Kenton Bartlett, director, writer, producer, is 23 years old. He wrote MISSING PIECES, a suspenseful, romantic comedy, when he was 19. Three and half years later his film is finished.
Total budget: $80,000.
Length: 117 minutes.
Cast: includes Mark Boone Junior (Memento, Batman Begins, Se7en) and Melora Walters (Magnolia, Dead Poet’s Society, Butterfly Effect)
How did Bartlett, a young, unknown working on his first film, do it?
FOR STARTERS, with the help of VOLUNTEERS.
588 of them to be exact. Everyone worked for free.
As Bartlett says in his YouTube video,
“… just passionate people who got together and said let’s make a movie and we did.”
AND, THEN, there was Bartlett’s overwhelming desire TO LEARN the craft of filmmaking, which he did by reading all the back issues of Cinematographer he could find, renting a camera from the college computer center, and practicing what he was learning by making a few shorts with his friends.
AND, of course none of it would have happened without Bartlett’s incredible DRIVE and PERSISTENCE.
Bob Carlton, in the Birmingham News, describes a perfect example of this,
Bartlett “sent query letters to the agents of 100 actors — from Owen Wilson, Kevin Costner and Billy Bob Thornton to Meg Ryan, Frances McDormand and Natalie Portman — to see if they wanted to be in it.”
With no success.
“… he sent all of the actors puzzle packets — the movie’s title refers to the missing pieces of a jigsaw puzzle — with instructions leading to a website where they would find a script … “A lot of those were sent back to us,” he says. “After a couple of months of not really getting anything from that, we just sat down and started calling every single person on the list every day for about four months … Most of them said no,” he adds.
… “It’s so convoluted the way that you get them,” Bartlett says. “(Boone) had a gap in his schedule, so I think he was looking for something to do … Melora was just looking for an interesting part, I guess,” he adds.
… “And through persistence, I guess they were attracted to someone who just wouldn’t stop bothering them.”
AND NOT TO BE FORGOTTEN, there’s Bartlett’s INTERNET SAVVY.
*** He found his composer on Craigslist.
“Through Craigslist, Bartlett hooked up with British composer Richey Rynkowski, who not only wrote the movie’s impressive score but also worked a nightclub gig to help pay for the orchestra to perform it, Bartlett says.
“There were about 100 or so composers who emailed saying, ‘Pick me, pick me,’” he says. “Then this one particular composer (Rynkowski) wouldn’t let up, and he just kept writing all of this music and sending it over, and it was great.”
*** He’s made MISSING PIECES available for viewing online at Prescreen.com.
*** And, now he’s using social media to attract an audience on YouTube and Facebook in the hopes of gaining enough of a following to convince a traditional distributor to pick up his film.
Given how far he’s come, odds are pretty good that he will.
KW & RP
To see MISSING PIECES on Prescreen …
To see the MISSING PIECES trailer on YouTube …