How the Trailer Park Boys are drawing a crowd to fund their next film

Director Bill Marks tells Playback Daily about harnessing the power of the web to attract production financing and a fan following for Race Dicks.
trailer park boys

Film producers Gary Howsam and Bill Marks have just launched a crowd-sourcing drive online to help finance Race Dicks, an upcoming theatrical comedy that stars the former Trailer Park Boys (TPB) stars Robb Wells, John Paul Tremblay and Mike Smith looking to become race car drivers.

The Canadian indie, which already has development financing from Telefilm Canada and The Harold Greenberg Fund, is targeting a 2013 release.

But even as Bubbles, Ricky and Julian – okay, they’re not called that anymore – crowd-finance online to buttress traditional funding, the cameras are already rolling on Race Dicks.

In fact, Bill Marks, who will also direct the comedy, has been capturing footage of the TPB trio since summer 2011, including when they got kicked out of the Newfoundland industry party at the Toronto International Film Festival.

And the cameras rolled at a recent Walmart company barbecue, where the Boys were treated royally.

As Marks explains, the filming, the crowd-sourcing, it’s all one of a piece to court the legions of TPB fans, to alert them early on to Race Dicks and to make them early fans and evangelists of the project.

“In many ways, the way we raise the money helps us to tell the story of the movie, in a way that goes beyond a traditional financing model and finds new ways of going about it,” Marks tells Playback Daily.

The goal is involving the Boys’ Canadian and global fans in the ongoing creation of the film, and not just in its eventual theatrical rollout in 2013.

“The opportunity with Race Dicks is to involve the fans of the boys from day one, before there’s really a screenplay and a camera shot and a film crew and a million trailers,” Marks says.

The crowd-sourcing online includes incentives to participate, like a $500 donation to get someone’s name spoken in the movie, or a $7500 donation to secure a possible walk-on role in Race Dicks.

Perks for angel investors like that couldn’t happen if the film was already in the can and a distributor then set out to find the Boys’ fans as an audience in any one market.

“We’re going to show up at the theatre and our fans will have participated in the film for a year,” Marks predicts, if all goes to plan.

Principal photography this year will take place in and around Toronto, including at Mosport speedway, in Halifax, Nova Scotia and several areas of Newfoundland.

Marks adds the camera footage that has been captured documentary-style may or may not make it into the movie.

The idea is to give a scripted Race Dicks an unscripted feel that fans of the TPB expect of their films and TV shows.

The indie picture features Wells, Tremblay and Smith as they hone their car racing skills to compete in a world famous car race in Newfoundland.

Along the way, the trio creatively raise money on screen to fund the TV network SwearNet.

Howsam and Marks most recently worked together on The Truth, starring Andy Garcia, Kim Coates, Deborah Kara Unger, Eva Longoria and Forest Whitaker, which was directed by Damian Lee.

And before that, they collaborated on Casino Jack, which starred Kevin Spacey, and was directed by the late George Hickenlooper.

As for the film’s financing, Marks cites the box office success of the TPB’s two earlier movies, which has their traditional backers on board for Race Dicks.

“When you’re working with the stars of two number one box office films in Canada, everyone wants to be involved in their next success,” he says of the hybrid financing for the film that include traditional Canadian sources like Telefilm and crowdsourcing.

“The distributors, the funding agencies and exhibitors, all have said they want to be involved in the film,” Marks adds.