OneDoor Studios, a Santa Barbara film company, recently raised just over $2 million to finance development costs of “Calculated,” a movie based on a bestselling young adult novel.
Investors are being invited to invest $100 each in the movie, which has an estimated budget of $45 million. The budget is largely being covered by bank financing, according to OneDoor Studios.
“Calculated” is a thriller written by Nova McBee and published by Wolfpack. The novel focuses on Josephine Rivers, a calculating prodigy with a nearly supernatural ability that enables her to do things such as predict the future. That gets the attention of criminals who kidnap her to make money off her ability, but she must escape before the thugs use her power and ruin the global economy in the process.
The story got the attention of OneDoor Studios.
“From its opening sentence, Nova McBee’s young woman starring character just knocked us out with her impossible circumstances and unconquerable spirit,” said Jay Brents, the company’s CEO, in a news release. “We were fortunate to bid early on this audience-captivating book series that could become one of the highest impact motion picture franchises of all time.”
The company’s founders are committing 25% of their profits from “Calculated” to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation to help in the fight against human trafficking.
OneTime Studios said its investment process for the movie adaptation of “Calculated” differs from the usual crowdfunding approach.
“The typical way films have been funded on crowdfunding sites is for investors to provide production funding, then the film is produced. This most often leads to projects that fail to get distribution,” said Jay Brents, CEO of OneDoor Studios. “In 2019, over 13,000 independent films were made with this model, and less than 1% secured distribution, let alone actually profited.”
Mr. Brents explained what makes his company’s investment process different is that the investor is investing in the development of the film — not the production.
According to OneTime Studios, that means people investing in “Calculated” can recoup 110% of their investment before filming begins.
“Then after the studio releases the film, investors make 50% of the development company’s ongoing profits,” the studio said in its news release.
Mr. Brents said the company turned to revenue-share crowdfunding when private investment slowed following the COVID-19 shutdown.
“We had a company on board for the funding of the first project’s development, but when COVID hit, everything changed,” Mr. Brents said. “So I did a great deal of research into the most successful revenue-share crowdfunded companies and we moved our company down that path. We gathered all of our resources and started with a meager $3,000 in ad spend. Then a $15,000 loan to the company for marketing got us to about $150,000 raised within a month, and then it just accelerated.”