FAQ

Scroll through to find out more about why Prevail News is going down the path of film making; some questions about both the documentary Guttered and the Mollywood (a Hollywood-style musical made in Minnesota) film How to Fall Out of Love; and questions directed to Jerry Sedgewick (the film maker) specifically.

Why Make Guttered and How to Fall Out of Love?

Because we will do the following for those experiencing homelessness:

  • Provide short term and long term income for homeless and formerly homeless actors via per diem payments while making the movie and royalty payments as time goes on. The entertainment industry is lucrative and we'd like to take advantage of that.
  • Once substantial money is collected, put aside a fund for buying land and building tiny homes with an activities/meet up center.
  • Build a new film distribution system as part of our marketing strategy where we will guerrilla-market films at selected venues across the country.
  • Create a community among actors, spawn pride, build self-confidence: all by-products of theater itself, whether for making a movie or presenting on stage.
  • Make more movies using homeless as actors in other cities. We have three scripts on hand for the next movies: “Moses the Black,” “When Santa Gets Naughty,” and “The Crazed Evangelist.”

  • We will not be able to make more films in other parts of the country with homeless and formerly homeless individuals as actors.
  • No sense of accomplishment will be experienced by those who are homeless.
  • No effort will be taken in a potentially lucrative field for those on the streets.
  • No joy, no way for creatives to assist those less fortunate, an opportunity lost.
  • No new film distribution network created.

Because no other homeless documentary we have come across addresses the following:

  • The effect of mass incarceration on increasing the homeless population.
  • The epi-genetic effect of trauma on those experiencing homelessness, so that homelessness becomes a chronic condition that literally changes DNA.
  • The real-life experience of being homeless from the experience of a working-class person who voluntarily lives the homeless life while filming.
  • The critical need for immediate housing to protect un-sheltered people from trauma, and to reduce chronic homelessness.

  • The next increase in the homeless population after the next recession will create a greater number of chronically homeless.
  • City, state and county officials will remain ignorant of epi-genetic effects on the homeless population.
  • The population of working class people will not see what it's like to be homeless through the lens of someone just like them.
  • Those who see homeless people will know what needs to be done to really help them.

Questions about the Making, Marketing and Distributing of Films

Films will benefit from guerrilla marketing just as it was for “What the bleep Do We Know?” which enjoyed a worldwide gross of 16 million. Cinemas, churches, community centers, synagogues, etc. will be found for showing both Guttered and How to Fall Out of Love in cities across the country. Each city will be scheduled in advance and Jerry will be there to present and speak with media outlets.

The overall concept of marketing lies in the sheer number of people who will be involved in its production. This follows a formula well established in the theater world: the more children and cast involved in a production, the more aunts, uncles, friends and family members show up for the performance.

The film will be a limited release with hand-picked independent cinemas showing the film. The first cinemas to show the film will be in Minnesota. Given the collection of musicians, actors and other supportive personnel in a variety of roles, we anticipate sold out audiences. With that as a springboard, theaters around the country will be contacted one-by-one to show the film, starting with the Northwest area (unless possibilities appear more promising in other parts of the country).

We will market via social media, bulk email lists, posters at coffee shops and universities, and via a unique approach: provide panhandlers with signs to advertise the movie. The latter approach will be pilot tested in the twin cities upon the first release to determine how this approach will work (how much they get paid, how the sign appears, how willing the next panhandler in line will take up the sign, how officials react, etc.).

Note that if the movie runs for two weeks at an average of 10 dollars per ticket in a 200-seat theater, the profit is $28,000 minus the take from the theater. Even without sold out seats, the theater shows the film more than once a day, more than one theater will be selected for the state of Minnesota, and the run will likely be over a greater length of time.

The cinema run in Minnesota will more than cover costs for production. In the remaining 49 states and internationally, the profits could be into the millions. Even flops like "Dirty Grandpa" (2016) grossed $114 million.

The film festivals require a year of submissions without a guaranteed means to get the film distributed. Agencies may place films at Netflix, but then it’s up to the filmmaker to get enough people to watch or the film will be removed from Netflix. So that means advertising via social media to “the world” had better take place. The same goes for Amazon or Hulu.

We’d far rather focus the social media blitz about the movie region by region. In that manner social media connections get built as locations are added. At some stage in marketing a tipping point is reached, or the film is picked up by distributors, and the locations spread to several cities at once.

To our way of thinking, a guerrilla marketing method ensures profits. Other methods do not. At the same time we build social media connections for the next films.

Stephen Follows has presented a study for the American Film Market (AFM) on the types of low-budget films (budgeted between $500,000 and $3 million) that make the most money. Of the films studied, Follows noted an absence of any major star involvement.  Films do not need celebrities.

A per diem will only be made to street survivor actors, dancers and extras at $100/day. Support staff (musicians, choreographers, grips, etc.) and investors will be paid in royalties. All involved in the film will receive a percentage of profits after reasonable expenses. The exceptions to this include Jerry Sedgewick, the marketing director, and potentially others as we come across those who are not in a position to wait for payment.

As of March 2019 the budget is at $28,000. We will crowdsource funding; and look for sponsors, in-film advertisers, and investors.

Contact Jerry Sedgewick at jerry(at)prevailnews(dot)org.

We believe that the right talent for each main actor can be found for the Mollywood film "How to Fall Out of Love." You'd be surprised at the pool of talent in this community. But we also hold the belief that follows:

We believe in the alignment of wonders when in a creative production. Call it grace. The miracle of circumstance. Whatever. Even those who can't act will be used to an advantage. After all, How to Fall Out of Love has elements of comedy.

Questions about motives and experience for Jerry Sedgewick, the indie Film Maker

The reasons are roughly divided into two parts:

  • How I want to live my life
  • How angry I am at how a rich country denies its own.

How I want to live my life. It is my heartfelt belief that, as a Christian, it is my moral duty to provide some kind of help to those who are less fortunate. Period. I would hate to die without having done something toward my fellow pilgrims upon this Earth who didn’t have it as good as I do.

How angry I am. It is not even immoral, but evil to allow two things to happen as a country:

  1. To send mostly young black men to prison for non-violent crimes, and then to punish prisoners rather than reform or rehabilitate. This is not just wrong, but something we’ll look back on, if we ever become civilized and fully human, with the same kind of horror as witch burning and lynching.
  2. To allow anyone to have to live outside, and, even worse, to make it seem normal.

Because I see them daily wherever I go and it’s simply not right. I don’t live in places like Africa where many give money, I live here. I want to know the people who lend me a hand, and I want to know people face to face when I lend them a hand. And note the benefit goes both ways: I benefit from befriending people outside my box.

I get out of my shell and out into the community. I love doing creative things and love re-inventing myself.

I’m semi-retired. I live on a salary adequate enough to pay for what is considered a low rent apartment; to pay health bills, utilities, food and so on. I’d like to pass along some money for my two sons, but would rather that be through a job I may create, and not money. My wife would like it if we took an extended vacation once or twice a year. Otherwise, I have no desire for accumulating excessive wealth. I think the accumulation of wealth is mostly sad, and I pity people who put excessive money away for retirement so they can eat, sleep, shit, go on vacations, go to restaurants, pretend they're doing something by advocating for a cause from their armchair, talk about their grandchildren and eventually die. I’d far rather see wealth spread around.

None when it comes to a feature length movie, but I will surround myself with those who are experts and the movie will be "workshopped" to get it to its final form. The movie will be storyboarded so it could potentially be directed and created by others with more experience. I understand the language of film, have been in digital imaging and illumination my entire 40 years of work, and I have a writing background: having once attended the Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa, and having been published extensively. I have also made several short movie pieces including testimonials, music videos and 2D and 3D animations.

None. But I know enough to understand that it makes the most sense to guerrilla market films on one’s own versus sending films to film festivals and/or to agencies that place films on Netflix and the like. In the former the length of time for making some profit takes too long, in the latter the amount of profit is low and the stakes are high: a list of people need to view it in the first days to justify its continued placement on Netflix.

Jerry Sedgewick is a man of firsts. Here is a Firsts’ list:

First writing submission to the internationally famed Iowa Writers’ Workshop gained acceptance into the program.

First assignment as a photographer was of the Hollywood actor Hal Linden (star of the sitcom, Barney Miller).

First event public speaking led to invitation to speak at annual fundraiser (Groves Academy).

First worldwide to run a microscope core facility in science at a major research institution (University of Minnesota) with a B.A. degree in a non-science major (Journalism).

First book was a best-seller and sold out (note that it was a best-seller in the sciences).

First scientific publication (as a co-author) appeared in Science, the premiere publication in scientific research to which a scarcity of scientists gain acceptance to publish.

First publication in Science also include another first: the cover illustration.

First foray into a missionary church (in the Episcopal denomination) led to preaching.

First job as regulatory writer was in Fortune 500 company as an executive consultant.

First instrument built from scratch (a multi-photon confocal microscope) outperformed a million dollar multi-photon from a major company (for photon sensitivity).

First commercial instrument (a proteomics slide scanner) as an inventor and optics engineer became the innovation of the year for scientific devices in 2017 (according to The Scientist magazine).

First films will outperform Hollywood for investment vs. profit.

 

Education:

Jerry was not educated with a doctoral degree in science, but he did PhD level work in science.

Jerry did not have experience in regulatory rules yet became a consultant over the period of nine months.

Jerry did not have a degree in religion and preached to an appreciative congregation nonetheless.

Jerry did not have a degree in engineering and not only did he design and implement optics and illumination but contributed a patent.

Jerry had no formal training as a photographer but became a commercial and biological photographer.

Jerry did not train as a director or filmmaker but will accomplish both with outstanding results.

We are all bred with a filmic language whether we’re aware of it or not. Much of film relies heavily on lighting to make or break the film. Even a mediocre actor can be made dramatic by lighting. Jerry capitalizes on both lighting and lensing to enhance scenes and dialogue.