Actor Matthew Lillard appeared at the Silent Movie Theater in Los Angeles on September 12, 2012 where Cinefamily presented a free sneak preview of his directorial debut “Fat Kid Rules the World.” Based on the award winning book by K.L. Going, the movie has already won the Narrative Feature Spotlight Audience Award at the 2012 SXSW Film Festival, and the audience at the Silent Movie Theater sounded just as enthusiastic as those festival goers did over what Lillard brought to the big screen.
One audience member asked Lillard what the budget was on “Fat Kid Rules the World,” and to hear him answer the question gives you an idea of how tight everything ends up being on an independent film:
“We are well under a million dollars,” Lillard said. “We are a $750,000 dollar movie. We raised $158,000 dollars on Kickstarter (the audience applauded this), and we shot in 23 days in Seattle, Washington.”
After winning the audience award at the SXSW Film Festival, Lillard thought his movie had it made because people loved it and it was getting great reviews. But then came the time to try and sell it to movie studios…
“When the offers came in they were all pretty terrible,” Lillard recollected. “I mean they were all VOD (Video on Demand) and it gave us very little opportunity for our low budget movie to make its money back.”
Granted, making an indie movie has never been easy, but the way they are made now has changed so much since its heyday in the 90s. Eventually, Lillard decided that he and his backers should bypass the typical route filmmakers take to sell their movie and create a “new opportunity” for themselves.
“With the $158,000 dollars (from Kickstarter) we put the movie on the Vans Warped tour all summer long. We made a deal with Tugg (a website for movies) so any kid anywhere in America can set up a screening of our film in their local cinema. If a kid lives in Fairbanks, Alaska, he can go to tuggthefatkid.com and request a screening of our film in his local cinema. They will set a threshold and the theater will say they’ll do it for forty people, and if forty people pre-buy a $10 dollar ticket then they will set it up at that time at that date in your theater.”
Lillard went on to say that the highest requested movie before “Fat Kid Rules the World” got 330 requests, and his movie has already gotten over 1,000.
When it comes to the life of this movie, Lillard made it abundantly clear that it is in the hands of the people who end up seeing it. It’s always great to hear stories like this as there are many different avenues available to filmmakers today, and we are not always aware of what they are.
Lillard then finished the evening by explaining to the audience why he made “Fat Kid Rules the World:”
“We made this movie for kids that are lost in the world,” Lillard said. “It’s an underdog story about an obese kid who finds punk rock music. For me I wanted to make the movie because I found acting in my life when I was thirteen and it changed my life, and I think that there are kids out there that need this f—ing movie.
“I did a movie called ‘SLC Punk,’ and kids needed that movie. If I walk down the street in Austin, Texas people will come out to me and say, ‘dude, SLC Punk changed my life!’ And my goal is, as lame as it is, to help a kid out there who needs the movie finds the movie and it speaks to him and it changes his life or finds himself. And that’s our goal and you can help us do that.”
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