A Dubuque Resident is Funding and Filming a New Horror Movie
From the moment I saw the poster for a horror movie called Are You Dead Yet? on display at Phoenix Theaters, I was intrigued. It's not often you see a poster claiming the film is "NOW IN PRODUCTION" (as opposed to "COMING SOON") while bearing a QR code. I couldn't scan it fast enough to find out more.
As it turns out, Are You Dead Yet? is a product of Dubuque, IA. Written and directed by Dyersville native Jayme Schmitt, the film has an Indiegogo page where people can donate and help the film see the light of day. As of now, the film is about halfway complete. Schmitt and his loyal producers are seeking $5,000 to finish it, screen it at horror conventions, and release it formally on DVD and streaming.
Those are lofty ambitions, some would say, but just a few minutes into my phone call with Jayme Schmitt, I knew he was serious. Filmmaking is no joke, and Schmitt couldn't be more grateful for all the support and love him, his cast, and this project have received so far.
Schmitt was kind enough to call and chat with me about his passion project. It didn't take very long to realize that we're two sides of the same coin. We're both unabashedly obsessed with all things movies, and Schmitt's passion for old school horror movies was evident from the beginning of our discussion:
To give you an idea of [Are You Dead Yet?], I personally remember having found memories of [....] walking into the video rental store [....] I was thinking about titles like I Know What You Did Last Summer [....] It's so eerie, you love it, it's creepy. I was trying to think of something that would recall that 80s vibe [....] It's definitely an homage to that classic 80s vibe of the video rental store.
Are You Dead Yet? is not some multimillion dollar horror movie. This is a movie made by a group of friends working on a volunteer basis. As a result, the timetable for completion is rather loose. It's dependent on funding, of course, but it's also dependent on people's schedules, as everyone involved has jobs and other commitments. This is as grassroots of an indie film as you can get.
Schmitt understands that crowdfunding, or donating in general, isn't everyone's bag. Money is tight for all of us, and there are bills to pay. He's not demanding anyone contribute. However, he does have a message for those who are the least bit interested in a horror movie made right here in Dubuque:
There is no demand nor pressure to feel like you have to contribute. What I ask instead is you help me get the word out about this. [....] Share it on Facebook [or maybe send it to] a friend that just loves horror movies and [is potentially interested in investing]. It's all about getting the word out. The more eyes that are on this, the better chance we have at succeeding.