The maxim in Hollywood is that you can do anything that you put your mind to. That’s what Robbie Amell is striving for with his latest project Code 8, a feature film he and his cousin Stephen are crowd-funding through Indiegogo. Fans have just 72 hours left to get on board with the bold new story, and LA Fan Cultures Examiner spoke to Robbie about the campaign and how he’s hoping to turn Code 8 from short film into full-blown feature adventure.
For Robbie the project is a chance to realize a couple of long-standing dreams. “Stephen and I wanted to work together for a long time, and [director-producer] Jeff [Chan] and I have wanted to work together,” he told us. “Jeff and I talked about doing a movie and I couldn’t do it with him because of date conflicts. And then Stephen and I got a taste of it on Arrow and Flash. We were sitting around and just brainstorming some ideas and we figured if we won’t take a chance on ourselves, why expect anyone else to?
“Jeff and [writer-producer] Chris Pare got together and started putting together some ideas, and they fired them by Stephen and I and we picked one and started to run with it,” he continued, walking us through the timeline of the original short. “Then we lost Stephen because of Ninja Turtles but we had to move forward anyway because of his shooting schedule…We decided to just make something that we knew we could prove to people that it would be cool and something they would want to be a part of and we set out to make Code 8.”
The group self-financed the original short and they’ll be continuing to put their own money into the feature, but they wanted to go directly to the fans and avoid potential studio red tape, thus the idea for crowd-funding via the Indiegogo campaign. “We wanted to make something and it takes a long time to go through the studio system,” Robbie explained. “It’s very difficult and you almost never maintain creative control of what you’re making.
“We had an idea for something and we wanted to do it a certain way,” he continued, “and we didn’t want to raise the entire budget from crowd-funding – I don’t think that would be fair – but we wanted enough to give us the opportunity to maintain control and make the project we wanted to make.”
It’s not just about raising money with Code 8, which separates it from other celebrity-backed crowd-funding projects. Robbie, Stephen and their colleagues are really striving to give their fans both a financial and emotional stake in the film and bring them into the process of getting it made, because Robbie and Stephen pride themselves on that connection in everything they do.
“We spend a lot of time with our fans. We go to these conventions and hang out with them. We get to know what they like and dislike and we’ve both learned a lot over the past few years,” Robbie said. “Jeff has a incredible direction as a director, very talented. Chris is a very talented writer. We’ve got a incredible visual effects company. We’re calling in favors so we can make something bigger than we should be able to.
“Fans can expect to be a part of something they will be proud to be a part of,” he declared. “We don’t want to give away much story-wise because it would be kind of bad to spoil things before we start making it. It’ll be grounded, it’ll feel real. We’re not setting out to make X-Men.”
They already have an impressive roster of people on board, including Sung Kang (Han Lue from the Fast & Furious franchise) as the police officer who gets into a confrontation with Robbie’s super-powered character in this world where four percent of the population have special abilities but instead of being heroes, are often struggling to get by. How did this group of people come together?
“We’ve got family and friends,” Robbie said. “Then Sung Kang, Jeff and I were both huge fans of his and luckily we had a connection in Jeff so we put together a package and sent it out to him and crossed our fingers. He read it, he enjoyed it, he said let’s take a meeting. So he and Jeff had dinner followed by meeting up with me to have a drink…Next morning he shot an email over and said cool, let’s make this short film. Few weeks later we were on set. I’m very lucky that I’m friends with some very talented people.”
If Code 8 is a success – and all signs point to it reaching that goal as it’s already well exceeded the original expectations for the Indiegogo campaign – he told us that he’d love to see this be the first flick of several he gets to create with this cast and crew.
“Ideally, this would be the first of a trilogy or maybe the first of movies we make with the same group of people,” he continued. “You see it more in comedy and the Seth Rogen camp, where you see all these guys making these amazing comedies. The same group of people making hit after hit. Our goal would be to make this first one as good as we plan on it being, and then we make another one.”
Aside from the short film Robbie has been busy, appearing as a Mulder-like FBI agent on the recent revival of The X-Files (as pictured above) and shooting the feature films Nine Lives and The Babysitter. Fans will have plenty of opportunities to see him in new projects this year. But his most important role is now as a content creator, being one of the fresh and proactive voices that represent the best there is about the entertainment world.
People like Robbie and projects like Code 8 play an important part in show business. So many people complain about recycled ideas and familiar faces, but we often overlook things like this, where people are working very hard for no other reason than that they love what they do and want to make something happen. We need more artists that are fueled by passion rather than production, and who have the courage and dedication to see their dreams through. And it’s a fantastic thing that Robbie and his team are sharing this dream with the fans, because they know it’s the fans that ultimately will be there at the end.
“We’ve been working on this for a while and wanted to make the perks worthwhile to the fans,” Robbie concluded, “and we just know we can make something special. It’s really exciting and we’re really grateful to everyone that contributed.”
For more information on Code 8 and to make your pledge today, visit Indiegogo.