Director Christian Sesma is taking a different approach to crowdfunding, building a fanbase for his latest project, the action comedy “Vigilante Diaries,” as he looks for funds to continue the series.
Machinima has begun streaming a PG-version of the first episode of the project to its core audience of 18-34-year-old males, while a second episode is available on Chill.com. Both episodes are available for $4.99.
Project stars Jason Mewes (“Clerks,” the “Jay and Silent Bob” films) as a documentary filmmaker who turns his camera to the dark underworld of vigilante justice, facing drug lords and mafia kingpins along the way. Paul Sloan, Kevin L. Walker, and Jacqueline Lord co-star.
Sesma produced the over-the-top project, heavy on action, violence gore and gratuitous sex with a graphic novel sensibility, through his production shingle Seskri Produktionz.
Two episodes of “Vigilante Diaries” have been produced, shot with RED and GoPro cameras so far, and four more have been written by Sloan, the project’s creator. Ten episodes have been plotted out for a full season. Sesma helmed the episodes, which were executive produced by Mewes, Marc Hustvedt and Brian Norgard.
Sesma launched the series on Chill because “we didn’t want any third parties messing with our vision,” he said. “We wanted to give our audience what they want, a digital graphic novel love letter with everything we think is cool. No rating, no rules, just over-the-top genre content that you wouldn’t normally be able to see on the web.”
Chill, launched last fall, enables indie filmmakers the chance to showcase and crowdfund their projects. Through the site, “Vigilante Diaries“ is looking to raise $50,000 by July 25.
“This episodic funding model represents an entirely new direction for digital series, working outside of the ad-supported video world,” said Marc Hustvedt, head of entertainment at Chill. “It lets the creators take risks without answering to brands or networks. In its purest form, this is a model for series that cannot be cancelled as long as viewers are willing to support them.”
But by making the first installment available on Machinima for free, Sesma is hoping to tap into the site’s massive audience to help generate additional production coin to fund the rest of the series. Machinima generated 2.2 billion views in March from over 191 million people.
Sesma’s other credits include teen thriller “6:30,” “On Bloody Sunday,” and “Shoot the Hero,” which also starred Mewes, Samantha Lockwood and Danny Trejo, and bowed at the Palm Springs Film Festival. He recently wrapped the sci-fi horror pic “Lost Time,” that stars Luke Goss, Robert Davi and Lin Shaye.