A brand-new mockumentary-style feature film is coming your way with up-and-coming actors in the starring roles and Hollywood heavy-hitters behind the scenes and playing supporting roles. Here’s the twist—it’s premiering on Facebook. You will be able to watch it anytime on Facebook starting Friday, August 10.
Wannabe was written by Craig Robert Young and Richard Keith and directed by Keith. Young also stars in the picture and draws upon his own experience as a pop star in his native U.K. as Steve Williams, a faded boybander whose original 15 minutes of fame have long expired. Undaunted, Steve moves to Hollywood to pursue another shot at the spotlight. He is followed everywhere he goes by a film crew that documents a steady stream of indignities.
As the film’s tagline reads, “Some talent is just destined for the D-List.”
Young is familiar to TV audiences in the U.S. from a recent recurring gig on NCIS: Los Angeles and Hawaii Five-O as sinister bad guy Dracul Comesu. He has appeared on a wide variety of programs over the past few years and in 2011 earned noteworthy buzz with the comic web series Andy & Chaz Bugger Off to America (also directed, like Wannabe, by Richard Keith).
In addition to costar Adam Huss, supporting players include soap stud Greg Rikaart and Matt Dallas (Kyle XY) as well as recent Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer and her director from The Help, Tate Taylor.
Forward-thinking in a digital age by FutureLeap and ChargePlay helps independent films find an audience.
FutureLeap and ChargePlay, two start-ups based in Silicon Valley and the U.K., respectively, are behind the innovative web-release strategy for Wannabe. Extremely limited resources for production, marketing and distribution required a creative twist if the movie was going find its audience.
In picking the right film, Future Leap CEO, Marcus Lovingood told Brave new Hollywood: “Wannabe was a perfect fit for FutureLeap because we strive to stay on the cutting edge of digital tech. This film was made on an ultra low budget and it attests to the capabilities that await low-budget indie filmmakers as we move further and further into the digital revolution.”
Earlier this summer, FutureLeap and ChargePlay reps began actively promoting Wannabe on Facebook and encouraged the participation of moviegoers to help spread the word. Cast and crew members are featured in photos, behind-the-scenes vignettes and interviews made available for free to fans who “like” the movie’s Facebook page.
FutureLeap’s purpose is to promote, distribute and sell films using social media, and uses the ChargePlay viewing platform and payment technology to allow fans to purchase its films. FutureLeap CEO Marcus Lovingood and ChargePlay’s Richard Cambridge are producing Wannabe.
“We truly believe this is the future of watching movies online and are excited to blaze a trail.” says Marcus Lovingood of FutureLeap.
The innovative release strategy allows up-and-comers like Craig Young and his fellow filmmakers the chance to set their own destiny in Hollywood without having to risk millions of dollars or hack their way through the Hollywood studio bureaucracy.
The film’s director and co-writer Richard Keith enlightened us about the evolution of ‘Wannabe’ which was shot and finished in 2005.
BNH: What were your distribution hopes and plans for this film ‘Wannabe’ before FutureLeap came along?
KEITH: Well, we had originally sought a festival run and sales rep, distribution company to sign on. But almost immediately after we finished it, we got scooped up by two TV packaging agents at CAA, who wanted to turn it into a TV show. At the same time we had a straight out offer from Fox TV Studios. Which changed our perception of where to take the show. After that Tony Jonas and Marta Kauffman creator of Friends joined up and we ended up selling it to Warner Bros Television, then spent some time in Development Limbo. So, our thoughts changed quite a lot on this over the time… A LOT. I have an entire series bible for a full season, it’s brilliant too, if I do say so myself.
BNH: How is this new avenue of film distribution and exhibition going to change your choices in future projects?
KEITH: Well to be frank. my thoughts on distribution have been evolving for a while. I’ve had the pleasure of doing some work for some online companies that create content for the YouTube world, and honestly theres a huge untapped market rising there. And even before that nearly all the TV I watch from College Football on ESPN3.com to every kind of TV show on various websites i.e. Hulu, Netflix is online.
BNH: So, indie filmmaking may have a home online!
KEITH: I think the indie film world is dying if not already dead. The only kinds of movies getting made and gaining audiences are $100 million dollar blockbusters. The Indie film world of even 5 years ago is radically different. I don’t think Kevin Smith or Rodriguez could have done what they did now, the way they did it. They would have had to have been working on the Internet. So it’s fantastically liberating and a bit scary and daunting because there is so much content and noise out there.
Keith, Lovingood and company are definitely on the right track of a bigger picture.
Most movie fans love the cinema as they justifiably gripe about having to find parking and shell out for overpriced tickets, popcorn and drinks, just for the privilege of sitting in a theatre with poor sound and projection, and bugged by people nearby texting and taking phone calls in the dark. The web distribution model developed by ChargePlay and FutureLeap solves many of those problems and could very well be the next big thing in Hollywood.
Here is our exclusive interview with actors Craig Robert Young and Adam Huss about ‘Wannabe.’
BNH: What was it about an ex pop star that seemed like a good jumping-off point?
CRAIG: I think in the 90′s – pop stars were everywhere, even before american idol. There were just a huge influx of pop. It was really fun for us to make Steve the only surviving member of a boyband – it was ripe for satire.
BNH: Craig, is your character like Ed Wood, where he is all ambition but no talent? Or does he have talent, but not the cut throat attitude needed for Hollywood success, and so he keeps running into obstacles?
CRAIG: He is kind of like Ed Wood, He was definitely untalented as a singer and becoming an actor is his way of showing the world that he does have talent, even if it’s only a little bit. He’ll do anything to be recognized even wear a dog suit as he thinks it’s for his art. He’s very proud of his dancing however.
BNH: Adam, How is your character (Paul) different from Steve?
ADAM: Paul comes into the picture really just genuinely excited to see his best friend, reconnect, and have a place to stay in LA.. He has no idea he is going to be handed all these tempting offers right off the bat. I think Paul goes into things with the best of intentions, but always is looking out for numero uno. Steve on the other hand works so hard to get what he wants, and in that way he could be a bit ruthless, but he knows where he wants to be going. Paul just kind of innocently falls into it but once he does, he just keeps on stepping all over Steve on the way up. Would Steve do the same? Maybe, but he may do it with more tact. Paul isn’t smart enough to. He is manipulative, but only because that is all he knows how to do, get by on the way he looks and take what he can from it.
BNH: How long have you been pursuing an acting career, and in your opinion, where is this profession going ?
ADAM: I have been acting since high school and college, but really pursuing my career in LA for the past 12 years. I think it is hard to get bigger guest stars or series regular roles these days that pay well, due to the fact that everyone wants a job, there are cheaper outlets to get content out there and to reach people, and less people are watching scripted network television, so you really have to rope them in with names. I think if Orson Welles were alive today he would be doing wonders with all the multi-media outlets that exist today for content. I do think people are finally starting to really take advantage of all that and are creating great product, and great opportunities for actors.
BNH: So, in such a competitive industry, what keeps you going?
ADAM: My family. I miss them so much but I know after all this time they wouldn’t want me to give up and they encourage me to keep at it, even on my lowest day. I also think about how if I book a job, it will mean money to go home and see them more often, so they’re a good motivator. Good inspiration…also I believe in miracles and magic, and that is what it takes to make it in this business, even after every door may have been slammed in your face!
BNH: What does “Wannabe” say about fame and pursuing dreams? Not worth it, ultimately? Or worth it, despite the hurdles?
CRAIG: I think striving for your dreams is always important, it’s what keeps us alive, motivates us. I think if we had everything we wanted, the body would stop living, and anything can happen at anytime to the unlikely of people too. That’s how it is for me anyway.
ADAM: I think what Wannabe says about the pursuit of fame is that it can be a shallow, backstabbing, ruthless goal to get caught up in wanting to reach. Friends with the best of intentions really may just have an agenda to be famous that is so strong it trumps trust and loyalty, even if that is not what was originally intended by either party. Even for people with high moral codes can be tempting when that “carrot” is dangled in front of your face. And in the end, if you step on your friends to get there, and you’re all alone at the top was it worth it? You tell me. I don’t think so.
BNH: Why do you think FutureLeap decided that this is the film that needs to be seen?
ADAM: I think it is funny and current. Right now, anyone can be famous via some ridiculous reality show. What we consider “celebrity” now is so different than it was even ten years ago. You don’t have to have talent as an actor or a musician, you just have to be hot and selling a product, even if it’s yourself. Wannabe is a good send up on all of that in the vein of Christopher Guest films like “Waiting For Guffman”.
BNH: What was the best recent movie you actually watched on a computer?
CRAIG: Smiley Face, the Greg Araki movie starring Anna Faris. This movie is so funny I can watch it over and over again, which I do whenever I’m on a plane – The casting scene with Jane Lynch gets me every time. It’s just so hilarious.
ADAM: The Last Waltz with Michelle Williams.
CLICK HERE for “Wannabe” on Facebook.