Fred China talks Beetlejuice fan documentary, crowdfunding

Documentary for the Recently Deceased: The Making of Beetlejuice

Fred China has been busy over the past month with crowdfunding on Indiegogo for his documentary, Documentary for the Recently Deceased: The Making of Beetlejuice.  The campaign has seven days remaining and has raised only 37% of its $23,000 goal.

What’s your background and what qualifies you to make a documentary on Beetlejuice heading into next year’s 30th anniversary of the comedy classic?

Fred China:  I have always been a big fan of the movie and I had a website about the movie for years. This website was full of never seen before pictures, interviews and tour locations.. I closed it once I had the idea of making a documentary.  With years, I’ve been in touch with a lot of crew members who sent me pictures, videos, and told me behind-the-scene stories.  This documentary will be, as a fan, my love letter back to the film.

Do you think a film like Beetlejuice could be produced today and be just as successful?

Fred China:  I don’t think so because Beetlejuice is a film of its time–where people could make amazing movies without the help of CG.  The practical effects, the stop-motion, the puppets, the music and the ambiance in general, everything works fine and would be so much different if it was produced today.  Beetlejuice has this “magic” touch that only ’80s movies have.

Many independent filmmakers are turning to crowdfunding websites to get their projects financed. Without turning to crowdfunding, could this documentary be produced?

Fred China:  I will speak only for my project. We couldn’t do it without crowdfunding. This project is fan-made and we have no money to produce it, no bank or production companies to support us.  Since it’s an old movie, it’s pretty difficult to find funding outside the independent/fan circuit.

Crowdfunding is also very interesting in the way that fans are now aware of this project and they spread the word!

This is the first of two campaigns on the film. Why not try to raise all the money at once?

Fred China:  Because costs change on a documentary. By shooting a film like this, where we’re trying to peel layer after layer of story, we may find that there are different areas of the plot to discover, more people to meet, which will only make the movie better but that mean additional trips, flights, hotels, equipment rental etc…

Having a second campaign also allows us to come back and show our supporters what we’ve done with their initial donation and if they like what they see, we hope we’d have their continued support and for them to share the project with their friends as something with which they’re proud to be involved.

Any luck in trying to secure the likes of Michael Keaton or the other big names in the cast?

Fred China: Stay tuned!

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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