What Is It?

Title: Stark Raving Naked
Genre: Comedy
Rating: R
Shooting Schedule: 25 days
Budget: 250k
Production Co: Quixotic Arts, LLC, Atlanta, GA
Producers: Jeff Thelen, Joshua Berwald, Anthony Abbott
Writer/Director: Jeff Thelen

What's It About?

A middle-aged womanizing fashion photographer visits a psychiatrist and falls in love with one of her patients - a damaged young woman who suffers from debilitating sexual frigidity. A screwball romance in the vein of "Annie Hall" and earlier, funnier Woody Allen films.

Want the full scoop? Drop us a line at jeff@QuixoticArts.com and we'll send you a synopsis and the complete, unexpurgated script - no strings attached!

What's it going to cost?


But isn't it impossible to make a movie for less than $50 million?

True, the average production cost of a studio feature film in 2017 is between 20 and 50 million dollars. Generally speaking, for films without expensive special effects or stunts, the lion's share of such high budgets go to the stars or name directors or the producers. The technical costs of a typical Hollywood film production ("below the line costs") are often much less than the "above the line" costs.

Low-budget films are often made for a fraction of Hollywood studio films, without sacrificing technical quality. This is especially true today in the age of digital filmmaking. In the absence of expensive stars, low-budget films must rely instead on a strong story, interesting characters, and a unique vision to attract audiences. Professional actors will sign up to be in low-budget films because the story or a particular role is more interesting or challenging than those in Hollywood productions. Or because they are offered a significant percentage of the net profits.

Similarly, the low-budget director and producer's main focus is usually in making a high-quality unique film, filling a niche that Hollywood productions cannot or will not address, and they will often sacrifice up-front salaries for a percentage return on the backend.

In short, a low-budget film is a labor of love. And it can certainly be done. In 2016, we produced "Panopticon," a feature-length sci-fi film which looks as good as many Hollywood big-budget pictures, for the impossible sum of $5,000. It only requires hard work, commitment, and some talent.

This will be the case with "Stark Raving Naked." Written specifically for low-budget (i.e., no expensive special effects, a handful of affordable locations), most of the costs in the budget are below the line (for crew, equipment, post-production, and pizza).

We have estimated a production budget of $250,000. The estimate is available upon request.

What's The Deal?

Investors in "Stark Raving Naked" will share 50% of all net profits. "Shares" are offered in $25,000 blocks. 10 "Shares" are available, totalling to 250k. Thus, each 25k investment will receive 5% of all net profits.

As a further incentative, investors will receive the first dollars returned from any net profits; that is, investors receive net profits before any other profit distributions are made until the investors are paid back their initial investments in full.
Anyone who invests 30% or more of the target budget (i.e., 3 investment shares or 75k total) will receive the title of Executive Producer and be credited as such, if desired.
Note. This is not a legal binding agreement. This is a proposal for those interested in investing in "Stark Raving Naked." For full details, please drop us a line at Quixotic Arts.

What's It Like?

The success of any film depends on a variety of factors: actors, script, marketing, audience tastes, etc. Absolutely no one can predict which movie will succeed or fail at the box-office, although Hollywood producers will try to hedge their bets with expensive stars and exorbitant marketing campaigns.

In recent years, Hollywood studios have abandoned the lucrative "rom-com" genre. The reasons are many. For one perspective see 2014's "Who Killed the Romantic Comedy?"

We like to view Hollywood's getting out of the rom-com business not as a problem so much as an opportunity for low-budget independent film: after all, people are still people, and people still fall in love, and there's no reason to think they still aren't interested in comedies about the pitfalls of romance, as they have since the beginnings of cinema.

"Bold changes come from vacuums. We're seeing it happen now. If the major studios won't make romantic comedies, independent companies will. Ultra-low-budget indies like this year's The Right Kind of Wrong, Better Living Through Chemistry and Somebody Marry Barry are inverting the How Do You Know model and figuring out a new way to make the genre profitable."
"Who Killed the Romantic Comedy?"

Although "Stark Raving Naked" doesn't exactly fit the classical rom-com model, it is nevertheless, in the end, a comedy that affirms traditional concepts of love, romance, and marriage.

By way of comparison, here are a few relatively recent films similar in subject, tone, and/or spirit to "Stark Raving Naked." The following films are listed only as samples of how some romantic-comedies performed in the past; under no circumstances do they represent any measure of how this or any other film will perform at the box office. Budgets and Box Office figures are culled from online sources at Wikipedia, Box Office Mojo, and The Numbers. Figures are unadjusted for inflation.

  • "Annie Hall" (1977). Budget: 4m, Box Office: 38m. The touchstone of modern romantic comedies. Similarities: smart, savvy, disjointed, non-linear, chaotic love story. Dissimilarities: Woody Allen and Diane Keaton were stars at the time.
  • "Moonstruck" (1987). Budget: 15m, Box Office: 91m. Similarities: a rom-com with wit, intelligence, and irony. Dissimilarities: A major star in Cher.
  • "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" (1988). Budget: 700k, Box Office: 17m. A Spanish film with no actors familiar to American audiences. Not your typical rom-com. Similarities: the anxious pacing, nervous tone, and surreal humor.
  • "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" (2002). Budget: 5m, Box Office: 368m. The box office benchmark for independent romantic comedies. Similarities: A low budget romantic comedy without stars and a very small scope. Dissimilarities: Tom Hanks and his wife helped produce and get it to market.
  • "(500) Days of Summer" (2009). Budget: 7.5m, Box Office: 60m. Similarities: A more recent entry that attempts to recreate "Annie Hall" for a new generation. At the time of release, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Daschanel were not "bankable" stars.
  • "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past" (2009). Budget: 37.5m, Box Office: 102.2m. A very typical rom-com. Similarities: A romantic comedy with a womanizing photographer who finds his true love. Dissimilarities: McConaughey and Garner were rom-com stars at the time and their presence helped the Box Office of this otherwise middling comedy.
  • How Do You Know" (2010). Budget: 120m, Box Office: 48.7m. Similarities: A romantic comedy. Dissimilarities: 120 million dollar budget and huge stars. Comment: A good example of how no one knows what will work in the movie business. Despite the star-wattage of Jack Nicholson, Owen Wilson, and Reese Witherspoon, and with James L. Brookes at the helm, this simple, small rom-com lost a ton of money.
  • "Silver Linings Playbook" (2012). Budget: 21m, Box Office: 236m. Similarities: a small romance with characters coping with psychological problems. Dissimilarities: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Laurence, and De Niro were name stars at the time of release.
  • "The First Time" (2012). Budget: 2m, Box Office: 92k. Similarities: A low-budget romantic sex comedy without stars. Comment: We have not viewed this. It is included to illustrate how poorly some films can perform.
  • "Don Jon" (2013). Budget: 3-5.5m, Box Office: 41.3m. Similarities: About a womanizing "Don Juan" character with a very active sex life. Dissimilarities: The star-power of Gordon-Levitt and Scarlett Johansson helped propel the Box Office for this low budget picture.
  • "She's Funny that Way" (2014). Budget: 6m, Box Office: 4.9m. Similarities: a screwball ensemble romance with a female psychiatrist as a main character. Dissimilarities: Despite the star-power of Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston and director Peter Bogdanovich, audiences stayed away.

Who are we?

Jeff Thelen. Award-winning oil painter, screenwriter, filmmaker. In 2016, with Joshua Berwald, Jeff wrote, directed, and produced "Panopticon," a feature-length sci-fi film made for the impossibly small sum of $5,000. In order to see the film through to completion, Jeff had to play many roles in addition to producing and directing, including editing, doing the CGI special effects, and composing the score. Jeff plans to play all those roles again for "Stark Raving Naked." Jeff lives in Dunwoody, Georgia, with his family.

Joshua Berwald. Actor, producer, writer, filmmaker. In 2016, Joshua starred in and helped produce the no-budget sci-fi film "Panopticon" with Jeff Thelen. Due to the non-existent budget, the film took over a year to photograph, on weekends and spare-change. It took tenacity and dedication to see the project through to completion. A producing partner at Quixotic Arts, Joshua will serve as full producer and casting director for "Stark Raving Naked." Joshua lives in Atlanta.

Anthony Abbott. Musician, artist, writer, filmmaker. In addition to making his own films and music videos, Anthony worked as writer and assistant director on the horror film Apollyon. Anthony also helped write the music for "Panopticon." On "Stark Raving Naked," he will play a key role as associate producer and creative partner. A London native, Anthony lives in Sandy Springs, Georgia, with his wife and two boys.

Pitch Teaser

With Jayson W. Smith and Kiley Casciano

Stark Raving Naked - Pitch Teaser from QuixoticArts on Vimeo.