Need a new, not-so-scary way to get your horror feature funded but in a frightening spot? Luckily, Thomas Verdi (Founder of The Film Fund) is here to save you from the beast of low funds.

Verdi's new AI-powered horror film development program Unknown Nightmare has a simple business model:

Submit a film pitch. Gain Equity. Produce a film.

The ultimate goal is to discover new screenwriters as well as find funding for their films, rather than staying within secular stages of the filmmaking process.

How Does Unknown Nightmare Work? 

Still from “Americano,” a thriller produced by The Film Fund

Unknown Nightmare

In a nutshell, Unknown Nightmare's goal is to equity crowdfund $250,000 from industry investor and producers who will submit a pitch package for an original horror film.

Unknown Nightmare uses patent-pending software called ProducerScore, written by The Film Fund founder Thomas Verdi, to project potential box-office revenue scores for submitted screenplays based on real-world, historical horror film box office data.

The AI angle? The software is trained on previously-produced screenplays and correlates submitted horror screenplays with real-world, historical box office performance. Essentially, aggregating date from box office numbers and seeing how scripts submitted to Unknown Nightmare compare on paper.

From there, ProducerScore software uses this trained AI model to analyze new horror screenplays and project box office revenues for each original horror screenplay submitted by interested investors and producers.

According to Verdi, the beauty of ProducerScore is that it can do this screenplay analysis in bulk, in a matter of minutes, and then rank the screenplays quickly and efficiently.

Finally, the ten screenplays with the highest-projected box office revenues will be pitched to horror distribution companies, and Unknown Nightmare will work with the distributor to select a film package to produce. Their goal is to raise enough funding to produce one film, but if a distributor wants to produce more, or if they are able to raise more money, ideally they will option the top ten screenplays.

Explaining the Film Fund: From Shorts to Features 

Still from “Freelance,” a horror film produced by The Film Fund

Unknown Nightmare

Verdi’s first company, The Film Fund, operates via a simple contest format: entrants write and submit one sentence pitching their short film along with a small entry fee for a chance to receive up to $10,000 in funding to help produce their short film. The prize funding comes from the entry fees submitted by the filmmakers with their pitches.

With Unknown Nightmare, The Film Fund’s existing community can finally get involved in feature film funding and development and gain real equity by doing so, not just enter a contest for a chance to get funding for a short film. The Film Fund will continue to operate with its same model for short films, but there’s a bigger market available for feature films. Filmmakers can get a real return on their investment when they submit a feature film package with Unknown Nightmare.

What about that Scary-Sounding AI Program ProducerScore?

Still from “The Toms,” a black comedy with horror influence produced by the founder of The Film Fund, Thomas Verdi

Unknown Nightmare

As the film community, AI scares us.

Unknown Nightmare promises that ProducerScore does not use AI to replace writers, directors, or producers, and the software does not generate screenplays.

What this ProducerScore software allows Unknown Nightmare to do is slim the number of screenplays read for easier selecting, trained on an extensive dataset of real horror screenplays that have been produced and released as theatrically-screened feature films. With this strategy, Unknown Nightmare can narrow a large stack of screenplays it will receive to the top-performing ones as evaluated by the software.

But What If I Submit and I Don't Get Selected?

Still from “Night Work,” a horror film produced by The Film Fund

Unknown Nightmare

If you submit a package and it’s not selected to be produced, you still have equity in the film that does get produced.

Unknown Nightmare is an innovative investment production strategy, not a contest-based model like The Film Fund. If you're still interested in The Film Fund's shorts-based contest model it will very much still be active, but Unknown Nightmare is distinguishing itself with features so that filmmakers submitting have a more equity.

With features, the more skin in the game, the better.

Unknown Nightmare Pitch

Help fund Unknown Nightmare here with Wefunder.