Terry McMahon’s Charlie Casanova is the first film to be entirely conceived on Facebook. A method that proves that the good fortune of social networking is endless and you only have to use your imagination, intuition or whatever to pull off the undoable.
He lives in Ireland, so I spoke to Terry on the phone about his social networking method of getting his movie produced. He told me that after the Irish Film Board rejected his script, he had the words “The Art is in the Completion. Begin” tattooed onto his body as a symbol of his dedication to get his movie produced, “I did it for a constant reminder.”
Then, on Christmas Eve at three o’clock in the morning, he typed a message into his Facebook status that he was planning to shoot the film in a few weeks and was soliciting volunteers for cast and crew.
He typed a very direct message: “Intend shooting no budget feature, Charlie Casanova a provocatively dark satire, in the first couple of weeks of January. Need cast, equipment, locations, and a lot of balls. Any takers? Script at terrymcmahon.org. This is sincere so bull shitters fuck off in advance. Thank you.”
Terry stared at his message on Facebook, hesitate for a moment, not really knowing what he was doing and sent his message. Terry told me he knew it was a blind ambition, but he believed that by soliciting on the social network he could get his feature film produced for free.
He was right.
In less than a minute someone responded. Within twenty-four hours a hundred and thirty people made contact: camera department, designers, production managers, assistant directors, continuity people, gaffers and actors.
“I got back to everyone insisting they had to read the script before going any further, so they’d know what they were getting into. The script was a bit of a bastard you see, and, as we all know, bastards aren’t welcome in the land of legitimacy; but they read it and they got it (story).”
With the first day of principle photography only three weeks away, with this renegade crew of strangers and actors, lead by Terry as writer and director, “a mass blind date was set, and Charlie Casanova was dragged kicking-and-screaming to life.”
Terry was quite surprised at the quality of talent that turned out for the production. “We had a couple of basket cases, too. A couple of total nut jobs showed up. They soon stood out as crazies.” All in all, he had a good talent of people to get the film to completion.
Terry is not new to production. He worked on a daily soap and writes regularly. Still, he is amazed at how it all started with a poignant message on Facebook. An approach that demonstrates social networking is resourceful, and you only have to use your wits or stroke of luck to pull off the undoable.
Charlie Casanova is premiering at SXSW 2011 on Sunday, March 13, 2011. I asked Terry if is looking forward to the festival and, especially, the parties.
“I am an Irishman; I’ll keep on drinking until Austin is dry.”