Posted: May 28, 2013, 5:40 p.m. EDT
© Courtesy Alison Parker
The Magic Ferret is based on the award-winning screenplay The Great Sambini.
Filmmaker Alison Parker continues her campaign of goodwill toward ferrets with a third movie featuring these fun-loving, curious pets. At least she hopes to continue it. Whether or not the third movie gets made depends on fan support through crowd-funding via IndieGoGo.
The Magic Ferret is a short film that focuses on adoption.
"Basically a 6-year-old boy named Sam lives in an orphanage and can't figure out why no one will adopt him,” Parker said. "He has a pet ferret named Booger, and whenever potential parents come to meet him, he transforms himself into the magician ‘The Great Sambini,’ with Booger as his assistant, and puts on a magic show in hopes of impressing them. When the magic shows don't go as planned, Sam assumes this is why he hasn't been chosen yet. It's really about a boy and a ferret that are both looking for a forever home.”
Actor Jacob Tremblay will play the part of Sam. Tremblay has already played parts in two TV series and is in the upcoming movie The Smurfs 2. Booger the ferret will be played by Falcor, Parker’s own ferret who also starred in several of her previous works, including the movie Jake & Jasper: A Ferret Tale, the trailers for her second ferret movie,The Ferret Squad, and several commercials. Parker hopes to finalize casting of Sam’s social worker and a couple who might be Sam’s potential parents soon.
© Courtesy Alison Parker
Alison Parker's ferret Falcor, who is getting quite famous, is taking on all ferret duties for the film.
So far, getting The Magic Ferret going has been a bit of a whirlwind. Parker only put out word that she was looking for a script a little more than a month ago on April 23. She said writers Scott and Paula Merrow sent her their award-winning, short screenplay titled The Great Sambini.
"They sent it to me and told me the supporting character of Conrad the rabbit could easily be changed to a ferret if I wanted,” Parker said. "So we changed the rabbit to a ferret, which I think makes the character of Sam even more endearing, and I named him Booger. Not much else is changed, besides a few of the character's names.” The final script was ready within a week.
"Things have happened very quickly with this film,” Parker said. "I am constantly saying that everything is falling into place. I believe that happens when it's meant to be.”
Parker is counting on the funding to fall into place too, more quickly and with more certainty than any of her previous crowd-funding efforts.
"I usually do 45 days on average, but for this one I decided if I can't raise $10,000 within 32 days, then I probably can't do it within 45 either,” she said. "And this campaign is different from my previous ones in that it's an 'all-or-nothing' campaign. If we don't reach our goal, all the funders get refunded and I get nothing and the film won't get made. I believe that with that sense of urgency, and the shorter time frame to do it in combined, we'll make it happen.”
The $10,000 goal is a minimum, and Parker hopes to meet the stretch goal of $15,000, which would make the task easier.
"I know we can do it for $10,000 but not less,” she said. "That's why it's an all-or-nothing campaign. I'm not going to bother trying to make this for 5 grand or 7 grand or something. It's $10,000 or bust.”
Funds raised can be tracked on the IndieGoGo page for The Magic Ferret. The deadline for raising funds is June 22, 2013.
If all goes well, filming of The Magic Ferret will happen in July or early August, with a release date in fall 2013. Parker plans to have it available as a DVD, digital download and enter it in film festivals.
"The Magic Ferret is a seven-page script, so this should translate to about seven or eight minutes on screen,” Parker said. "I know some fans are going to freak out about that. The only complaint I ever received about Jake & Jasper was that it was too short, 20 minutes; but it was a real problem when submitting to film festivals. Most festivals don't want shorts over 10 to 15 minutes. So although we did well, we missed out on a lot of exposure and potential awards too simply because it was long for a short. That's why I insisted my next short be no more than 10 pages. It makes it easier to shoot, also. This will be a two-day shoot, which is nice, because many of the crew have day jobs, so this is something we can do on a weekend.”
This is the third film Parker has created that prominently features ferrets, and she said she’s learned a lot that she can apply. Making it shorter is one lesson, and assembling her crew sooner is another.
"I'm better prepared, I'm more experienced as a director, and I know exactly what the fans want,” Parker added. "I believe this film, The Magic Ferret, is going to give them everything they want in a ferret movie, while at the same time being something that can help me with my film career, too.”
For fans who might be wondering what’s happening with Parker’s second ferret movie, The Ferret Squad, which has a script and a trailer but is not completed yet, Parker could only say that the full movie will be made. She hopes that fans and funders will be patient. "It's coming," she said, "and when it happens, it's going to be insanely huge!”
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