Tag Archives: movies

Jenni Spiro’s empowering rock song ‘Hey You’ to close ‘Over the Line’

The moment I heard ‘Hey You,’ I knew this was the song that had to accompany the dramatic closing scene of our film! Its riveting message and driven performance combine with the final shot for the movie’s perfect ending.

Jenni Spiro has made quite the reputation for herself as a performer here in New Jersey as well as up and down the east coast. Her writing is powerful, and her guttural delivery is reminiscent of artists like Pat Benatar and Melissa Etheridge.

Regionally, Jenni has rocked out regularly with the popular Jersey band The Benjamins. She also performs solo and duo acoustic gigs along the east coast.

A native of Lake Hopatcong, NJ, Jenni was born into a musical family. Her father is the keyboard player/vocalist for The Nerds, and her mother is bassist and lead vocalist for several Jersey-based bands. Jenni’s talent was first chronicled at the age of three by a reporter who saw her singing pitch-perfect covers atop a milk crate. By the age of seven, she was writing songs. And by 15, she had already mastered the bass and acoustic guitar.

Jenni Spiro joins a talented New Jersey/New York cast and crew that includes director/producer Mathieu Abric, score composer Landon Knoblock, and actors Stacey Van Gorder,  Cronin Cullen and Saba.

A co-production with Cloudy Sky Films, “Over the Line” is a dark comedy about a woman facing a self-imposed judgment day with wit and irreverence.

The script for “Over the Line” has won numerous screenplay competitions. Currently in the final stages of post-production, the film will be seen at film festivals during the second half of 2018 and throughout 2019 as a prelude to distribution.

Listen now to Jenni Spiro’s “Hey You” at Reverb Nation.


Image caption:
Jenni Spiro’s song “Hey You” has been tapped to close the film “Over the Line,” currently in post-production.

Closing in on the completion of our second film!

We’re about a month away from a final cut of “Over the Line,” our second short film!

So much was learned during the making of these two movies…not only about the process, but also about what it’s like working with different partners, collaborators, actors and crew. It’s become so obvious that no two film projects will ever be alike, for better or worse! But that’s an entirely different blog entry to follow in a couple of weeks. Right now, I just want to catch everyone up on the status of film #2:

Since shooting was completed in March, “Over the Line” has been in a constant state of post production! As you may recall, we shot the film entirely on green screen. To date, here’s what’s been accomplished:

• A preliminary rough cut was assembled. This was quite a task, as we never had the entire cast on set at one time! Yet, under our director’s supervision, everything flows so smoothly!

• The green screen was then removed.

• The background was then shot separately.

• Another rough cut was then assembled with backgrounds in place.

• And a final rough cut was edited just last week.

Here’s what happens next:

• Landon Knoblock has signed on to compose the original score. He will sit down next week with me and co-producer Shari Spiro to “spot” the rough cut for music.

• Saba, our director and editor, will perform color correction, sound editing, ADR and sound mixing while Landon composes and records the score.

• Once these steps are completed, the score will be edited in, as will the credits and the closing song, written and performed by popular New Jersey rocker Jenni Spiro.

A more detailed post as described above will be published soon. In the meantime, please visit the film’s website at www.overtheline-movie.com for cast and crew info as well as a full gallery of shooting images.

P.S.–It’s come to my attention that I have not been receiving all of the emails sent through this site. I am in the process of troubleshooting the problem. In the meantime, if you have written and have not received a reply from me, contact me directly at RMMessinger@gmail.com with “WORD PRESS” in the message bar. Sorry for any inconvenience!

The journey continues! Cedric Hill named director and executive producer of ‘Dongmei’.


Not only is Plan B falling into place, it coming together at a feverish pace, thanks in large part to our new director and executive director, Cedric Hill. Cedric is a 15-year film veteran and an instructor at the New York Film Academy.

As I’ve noted in this blog, I’ve learned so much from the last two crowdfunding campaigns, but perhaps the biggest lesson gained is that maybe I’d tried to do too much too soon. Perhaps trying to do a feature film the first time around rather than something smaller was a bit ambitious. Before people are going to fork over $75,000, they probably want proof that I can do what I say I can do.

Just to recap a bit, I’ve decided to do just that…write and produce a short film. My Plan B.

My original idea was to do it on absolutely no budget, using my Canon EOS and editing it myself. That may have been scaling things back too much. After meeting Cedric and absorbing his feedback, I’ve decided to do this project on a micro-budget of $5000 this time around…quite a bit less than my original $75,000 goal, wouldn’t you say? Every participant is donating his or her time and talent in exchange for film credit. There will still be costs, however… primarily equipment rentals, minimal travel expenses, a few props, craft services, film festival fees, marketing and a few other miscellaneous expenses.

So yes, here I go again, asking friends, family, acquaintances and complete strangers to be a part of this project, which has already received great reviews from people in the industry. As I point out in my just-launched indiegogo campaign, thanks to all the new avenues of distribution, quality projects that never would have been made before are being enjoyed by millions! This is due in great part by artists whose compelling motivation is to create and get their works out into the world and by supporters who believe creative energy should never be wasted.
I also point out on the campaign page that participation in the project not only helps us make a better film, it also contributes to the overall health of the art community and places supporters among the growing list of new media pioneers.

So the journey continues! If you get a chance, check out our website.

Out of budgeting hell and ready to start my Kickstarter campaign!


It took a little longer than I’d expected, but I followed all of the steps proposed in my last blog entry, and I’ve come up with so much more than the solid budget I was hoping for! I now also have a truly knowledgeable, creative and dedicated team behind me and a carefully planned Kickstarter campaign ready to launch.

Networking does make all the difference, and I was absolutely right in my assumption that members of the independent filmmaking community are quick to share their experiences, wisdom and suggestions. By networking with fellow writers, filmmakers, editors, art directors, musicians and composers, not only have I worked my way out of budgeting hell, but I’ve also gained an even better understanding of the entire filmmaking process.

And like I said, I’ve also put together a team that shares my vision and dedication.

The greatest thing that has resulted from my research and networking has been my introduction to Randy Rossilli. Randy is an Emmy-winning producer and director who also happens to be the owner of a relatively new production studio virtually right down the road from me. Nightstand Studios in Fairfield, NJ, is equipped with just about everything needed to make a feature film…three sound stages, state-of-the-art editing facilities, a scoring stage and recording studio, animation capabilities and so much more.

Randy also runs Nightstand Music Group, which gives him access to a wealth of music and musicians.

Fortunately, Randy and I have formed a mutual appreciation of each other’s talents and visions, and we have teamed up to get this film made. I am confident that my association with his dedicated team will assure that my first feature will have the artistic and production quality of a film costing much more.

I’ve also spent the past few months learning all I can about the intricacies of a Kickstarter campaign (a topic, no doubt, for a future blog entry) and trying to build a network to support what we need to raise.

The campaign is just about ready to be submitted to Kickstarter for their approval, and if all goes well, it will launch in just a few days. I will post the campaign’s link on this blog as soon as we launch it, and I hope you look at it, consider supporting it, and, most importantly, recommend it to as many of your contacts as possible.

Special thanks to everyone who has given me input during this process!

Finally! I’m finding my way out of budgeting hell!



Okay, so I’ve decided to make a feature film. My script has been fine tuned. I’ve been on shoots in various capacities, so I have a good understanding of the process. I’ve taken literally hundreds of seminars on film making and distribution. I have a solid marketing background. I am chomping at the bit to get my Kickstarter campaign under way. There’s only one thing that’s been holding me up until now: trying to get a firm handle on how much this will cost!

I must admit that for a while I was concerned that I’d never make it through the budgeting process. But the more I talk to other writers who have launched their own projects, the more I see that budgeting hell is more common than it is atypical for independent film makers, especially new ones like me.

The biggest thing that has made the budgeting process especially puzzling is the huge disparity of budgets among independent films similar to my project. Of the six indies I’ve researched with scripts similar to mine in length, characters, locations, number of scenes and with the anticipated production values of my project, the reported budgets range from $15,000 to $2,500,000.

Not only is there a huge disparity among published budgets, but there is also a wide range of opinions as to how money should be spent. For example, one excellent Internet article posted by Lift-Off International Film Festivals (http://www.lift-off-festival.com/independent-film-budgets/) advises, “Forget about the equipment. If you are going to spend your money to make a picture, you need to spend it on people.” Still, other informative articles by equally successful film makers advocate seeking deferred payment agreements with cast and crew rather than skimp on equipment.

Time to take action!

Rather than pull out what’s left of my already thinning hair trying to figure out how to configure this budget, I have decided to calmly take the following steps:

1) Continue to build my network of fellow independent film makers using social media and networking events.

2) Take the time to prepare comprehensive scene breakdown sheets, including locations, interiors vs. exteriors, cast members, extras, wardrobe, props, vehicles, special effects, animals and music.  Doing this has given me a much better understanding of the costs I have to research.

3) Invest in budgeting software.  At first, it looked as though I was going to have to go through the script page-by-page to compile these breakdowns because, while there are some excellent, professional budgeting programs available, none was in my price range. But, through my expanding network, I discovered Chimpanzee from Jungle Software (Chimpanzee is the little brother of the more-expensive Gorilla budgeting software, and it is designed specifically for students and independent film makers). This relatively inexpensive software ($124, but sometimes on sale for as much as $50 off) has been a lifesaver and has given me a much better handle on the budgeting and scheduling process.

4) And the most constructive step I’ve taken so far…reach out to the independent film makers  in my growing network. For the most part, they have been exceptionally open and willing to share their own budgeting challenges, how they’ve overcome them, and to give me suggestions specific to my own project.

So, I am happy to announce that I am navigating the road out of budgeting hell, and although I expect I still may encounter a few roadblocks along the way, I hope to launch my Kickstarter campaign sometime during the upcoming holiday season!