Complicated, layered, outspoken, tall, obscure. Jason E. Barnes’ film Unreported, a story about male rape, is sure to hasten Barnes’ climb from obscurity but there are mountains and hills still left to scale.
Many who already know him are in the business of film making and acting. However his rabble rousing relationship questions managed to find gain among more than 5,000 friends on Facebook and set listener records with an internet radio show. This was his first stab at leveling his obscurity.
One and a half years ago the film producer, 36, began a journey from his hometown of Washington D.C. to Los Angeles–sometimes couch surfing his way through places like Atlanta and Cleveland. Over time, he has climbed from voice over actor, to actor, to producer–teaching himself along the way whatever it is he needed to know.
The former project manager for Dell Global says film production is pretty much like project management, in that he has to make sure he has the right actors for the part, staff, a solid script, good lighting, sound and food.
“If you have those six elements you can make a movie. It’s not that hard,” he said during a telephone interview.
He also said dealing with egos on set and seeking funding are the more difficult aspects of being a film producer. Actors get grumpy drumming up emotions to complete a scene and working long hours under varying conditions, Barnes said.
“Films are risky investments but I finish things. I approach everything with integrity: say what you mean and mean what you say,” he said.
“Unreported” is in pre-production, meaning, Barnes’ is still seeking financial backers, actors and producers. He has a site that is set up to take donations from anyone willing to invest a few dollars in his film. His initial goal is $7,500 and thus far has attracted $1,680 to his project, five dollars at a time.
“I’m meeting this coming week, with a couple of named actors that many have seen on the big screen and television,” he updated recently on Facebook, promising new details of his efforts on the fundraising website, IndieGoGo.com.
He also said that he would prefer a Mathew McConaughey-type for the lead but Barnes said a call into McConaughey’s management team elicited the standard response: Sounds great, call us when you have a budget.
So Barnes’ work continues. He recently updated his fundraising site to reflect details in what the film production will cost and what small investors get for their money–a thank you an eternal gratefulness. Barnes writes on the fundraising web site that the “first portion of principal photography has to have $10,000 funding.” He said each day it costs a minimum of $200 to feed the cast and crew.
“Multiple that by 15 days and the cost is $3000. Insurance for the equipment and shooting locations cost around $5,000 and permits, $1000,” he writes.
“Camera, lights, and sound equipment rentals (for the equipment that we don’t have) will be around $5,000,” he writes, adding, “the actors will be paid a small salary.” He said little-known actors will forgo handsome salaries for credits in the film, which is a resume builder and needed for entry into the Screen Actors Guild. Barnes said his actors agree to be paid if the film sells.
Barnes writes further that the line items listed take the initial amount need to start major production work on the film, way past the stated $10,000 but he promises investors that the film will be completed in 2011. He also asks for in-kind donations of talent for those who would like to share their experience or invest on a deeper level. He said investor agreements are “very generous.” The fundraising is progressing nicely and Unreported should soon achieve the initial $7,500 fundraising goal.
Barnes, at 6’9″, (yes, he played college ball and was a stand in on-set for an eight-foot Godzilla ) is an imposing figure and naturally attracts tons of attention. He genuinely believes the populace is ready to discuss a weighty issue like male rape. It could be because those who score 1450 on SAT and major in civil engineering in college are more apt to attempt a solution to a problem or it could be due to the general boldness of a man wanting to illuminate one of those deeply dark and unspoken man thoughts.
“It doesn’t just happen in prison; it can happen in regular life. A man could be unconscious after leaving the club with a woman and get brutalized,” Barnes said. He wants male rape to be the centralize theme because there has never been a similar film produced. He finished the script a few months ago and said the idea for it stemmed from discussions with male friends and topics on a Blogtalk.com radio show he produced. Barnes said in his discussion with men about their fears, getting their manhood cut off is at the top of the list along with being raped.
In the film, the lead character does not report the rape. Barnes said each year, thousands of men who are victimized in this way, do not report it.
“Think about all of the changes in rape laws and women still don’t report rape. Imagine what that is like for a man,” he said.
Barnes says he has not been raped and that his personal experiences are not a basis for the film. His goal is to make a film based on a what-if scenario.
“I have a good sense of self. If I were brutalized and assaulted like that I would come forward and say so. I would still be Jason Barnes,” he said.
But that is what the film’s creator would do. Unlike Barnes, the main character in Unreported, Justin Lake, is raped by men while unconscious and wakes up in a hotel room next to a dead woman. Lake goes through extreme measures to hide his brutalization because he is ashamed and embarrassed and does not want to live with what he considers a stigma. His efforts draw him into a dark place in the film.
Barnes said the R-rated film will have a male rape scene. The film got its restricted rating due to depicted violence.
“Rape is about power and control, not sex,” Barnes said, adding that his target demographic is women 41-45 years of age. He hopes those women will drag their boyfriends out to see the film.
“The male rape scene will be graphic and you will be squirming in your seat. You might look away,” Barnes said.
He hopes the film will stimulate conversation about a touchy and sensitive issue so that maybe a healing will occur.
“Even if (a male moviegoer) were brutalized, he still should be able to say, ‘I’m a man,'” Barnes said.
Source: The Chronicle U.S.A.