By Marianne Salza at Emmanuel College
In the upcoming film “Mark of the Dog Rose,” a young woman, Toni, vanishes from her New England College. Her brother, Gabe Marcel, is determined to find her. The situation is graver than he could have imagined. With police bewildered and time dissipating, Gabe seeks the assistance of Lacey, the sister of one of the detectives on the case. The two collaborate in a race to continue when police had given up. Soon enough, Gabe and Lacey find themselves trapped, lying and waiting in a game of trickery with malevolence itself.
Producing independent movies like “Mark of the Dog Rose,” written by 25-year-old Shannon Carter, require similar chutzpah. The vivacious redhead has porcelain skin and jade-sparkled eyes.
Dedication, high hopes and uniqueness are pivotal for success, especially when working with barely-there finances and relying on people’s generosity.
“My main focus right now is the new film that I wrote, am producing and acting in,” said the Salem State University graduate. “It takes a lot of my time, but I love it! I talk to the director on a daily basis and we have to figure out everything from budget, locations, scheduling, to hair/makeup and wardrobe.”
Composing a story line was the easy part. Shannon opted for a drama since her and the 27-year old director’s, Jessica Cook, first film together was comedic. Occasionally she would consult Jess for suggestions, tossing ideas about. A fan of Law and Order SVU, Shannon relishes suspense and is naturally veered in the direction of a thriller. A core plot was construed, and two months of feverish writing later, “Mark of the Dog Rose” was developed. Then came the hard part: finding the funds.
The main money raising strategy was done through Kickstarter. On this website, links are posted, connecting patrons to information about the film and how they can help.
“It’s great for filmmakers, musicians or entrepreneurs to fund their projects. People can donate anything from $1 to $100,000. We didn’t get near that much, but it was a help,” Shannon adds with a laugh. They rose a little over $1000 through the program.
The 99 Restaurant also donated food and gift cards for a celebration involving a group of local bands who performed and entertained raffle buyers. Many of the musicians were featured in the soundtrack of Shannon’s last film, “Sunblocked,” or were friends with the director. Prizes included wine, lottery and movie ticket baskets donated by Shannon’s family and even a hand-crafted shelf presented by It’s A Secret, a shop in Danvers.
It is a big responsibility, especially considering the two both work full-time. While Jessica does administrative work in Vermont, Shannon juggles two jobs: one in a law office as a paralegal-in-training; and another as a playful-grinned hostess at Blue Stove restaurant.
Having such an intense schedule can be difficult; and they do the brunt of the time-consuming project. Situations pop up where a location or shoot deadline arises, and it is hard to get in touch with the necessary people when working during business hours.
Shannon has no choice but to make her itinerary work – from sending out e-mails or drafts in the early hours prior to work, during breaks, and after her eight hours. Weekends end up being the most productive.
The money that is collected through fundraisers goes to paying for some locations and is also dedicated to purchasing props, equipment and food for the cast and crew on set. Needless to say, it is quickly spent.
Fortunately, the ladies have some terrific people and businesses that let the duo use supplies and venues free of charge.
Sadly, no one gets paid for working on the movie; particularly Shannon and Jess who wind up paying for some effects out of their own pockets.
“Everyone donates their time, but in return, people get exposure, experience and credit to add to their resumes,” says Shannon.
The wide assemblage managing “Mark of the Dog Rose” take part because it is their passion, but getting distribution is a major cinematic dream for Shannon. Upon completion, the team plans to submit the motion picture to multiple film festivals and will likely tour at a variety of venues presenting it while gaining viewership.