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Episode 65 – The Thornton Bros.

After ten years as screenwriters, the Thornton Bros. decided to raise money on IndieGogo and shoot a feature themselves. This week we explore the ins and outs of IndieGogo, the Hollywood system, and the frustrating hamster wheel of a life in filmmaking. Hold on to your butts, this one gets nihilistic.

Listen now or visit iTunes to download it to your device.


Why Indie Gogo?

Jay and Chris Thornton (aka the Thornton Bros) are raising money for their first feature film Cactus Jack which is on Indie Gogo right now.  They’re asking for $20k. But why? As screenwriters with and manager, plus connections in the industry, why don’t they just reach out to their connections and get it made?

This trailer is NSFW. Consider watching it with headphones on.

Getting to Know the Thornton Bros

  • where did you guys grow up?
  • Did you make movies when you were younger?
  • Did you go to film school?
  • Career paths leading up to 2007
  • The first script
  • Placing Top 30 in the Nichols Contest
  • Getting an Agent and Manager
  • The last ten years of writing, meeting, and getting paid
  • Full time screenwriters with day jobs
  • Is it necessary to live in LA?

About Cactus Jack

  • What is Cactus Jack?
  • How long have you been working on it and did you always know you would produce it yourselves?
  • Why did it take you ten years to do this? Why not do it sooner?
  • What’s the release plan?

Crowdfunding Advice

  • How does Indie Gogo work?
  • Indie Gogo vs Kickstarter
  • Advice on creating a successful crowd funding campaign

Share Corner

The Cactus Jack IndieGogo campaign is live until 9/13, please help these guys reach their goal by sending them some money or sharing this link:–2#/

The Spirit Machine is getting released! Save the dates. There will be a San Francisco screening on Wed 9/21 and a Los Angeles screening on Thurs 9/22

Contact Us

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  • Kyle McCauley

    If this is at all helpful…
    I probably messed this up when I talked to you guys, but I don’t think it’s necessarily better to have a treatment vs. a script for the feature of your short. Timothy, if you already have your feature script ready, that’s really, really good. The process you’ll go through after the option will likely lead to lots of changes in the story anyway. The script is really just for them to know you have a solid idea of how the story would function as a feature and that can come in either script or treatment form and be equally effective. My point when we talked was just that a script is a much more involved document than a treatment and in the scenario of a production company wanting to option your short, all things being equal, a treatment is a better option simply because it’s less work; less “time risk” like Rossio talked about in that article. Since your script is already done, it doesn’t matter. It also depends too on how heavily you want to market yourself as a writer/director and how well your short sells you as that specifically. As far as I can tell, it’s easier to be a first time director vs. a first time writer/director simply because it gives the production company or whoever a chance to attach a more seasoned writer who theoretically makes it easier to get your project set up because of his/her name/credits/prestige, etc. But then, obviously you have to find that writer, which can be a whole other process.

    • Thanks for clearing that up. Makes sense. I would love to attach a more seasoned writer to any of my projects. I guess my question to my representation would be, “what makes me a stronger sell? Me as a director only or me as a director with IP?” Because I have a lot of IP but I don’t fancy myself a writer, so I would kind of need a seasoned writer to take it to the next level.

  • I relate to this story. Just when you think you have it made you realize you’re still in pretty much the same place as when you started. That’s when it’s time to take control and just go do it yourself. If you enjoyed this interview consider helping these guys get their movie made. Chip in whatever you can afford to their Indie Gogo campaign