favorite meeting spot, a restaurant called Red Robin, and decided to form a production company to produce the Alferd Packer feature with the 100K Virgil was going to give us.

We were stoked. The four of us had worked together on many different short films. We'd all had opportunities to write, direct, act, shoot, assistant direct, and so forth with one another over the past two years of filmaking classes, so producing a feature together seemed the next logical step.

The following two weeks were spent figuring out exactly what it would take to produce a feature. We had just spent our last two years learning every aspect of filmaking, except for the actual business of it. We've been learning ever since.

We put down our school books and picked up every "How To" book about the independent film business we could buy, and we hooked up every free legal consultation we could find. We scratched the surface, and determined that forming a corporation and then a limited partnership would be our best course of action. We assembled our first proposal and prepped for our big meeting with Virgil.

Our meeting day arrived, and we showed up on Virgil's door step on time, kind of well dressed, with business on our minds. Virgil was wearing slippers, and quickly sat us down and served us each a large bowl of vanilla ice cream. Since then, we've learned that it's always a bad sign if they serve you large portions of sweets, unless you just premiered or launched a new production.

Virgil had had the chance to do his own research on the film business, and realized what a crazy idea it is to make low-budget movies. Virgil gave his hearty endorsement of the project as he coyly backed out of the executive producer slippers. We finished our ice cream and moved on.

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