Joe Donahue of Jacksonville is pursuing a project he hopes could boost the local economy. He has written a script for a television pilot of a show called “The Chameleon Stone Chronicles.”
If Donohue and his team receive the necessary funding, they will film a trailer in Jacksonville and the surrounding areas. He has recruited an actor from “The Walking Dead” to help with the trailer.
Donahue believes the creation of the show could have an effect on the local economy similar to the way “The Walking Dead” boosted Senoia, Ga., into becoming the richest city in Georgia.
What is your professional background? I have my bachelor’s degree in computer science from Jacksonville State University. I am currently working as a software developer for Southern Linc, which is part of the Southern Company umbrella.
How did your project begin? At least once or twice a year, I will try to do some kind of creative project. A year ago, I wrote a television pilot script. I worked with several different script coverage groups to get it cleaned up, including one group out of Atlanta.
What is the plot of “The Chameleon Stone Chronicles”? I call it “Game of Thrones” in a modern-day setting, but that is a crude comparison. The whole premise is that back in ancient times there were families that learned to tap into magic, and they learned to do it through stones of power. Each family specialized in a specific kind of magic: fire, ice and so forth. One family’s stone does not have one school of magic but has the potential to absorb from the other stones and have all of the powers.
How did you meet the actor from ‘The Walking Dead’? I am a big fan of “The Walking Dead” and I follow on Twitter one of the actors who was on the show, Jayson Warner Smith. I saw that he was going to be doing a play, and he had his own campaign to raise money for the play. I donated some money to his play because it sounded cool, and as part of the reward for the donation, I got to attend a dress rehearsal and opening night of the play. On opening night, I decided to ask him to read my script, and I knew he would probably say no. He agreed, and it blew me away! I kept in touch with him and an actress from the play, Heather Rule.
What was the next step? A few months ago, I became serious about wanting to do something with this script, so I reached out to Jayson and Heather. I know I cannot get the money to film the whole pilot script, because that would be a 45-minute pilot and a ridiculous amount of money. But I thought I might be able to get enough money to film a 10- to 15-minute trailer. I explained it to Jayson and Heather and asked if they wanted to be a part of it. At first he was a little tentative “because I have no background in film” — which is perfectly fair because I have no background in film (laughs). But he said that he could tell I was passionate about this project, and if I put together a team that does have a background in film then he might be interested.
How did you put together a film team? I approached Longleaf Studios in Jacksonville and explained what I was trying to do and that I was almost fairly certain that I could get Jayson Warner Smith on board if I get this team. Longleaf Studios got onboard, and Phillip Noble — who used to live in the area and now does filming over in Atlanta — developed this amazing team. I went back to Jayson, and he is on board, as well as Heather Rule.
What happens next? Now, I just need what will probably end up being the hardest part: the money. Although getting an actor who was on “The Walking Dead” should have been the hardest part (laughs). Once we get the funding, everything is in place to make the project happen.
How much funding do you need? $50,000, and it is all going to the project, not to me. I created a campaign at indiegogo.com (search for “Chameleon Stone Chronicles Pilot Trailer”), and I am also approaching local businesses.
Faith Dorn is a freelance writer with the Anniston Star. Contact her at email@example.com.