Mike Fleming

Most films don’t tap into moviegoer wallets until they reach theaters. But Blue Like Jazz, an adaptation of Donald Miller’s faith-based book, waged a 30-day campaign that raised $346,000 from 4,495 supporters. That allowed the film to overcome a budget shortfall and begin production yesterday in Nashville. Marshall Allman (True Blood) plays the lead role of Miller, Tania Raymonde (Lost) and Justin Welborn (The Crazies) also star. Steve Taylor is directing. The dough was raised through Kickstarter.com, and  the flm’s backers claim it’s the largest crowd-sourced creative project ever. The book is about the author’s spiritual journey and the donation campaign started when the author blogged that the movie version of his book would be placed on indefinite hold because an investor fell out for $250,000. Two fans, Zach Prichard and Jonathan Frazier, created a grassroots save-the-film campaign by launching Savebluelikejazz.com. One of the film’s backers agreed to match the amount raised if it got to $125,000. That backer will match the $346,000. That gives the filmmakers an extra $450,000 that will be used for extra shooting days. The total budget of the film is $1 million. These donors won’t get their money back, but there were other incentives. The director has personally called around 300 of the donors so far, and between shots, will be logging phone time until he completes over 1000 thank you calls. Many donors will receive “associate producer” credit, which could mean the end credit roll will be longer than usual. But the filmmakers said the donors saved the movie.

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