HOOVER, Ala. – Now that Chris Conley's impressive “Star Wars” film has become Internet gold, Georgia’s senior receiver is moving on to his next film project. This time, the director/writer/actor is taking his talents to the superhero ranks.
Sporting Batman socks during last week’s SEC media days, Conley said he has an original script in the works and plans to start shooting a trailer for his Kickstarter within in the next two weeks. He hopes to officially start shooting his next film toward the end of the year, when things start to die down some in his football life.
What makes this project even more exciting for Conley is the fact he’ll actually get outside funding for this project. His “Retribution” film came completely out of pocket, with Conley spending around $650 himself, but after getting a waiver from the NCAA, Conley and his production crew will be able to raise money to help cover a much bigger budget for a film that Conley hopes will surpass his 26-minute mini blockbuster.
“It’s not cheap to make films and this next project I’ll be working with local filmmakers from Athens and Atlanta; some from L.A.,” Conley said at SEC media days. “It’ll be a pretty big budget.”
How big Conley isn’t sure, but this film isn’t for amateurs. Conley wants his superhero flick to reach full-length movie status. This is no college project. This is an actual movie with professional actors so it needs a professional budget that goes beyond what he and his friends could provide from their own pockets.
Getting the funds meant Conley needed to face the NCAA and plead his case for why he deserved a waiver to raise money and not violate any rules in the process.
Conley said there was some apprehension on the NCAA’s part at first, but that after he thoroughly explained his plan, the NCAA decided his venture was worth some outside funding.
“None of this money is going toward me,” Conley said. “All of it is going to be used to fund the film -- fund locations, food, cameras, equipment and everything that’s necessary to make a film work. I think the fact that they didn’t really know what we were doing made them kind of nervous. Obviously, you initially react by saying, ‘No, you can’t do this.’ I think people need to realize we’re not four guys running around with a GoPro. This is an actual film crew and we’re actually making films. When people realized that and realized what we were doing, they kind of relaxed a little bit.”
So Conley can raise money for his film, but he isn’t sure if he can profit off it after it makes its debut. With a longer film (possibly 90 minutes this time), Conley can try to air it on TV or make a deal with a distributor and sell it as a DVD domestically or internationally. Whether the NCAA will allow him to do that is a mystery.
“The fact that they haven’t really dealt with that situation before is what makes it difficult,” Conley said. “I’ll have to get them to answer that question when the time comes.”
Conley will be diving deeper into this project in the coming months. Again he’ll be managing his time -- and cutting down on his sleep -- to juggle football, school, some sort of social life and shooting a movie. With the goal for this one to be longer, Conley will have even less time to himself, but he doesn’t care. He loves it. He loves making movies and he loves playing football.
Conley has a chance to really impress on the field for the Bulldogs this fall, but he also has another chance to show off his talents away from the gridiron, something he hopes to see other athletes strive to do as well.
“It just lets you know that you can do both, you can be good at something other than your sport,” he said. “That’s what a lot of people need to realize is that football players have other talents and they have other desires and other things they are interested in, and you can pursue those things.
“Sometimes you might not have as much time as a student, but you have to find a way.”