A couple of years ago, I interviewed actress/singer/writer/director (that's a lot of titles!) Amy Jo Johnson (Felicity, Flashpoint, Covert Affairs) during her effort to fund her first short film, Bent. Fast-forward to now, and Ms. Johnson is embarking on a much bigger project: seeking funding for her first feature, The Space Between. I was curious to learn how she had got from that first film to now, and what this new film was all about, and she was nice enough to answer my questions.
Q. You're making your first feature--The Space Between--what's it all about?
When Mitch, a proud new father, discovers that his baby isn't his, he leaves his small town and sets out on a journey to find the baby's true daddy. On the way, he ends up falling for a young troubled woman who just escaped rehab. Meanwhile, Jackie, the baby's momma, reeling from her decision to take her pregnancy into her own hand, convinces her best friend to help her find Mitch and save their marriage. The journey they all take is a heartfelt, coming of age (a slightly older age) story through backwoods burlesque festivals and small town churchyard larceny. Filled with a colourful cast of supporting characters, it's a film about acceptance, family, love... and a few dirty diapers.
Q. Sounds like there's a lot going on there! What inspired you to make the film?
The Space Between was inspired by my first short film, Bent, which was a story about life long friendship and how those relationships help us feel normal. This film is a departure from that first short film, but a few of the characters are developed into this story. One of the things that came up in that film made me think about exploring the issue of infertility, but from the man's perspective. I've found it interesting to dive into the topic of a man's infertility, instead of the more commonly explored avenue of it being a woman. There are so many loaded feelings around this topic, and it's my hope to bring light to the situation and help find the humor that lies between all of our pain.
Q. You've financed two other shorts through indiegogo and now this feature - what keeps bringing you back to this financing model?
We're doing an indiegogo campaign for this film not only to raise half of the funds to shoot it, but also to create a community around the film and give it a life before it's even released. During the other campaigns for my first two short films, I fell in love with the process. I would not be able to transition from actor to filmmaker so smoothly without the help of the people who've supported and followed my career. I feel incredibly grateful for all the support and excitement that has come with this campaign.
Q. I've watched some of your other campaigns and they seem like a lot of work; one of the big features of these campaigns is coming up with the "perks" that coming along with funding. How do you come up with them?
I love coming up with the perks. I find that part of indiegogo the most fun. We asked around on Twitter and Facebook for ideas of what people would want and then spent some time organizing and figuring out logistically what we could offer. I think we have some pretty fun innovative perks this time around. From being an extra on set to Skype sessions and personal favorite "Amy Jo's Artwork", where I'll paint a picture and write a song based off a letter the person writes to me.
Q. You're also doing something with Stageit. What is that?
Stageit.com is a fabulous venue for musicians to showcase and perform for people around the world from the comfort of their own living room. I hosted about 10 shows last year and thought why not launch the indiegogo campaign love from the stageit.com website. There really is no other online webcast platform at this time. The show we did on the 19th of October, the day we launched, was a blast. We have two more lined up. November 9th for the release of Shooting Blanks, a 6-minute prequel to The Space Between. I'll be hosting that show with Michael Cram, the lead of the film. And then, on November 23rd to end the campaign with a toast and a giant thank you! The show is live, people can chat and I also sing a few tunes. It's great fun.
Q. Any surprises in store during the campaign?
The campaign will run until November 23rd. There will be many fun events and if we actually reach our goal we have an exciting stretch goal with a hilarious event that will take place if we reach it. I can only give a hint as to what that event will be. Busking... Yonge & Dundas... Pink Ranger.... Okay, I can't say anymore. And it might not even happen. Like I said that is only for a stretch goal event. So fingers crossed.
Ms. Johnson is seeking $75,000 in funding through the current campaign. At the time of writing, she was approaching $29,000, or 38% of her funding goal.