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Shemar Moore Talks to S&A About Crowdfunding Over $630,000 for His Next Film, Color in Casting, and More

by Jai Tiggett
August 6, 2013 7:52 PM
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S&A: Have you gotten any of the same pushback that Spike Lee is getting, saying that as a celebrity you have the money and influence to get your project made the traditional way?

SM: I'm in the upper tax bracket, but even if I went and funded this movie myself it doesn't tell Hollywood that there's a demand for it. The $500,000 that we asked for, none of that goes in my pocket at all. But it's a statement to Hollywood that there's a fan base, there's a demand for content that they may not be thinking of. I'm proving that I'm marketable and people want to see me make this type of movie. I told the fans, a dollar goes a long way. If I have one million people following me on Facebook and everybody gives a dollar, that's $1 million. And then all along the way, there were always incentives - set tours, I have a whole Baby Girl clothing line, photo shoots, all these things that keep it exciting for the fans. No matter what we raise, I'm going to dig in my own pockets and go to my own investors and get this thing made. 

S&A: What about the idea that crowdfunding was intended as a tool for people who don't have the ability to self-finance or seek money elsewhere? Do you see your campaign as having any effect on those filmmakers?

SM: Celebrities have more influence to be able to reach out to people, but people are becoming famous on Facebook and social media every day. Kim Kardashian is a major player coming off of a reality show and nobody can turn a blind eye to what she's accomplished, no matter how you see her. But this is a new way to broaden the playing field, so if you can use social media, make enough noise, show that you're authentic and show that it's not a hustle, you can raise money. You can make a movie for $50,000 and be done. 

S&A: Tell me about your choice to switch from Kickstarter to IndieGoGo. We know that with IndieGoGo you get to keep all the funds raised regardless of whether you make your goal.  

SM: Exactly that. We had a longer period of time to raise a lower amount of money, and we'd be able to keep the funds. 

S&A: Why not go with IndieGoGo from the beginning?

SM: For me, it was because I wasn't aware. This was my first time doing it, and so my team had heard about Kristen Bell and other celebrities using Kickstarter and we just assumed that was the route. But once we got into it and had some sources come and educate us about IndieGoGo, we decided that was better for what we wanted. I'm brand new. I've only been on social media for nine months so once I started learning about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, hashtag this and hashtag that, and when we saw the amount of access to the fan base, that we could use social media to make noise behind projects that I want to do, I said let's go for it.

S&A: You lowered your fundraising goal when you moved to IndieGoGo. Does that mean that less of the budget will be covered by IndieGoGo, or that the budget of the film has grown smaller?

SM: $500,000 was the goal because we knew if we got it within five or six weeks, it would show there's a demand and excitement behind me and my vision. But we want to make the movie for somewhere between $1.5 and $3 million. So if I have to use some of my own money I will, because I'm passionate about this. I will go out and I'll get a line of credit, I'll get private investors, I'll do whatever I need to do. 

S&A: Have you taken any lessons from this crash course in both social media and crowdfunding?

SM: It's just a machine that we have to fuel. I do a lot of it myself and I think the success is from the accessibility that I've allowed with the fans, because it's fun for me. I'm flirting, I'm interacting and doing live chats. They know I'm real and sense that I'm genuine. There's such a big fan base from Criminal Minds and I'm broadening awareness of who I am, how I'm fighting for my mother with MS, that people are seeing the human quality behind my celebrity. And then my talent speaks for itself in that they've followed my career and believe in me, and they want to see me do more than just be Derek Morgan on Criminal Minds or Malcolm Winters on The Young & The Restless

S&A: What kind of audience are you hoping the movie will connect with?

SM: My fan base is from 10-year-old youngsters to 85-year-old grandmas, so I'm hoping they will all come out and support.  Obviously 10-year-olds don't know about love, but certainly high schoolers with their first loves, getting their hearts broken, and the crazy ride of trying to find "the one." I think a really broad group of people will relate to it. If you're in high school or anything above that, you'll have a good time.

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  • Tameka | August 19, 2013 7:30 PMReply

    I have no problem with him being cast with whomever works for the lead female. I would say the same to a lead black female who opted to choose the best male lead for the role or who she thought was passionate about it regardless of what the person's race was.

  • BluTopaz | August 9, 2013 1:38 AMReply

    I'm trying to remember if I've ever read any other race of "filmmaker" publicly state their concerns over their work being seen as exclusive to their race...nope, can't think of any. Negroes are consistently the one group (most often males) who are so vocal about their rainbow tribe dreams.

  • JEFTCG | August 9, 2013 5:54 AM

    American Negroes, Blu. American Negroes. That phenomena pretty much only exists here in the United States, one of the many remnants of slavery, which removed our dignity, and then, to a certain extent, integration, which removed our power.

  • dancelover51 | August 8, 2013 2:30 AMReply

    Shemar did not cast a Black Lead Actress because he did not want a Black Lead Actress simple and plain. He doesn't want them in his personal life nor his professional life. I wish Black women would stop supporting these fools who view you as irrelevant and unimportant. I would never give that cornball fool any of my hard earned money.

  • Ariela | August 9, 2013 1:21 AM

    I agree. He's looking to make money, but forgets that the few movies he has been in himself, "Diary of a Mad Black Woman", "The Brothers", "Motives", etc. were so-called black movies and were pretty successful. If you go on his FB or Twitter site, you'll see that he has a lot of Caucasian women drooling over him. Those of the people he doesn't want to "alienate" if God forbid actually casts a talented black actress as his love interest.

  • Sterling Cooper | August 8, 2013 3:00 AM

    Hey hey, now take it easy. Clearly Shemar is investing a lot of time, energy and money into an ill-conceived and most likely clumsily written and directed project that will inevitably end up in the 99-cent-sale-bin at Walmart 3 months after its initial release alongside "Beauty Shop 8: Still Shoppin". That sort of unflinching dedication to one's craft can only be admired.

  • IC | August 7, 2013 3:48 PMReply

    Sorry about not proofreading my post. Just re-read it and realized I was typing too quickly and some words got left out. Don't hate me!

  • JEFTCG | August 7, 2013 2:18 AMReply

    Shemar, good luck to you, sir.

  • ALM | August 6, 2013 10:47 PMReply

    "If every character in the movie is black, it's going to be looked at as a black movie and that might alienate other people from going to see it".

    But should we care about this? TONS of movies are released every month that feature all white leads in the cast, and those casts/filmmakers never have to worry about alienation. This fear of being alienated has effectively help wipe a lot of the diversity off of movie screens. The stories of people of color need to be told through the eyes and voices of people of color, not just through the eyes and voices of Caucasian people.

    Shemar basically contradicts himself here. He says that he would have cast a Black lead actress, but then he speaks of concerns regarding alienation.

    He can pick whoever he wants for the part, but keep it real. If you are more concerned with making money and being alienated over creating opportunities for those who need them, then just say so.

    Also, he is way too old to be calling people "baby girl". He may want to rethink the name for that clothing line.

  • LL2 | August 7, 2013 4:38 PM

    @ALM Its obvious that Shemar is just looking out for his own interests and that is his right to do so. Like you said, he should be honest about his intentions but how would he get black women to support him if he were? I'm sure some of his donors were black women. So many of them are still drinking the kool-aid. I don't listen to what people say, I watch what they do. Good luck to him but I won't be supporting anyone that is not invested in promoting the interests of black women.

  • IC | August 7, 2013 3:46 PM

    I agree with your comment about your alienation comments and I also understand his point of view. Unfortunately, black movies are not the quality that they used to be when Spike Lee was doing it and John Singleton was doing it. It's been a long time since we've had a Love and Basketball or The Wood or Juice type of film although Precious got a lot of attention in the right way. Tyler Perry isn't making quality films in my opinion, either, but people want to see that. In Hollywood, Shemar is right that in order to keep making movies, you have to first make movies that will bring you profits instead of losses. For his first movie, has to make sure that it is profitable so that he can afford to take losses later on stuff that might not be as in demand on a wide scale. And you are right, in some cases, race is definitely a character all in itself on certain topics, but romance isn't one of them. As for the Baby Girl thing... that's more so for his Criminal Minds fans who enjoy how "Derek Morgan" flirts with Garcia, and the line donates money to the MS Society for each item sold.

  • JMac | August 6, 2013 11:14 PM

    It's all about attention and money - heaven knows there's not enough talent here to overcome those dirty words, "black film."

  • cool | August 6, 2013 8:33 PMReply

    I met Shemar in LA in Westwood at the burrito place next to Gushi the korean bbq place, real cool guy, love his words about race it's so true, God bless you man and i wish you continued success

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