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The Making of Cannibal! The Musical, by Jason McHugh


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Chapter 4 - The Prospectus and the Campaign
Matt Stone

By this time, going to class and doing schoolwork had taken a big back seat to actually making movies. We were working on student films during the weekends, and writing our project prospectus during the week. We had consulted all the books, teachers, and industry professionals we could find. Writing an in-depth legal and professional business plan was something none of us had done before, so we divvied up the various sections of the proposal, and everyone contributed to the writing of it. Fortunately, Matt, who was the first Film/Math double major in CU History, had the analytical skills to pull all our bull shit reports together. Completing the prospectus was a significant accomplishment, we felt: the finished document was complete with lame little time-tables, cast and crew lists, selling strategies, a treatment, a budget, and a full-blown legal offer.

Our budget was 125 Thousand Bucks, and the film was to be shot entirely on location in the Colorado Rockies and the Boulder area. We offered shares of $2500 to reach our $125K cap. It was November when we decided if we hadn't raised $75K by Valentine's Day, we would return all investments placed in our escrow account. (When offering shares in a limited partnership, it's necessary by law that you place a limitation on the amount of time allotted to selling shares.)

Why we decided to put that much pressure on ourselves -- we didn't have to make the time period so short --I'll never comprehend, but the urgency of the task at hand increased everybody's inspiration. All the sudden, it was "do or die."

At about the same time, our associate Alex Kelly became an increasingly key member of our team. She had started as an assistant director/production manager, and quickly grew to fill a producer/executive producer role. Alex surprised us all when she nabbed us an actual "name" actress.

It turned out that Alex been dorm mates with Moira Kelly at some thespian college in New York. (Right: "Who...?" But at the time, Moira had just made or was about to make "Chaplin" with Robert Downey, Jr., and she seemed like a big star to us college kids in Colorado.)

Since thespian college, Moira had gone to Hollywood and nailed starring roles in a string of films. Moira actually expressed interest in being able to sing and dance in a film; she read the script, and agreed to star in our film. We were fucking psyched. We were actually heading into our Christmas break with our own corporation, a limited partnership, a good script, a full prospectus, a snappy trailer, and a name actress.

Early Poster Art

We were completely obsessed with this project, and we were determined. We had been given participation commitments by many of our peers, and by professionals as well. Soon our cast and crew members took a larger interest in seeing our project get off the ground. They realized that by participating, they would gain feature experience in jobs they would be years from being offered in the actual film industry. So by the end of the semester, the hype about "Alferd Packer: The Musical" had run rampant in our little department. The hype culminated when the trailer was shown at the semester-end screening to a cheering home audience.

Just before Christmas break, we got our first verbal commitment for investment from our buddy Andy Kemler. Our first limited partner! Andy was a friend and fellow film student who was looking to start an acting and film-making career.

He decided that it was in his best interest to get the film rolling, and was excited to be our first limited partner. Because we felt that it took guts (and complete insanity!) to be the first investor, we gave him an Executive Producer credit, and convinced him and ourselves that this credit would push his acting career along. (Kemler now works at South Park full-time, and played principal roles in both Cannibal and Orgazmo. But he still can't get chicks.)

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