How many times have we heard a story about a film writer/director/producer heading to Hollywood with a concept, and coming away with his or her tail between the legs? As with many industries, if you’re not connected with bigwigs at the top, then the process involves scraping along, wondering if and when an idea will take hold, or if concepts will be pilfered, or if they will ever get a chance to work and get paid.
These are all of the pains, frustrations, and questions that have been going through the mind of Buffalo expat Kris Hulbert, who is returning to Buffalo to stake a claim in the film, music, design, and game production industry. After dealing with the “Hollywood Machine” for years, Hulbert has decided to take a completely different route. Hulbert believes that with the advancement of crowdfunding sites, there is an opportunity to build a production studio in Buffalo, where the audience holds ownership and influence over the studio.
With that in mind, Hulbert will be launching a WeFunder campaign in the spring of 2019, where he intends on raising $1 million (first round of funding) to jumpstart Gratwick Productions in Buffalo (currently operating in LA). For as little as $100, investors will have a say in the process.
According to Hulbert, and his partner Andrea Vahl, “Ownership is an experience, and every investor will be able to assist with the process,” which includes:
- Electing what films are produced
- Who gets cast
- What charities each project will support
- Investors will also receive livestream access to auditions, meetings, and production sets
- A lifetime access to everything Gratwick produces
Ultimately, the company, Gratwick Productions, will be based in Buffalo. Currently, Hulbert and his team are in Buffalo doing the roadshow. The immediate goal is to identify a local creator that would be one of four initially financed via the WeFunder campaign*.
The team is spending the next few days looking around WNY for the ideal home for their new project – a full fledge studio. They are also on the hunt for like-minded supporters, industry creatives, and others who see the egalitarian upside to this vision.
To submit your project for consideration or schedule a time to meet with a member of Gratwick while they are in town over the course of the next few days, you can email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Minimum funds of $250K must be met or the company is not funded. All investments go in a trust that WeFunder manages and releases only after the minimum has been hit.