Michael Glover Smith picks up his proverbial pen to culminate his trilogy of relationship films with “Rendezvous In Chicago.” Reuniting a few familiar faces from his first two endeavors, “Cool Apocalypse” and “Mercury in Retrograde,” Smith’s newest film is comprised of three unrelated vignettes, telling, as he said, “the story of a single relationship.” But don’t worry…if you haven’t seen his first two creations, it’s not a prerequisite, although you’re missing out on two wonderful films!
Smith had a chance to talk with me about making “Rendezvous in Chicago,” addressing key points such as funding, the Inclusion Rider, his plans for shooting, and the talented cast with whom he has, in many cases, developed “…a kind of short hand on set.”
Independent filmmaking always has its challenges, but first and foremost, funding is the most difficult. Smith said, “‘Cool Apocalypse’ was made for very little money and I raised it all by crowdfunding. ‘Mercury in Retrograde’ had a considerably higher budget and was financed through equity investors. ‘Rendevous’ is a combination of the two approaches: we’ve raised some money through investors and are using Seed & Spark, a great crowdfunding platform designed specifically for filmmakers, to raise the rest of the money we need.”
Smith is thrilled to be reunited with Nina Ganet (“Cool Apocalpyse” “Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party”) recognizing that she was just 22 years old when they first worked together. Now, four years later, “…she has a lot more acting experience and life experience” which will allow Ganet’s portrayal of “Julie” to bring, as Smith stated, “…a lot of the changes that have occured in her own life to the character.” Smith has also worked with Kevin Wehby (“Cool Apocalypse,” “Mercury in Retrograde”) and Shane Simmons (“Mercury in Retrograde”) and is looking forward to working with Clare Cooney, Rashaad Hall, and Matt Sherbach (“Chicago P.D.”), describing them as “brilliant actors.”
As a seasoned writer and director, Smith is not at all daunted by the filming process. He said, “Honestly, I think the actual shooting is going to be fun and easy. We have a great cast and crew and I anticipate it being a summer camp-type atmosphere.” Smith is cognizant of the need to give women opportunities in the world of filmmaking and has the innovative Layne Marie Williams as Assistant Director and sole producer. Williams, founder of Women of the Now, will be bringing in Armani Barron as Production Manager and Hannah Butler as the Script Supervisor. Smith has already announced Christine Sciortino as Hair & Makeup Stylist and Haley McCormick as the Art Director and Costume Designer. Additionally, Smith anticipates hiring women as production assistants and as part of his camera crew. Smith excitedly said, “This means more than half our crew will be women. I’m a fan of the Inclusion Rider!”
With so many wheels already in motion, Smith’s only reservations come in the form of how to fund “Rendezvous in Chicago.” “The hardest part will be raising the money in advance.” With lightness and a certain encouraging tone, Smith said, “…most campaigns are funded through the accumulation of many small donations. Even $25 can help a lot!”
Interestingly, in a typical 30-day campaign to fully fund a film, the successful projects are 1/3 funded in the first three days. Smith is hoping for a “…strong start right out of the gate.” Contributing in other ways is also very helpful to independent projects such as “Rendezvous in Chicago.” Sharing a link on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is also greatly appreciated.
For links to contribute, go to Seed & Spark