Two years ago, actor Matthew Lillard was in a situation where no work was coming in and his father-in-law suggested maybe it was time to jump into a new career doing pharmaceutical sales. It’s a surprising fact for an actor that has starred and appeared in over forty plus movies, but the effects of the economy were felt just as much in Hollywood as anywhere else.
Instead Lillard doubled down and stayed in the game and dived into producing and directing and making a long held project of his a reality. “Fat Kid Rules the World” was a story that Lillard first became introduced to over ten years ago.
” I did the book on-tape and in doing, I had this crazy emotional epiphany and I saw myself in the lead character. I called up the writer of the book and sort of begged my way onto the project. I auctioned it from her and her agent. Yeah, it took us 10 years to get it made, but we finally got it done. ” said Lillard.
For the actor it’s all about self-motivating oneself and figuring out your way around being self-motivating. It’s also about longevity, trying to get through a lifetime of being an artist. He recognizes that to maintain a life in showbiz, you have to inspire yourself and figure out avenues and you can’t be sitting around waiting for people. Lillard found a new strength by diving into his own project and practices what he preaches with his new film.
” I realized that money really has nothing to do with defining your ability to tell a story. So what we did, what we realized, was that we could make the movie for much cheaper than I originally thought. I did a reading at my house. Every two weeks, we do readings at my house of plays. In that process we read the screenplay. Someone showed up who was making independent films, people liked it, so we ended up doing a short of the movie. We did a collection of scenes from the movie, it was about 15 minutes long. We called it “Fat Punk.” People liked it, so we decided to make the movie. ” said Lillard.
Initially Lillard had envisioned shooting the film with a ten million dollar budget. At the time Lillard was doing a lot of major studio films and that’s what he thought it would take to make the movie. But as the project stalled along the way, Lillard saw an avenue where he could make the film for a tenth of the original budget. The project ended up being financed for $750,000. Lillard and his team took it to The SXSW Film Festival, where they won the Audience Award, receiving great reviews, sold-out reception and audiences crazy for the movie.
” In light of the offers we got from Hollywood, which were all terrible, we said screw that, we’re gonna do it ourselves and then we went to Kickstarter. We raised $ 158,000 on Kickstarter in thirty-three days to distribute the film. ” said Lillard.
So in the vein of self-motivation, “Fat Kid Rules the World” can be seen by any kid, anywhere, who has the gumption to set up a screening of the film by going to http://www.tuggthefatkid.com.
Tugg is a new film distribution model that places the promotion in the audiences hands. You pick a time and place in your town at the cinema, you tell your friends and as soon as you pre-sell anywhere between 40 and 50 tickets, “Fat Kid Who Rules the World” will screen at that time in your home town. Whoever sets up the screening becomes a promoter and that promoter makes a percentage of the box office.
” Right now more than ever you can shoot anything. You can make your own projects. Hollywood is never waiting for you. You’re not going to walk down the street and ‘get found’ you have to make them find you. That means you shoot your own things, you write your own things. I want to make big movies. But to me the idea of, even though I like being an actor, the reality is that the work I get to do with projects I’m hired to do, in general in Hollywood that’s not a movie that’s that satisfying. My career, which I’ve been doing it 30 years, I got a lot more joy out of telling the story than being a piece of the storytelling.” said Lillard.