NEW YORK — Their movie isn't out yet — or even made — but three teenage filmmakers already have video promotions from Jude Law and Stephen Fry.
"Now more than ever, it's incredibly difficult to get a film funded even if you've been doing it for years and have a good track record," Law says in the video he shot for Adrian Bliss, Ben Robbins and Toby Stubbs, who discovered "Clovis Dardentor," an 1896 novel by Jules Verne, and decided to make a movie of the comic story about two friends who try to get adopted by a wealthy man.
"No matter how passionate you are, or how good your film could be, it's still a monumental struggle to get the money together. What could make it harder is if you're a teenager like Adrian, Toby and Ben who found a forgotten Jules Verne novel in the British library and they knew instantly they wanted to make it into a film," says Law, speaking alone on camera with a "Sherlock Holmes" sign behind him.
Determined to become filmmakers, the trio hatched their plan during their final year in a London secondary school. But Stubbs, 18, says they knew they had to find a creative way get funding.
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"We knew we couldn't just go around to these studios and ask for money because of our age, because we were even younger back then, a year ago," he says.
"Well, we did try, didn't we? We called up. It was, 'No, no. Sorry.' And then they hung up," adds Bliss, 19.
So they used the Internet, social networking and a bit of bluster to get their production off the ground. Many people have turned to microfinancing to launch record albums or films, employing the Internet as a fund-raising tool. But Stubbs, Bliss and Robbins found a way to involve celebrities.
"We thought about it and thought what could we sell to people that there are lots of in a film, and that's when credits came up," Stubbs says. "Everyone wants to see their names on the end credits of a film."
The result is www.buyacredit.com, which sells end credits for $10 a name. Stubbs, Bliss and Robbins, 19, are also selling advertising space on the site. The teens, who need $2 million, say they have already raised about $150,000.
"Essentially, you can be a movie producer and see your name on the end credits of a film knowing that you've helped to make it happen," Law says in the video, which was made available to The Associated Press. "The aim of the project is to provide a window into the world of movies and to show … a real-time 'making of' through the Web site, blogs, YouTube and Twitter."
Larger donors are offered set visits and even cameo roles.
Fry has already appeared in a 10-minute film the three produced called "Jam" and will have the lead role of the wealthy Mr. Eustache in "Clovis Dardentor." Fry says he "admired in an amused manner the chutzpah, determination and the charm of these three young fellows in their determination to get into the movie business this way."
The teens landed Fry after sending dozens of tweets to his Twitter page.
"I clicked on their site and I thought, 'Oh, that's very sweet and very clever. So, I retweeted it and drew other people's attention to it and Adrian, who's sort of the leader of the gang, he got in touch with me to thank me, and his way of thanking me was asking for more favors."
Fry also appears in a video on the teens' Web site and asked friends such as Sir Ian McKellen and Rowan Atkinson to offer their backing as well.
Law got involved after Bliss talked him up outside a London theater.
"When we found out that he was in London doing 'Hamlet,' … we thought, 'Well, there's a chance to try and contact him,' " Bliss says. "So I … waited outside the stage door for him to come in and I met him there and I told him about the project … and he was really interested and that's how we sort of got his support from the start."
The teens say Law was soon giving advice. He looked over their script, offered to make the video and hired his own camera crew to shoot while doing publicity for the film "Sherlock Holmes," in which he plays Watson to Robert Downey Jr.'s Holmes.
They hope Law's pitch will resonate with wanna-be producers so the young filmmakers can reach their $2 million goal.
On the Net: www.buyacredit.com