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Duluth native gears up for directorial debut on independent film

As much as I wish I was writing this about myself, I am glad my time has not yet come. No, I am not making my directorial debut, but I have been working as a production assistant for an independent feature film called Seed of Doubt. In fact, I like to believe it was my connection to Duluth that landed me said gig, and not the more likely scenario that I was the only one with free time that bothered to reach out. Although I do have video production experience, I have significant inexperience when it comes to independent feature films. And being a PA for a mere three months has taught me that indie film making, is completely nuts. What sits arguably at the top of the completely nuts castle, would be the film’s director. Producers certainly have no breezy time either, but when the cast and crew converge for production, even the producers are asking the director, “What’s next?”

Cut to: Will Cox.

Will was born on an Air Force base in Florida, but was raised in Duluth. After receiving his diploma from Duluth Central High School, Will went on to study visual effects and motion graphics from the Art Institute International in Minneapolis. With his B.S. degree, he moved out to Los Angeles, Calif. where he began his career in visual effects. Ready for the fun part? This is where we list some fantastically well-known titles: Will’s work spanned from commercials (Apple Inc.) and television (Glee), to feature films including Captain America: The First Avenger, The Muppets, Fury, and Wonder Woman. Today, Will is back in his home state of Minnesota where he works as a visual effects compositor in Minneapolis.

Cut to: Directorial Debut

In October, prior to having been titled, Seed of Doubt, an idea known as “Project Gaslight” hit to the digital crowdfunding streets and successfully raised $10,800 through Seed&Spark. Thus with the “seed” money and some new crew members, Seed of Doubt was formed. The film, directed by Will Cox, is a psychological thriller about gaslighting abuse.

Melissa and Scott’s dream home turns into a nightmare when they take on new tenants to make ends meet.

As Melissa descends into paranoia and delusion, they must fight to save their unborn child.

With production beginning this summer, the film has been cast and the crew is (mostly) assembled. In sticking with the Marvel theme, Scott, is played by actor Denzel Whitaker, who most recently starred in Black Panther. Seed of Doubt is still in the process of coordinating lodging, catering services, wardrobe, and more — oh, so much more. Therefore, prior to production beginning, a final Seed&Spark crowdfunding push has been launched.

The new goal is to raise $17,850 and gain 1,000 followers. Now, the followers part is important. Once the film is successful in its production and editing, you need an audience to see it right? The other brilliant part of Seed&Spark, is that you are also building your audience. Followers do not contribute financially, but instead, represent a group of people who say, “I like entertainment and this movie in particular looks quite neat. I can’t wait to see it!” The campaign has nine days left before ending and is currently 51 percent funded with 203 followers. In addition to building your audience and raising funds, by reaching your goal Seed of Doubt is eligible for a chance of a lifetime. 3311 Productions (In a World… and Mr. Right), as well as The Orchard (What We Do in the Shadows and The Overnight), is awarding one film $25,000, joining as executive producer, and providing a first-look distribution deal.

When you think about it, a film must undergo a very long journey. Already Will’s film has gone from an idea (Project Gaslight), to a screenplay with a title, cast, crew, and seed money. With the help of individuals supporting independent filmmaking, the next step into production will be happening this summer. If you’d like to support, consider following the campaign on Seed&Spark. More information on the cast, crew, and story can also be found there.

I joined this project to learn more about making a feature film. Hopefully in time, I too can climb to the top of the completely nuts castle and be the next Duluth native to make a directorial debut. For now, I am perfectly fine bringing the coffees, meeting new people, and watching this seed grow.

1 Comment

Sam Weston

about 5 months ago

Having made a feature film myself (which, by the way, crowdfunded alongside Will's back when they were called Project Gaslight) I'd say you don't need to think of directing as "climbing to the top" -- hell, that attitude might even be hurtful!

Look at Duluth filmmakers like Lance T. Karasti, who is working on his THIRD feature film doing what he's done both times before: gathering up his friends and saying "let's do this!" -- Here's his 2nd film, "Artificial" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9w_eqOT5JE

Look at Brandon Cole and Death Calm Studios, who keeps churning out horror shorts and gets better with every one. He also happens to be crowdfunding in the same rally: https://www.seedandspark.com/fund/alternate-route#story

And then there's me, the guy who made a feature film out of pure gumption -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbF0WsgJmAM

For Duluth filmmakers like us, it's not about how far you still need to climb. It's about the ideas you have and the friends you know that can help you bring your ideas to fruition.

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