McKay, a senior telecommunications major, said he was hoping for a budget of $10,000. He began working on the film in May when he felt God was calling him to direct Christian films. He said some scenes for the film have come to him in a series of visions.
To gain support and funding for the film, McKay did presentations about the film at North Cleveland Church of God and Victory Hill Church in Carroll, Ohio.
“When you have this big a dream not a whole lot of people want to believe in you,” McKay said.
Through the support of people in churches where he presented his film proposal, McKay now has a budget of $20,000. McKay said this overwhelming support has been encouraging to him.
Mitchell Maloney, pastor of North Cleveland Church of God, said he gave McKay five minutes on a Sunday morning to present his idea.
“He did a great job sharing his vision,” Maloney said. “It was very well received.”
Both Maloney and Timothy Teague of Victory Hill Church had been pastors at Harvest Ministries in Farmington Hills, Mich., where McKay and his family attended services before coming to Cleveland.
After McKay had told Maloney about his call to make Christian movies, Maloney gave him some practical advice about sharing his idea with others.
“It was through these two pastors that I was able to do this film, basically,” McKay said.
“The Pocketwatch” takes place after the rapture of the church as outlined in Revelations.
“One of the main themes of the film is the passage of time,” McKay said. “When you talk about Revelations or the rapture of the church everyone wants to know when it’s going to happen.”
The film is about a group of young people trying to survive and figure out if God exists. Shooting for the film began on Aug. 9 in Michigan. However, the majority of the film will be shot in Cleveland. McKay said that the abandoned areas of Cleveland will be great for filming. McKay hopes to complete the film by June 2011.
McKay said when he started looking for people to help him he had to create momentum and get them excited.
“I had to convince a small amount of people that I knew what I was doing,” McKay said, commenting that he also had to present how this would be a good experience for students. There are 20 people (including 10 actors) working with McKay.
To find actors for his film, McKay held auditions at Lee. However, McKay said many of the actors have changed since the original casting. One student actor is Matthew Murr. Murr said that although he had done some camera work for other independent films, he had never acted in one. When filming started last Sunday in Michigan, he got an adrenaline rush.
“I started to realize that this is happening for real,” Murr said.
Murr said he is ready for the challenge of acting in an independent film while attending college.
Stephanie Alexandrou, a senior theater and telecommunications double major at Lee, is helping McKay with many of the technical aspects of the film.
“I’m creative ... but I’m more practical,” she said, noting that McKay is very artistic and sometimes needs to be reminded of the practical aspects of making a particular scene work.
Alexandrou said she helped with casting, organizing McKay’s ideas and developing the light design for the film. When she first heard about the film she thought that it sounded interesting from a production standpoint and knew she would enjoy being a part of it. She hopes she and McKay can learn from each other throughout this process. Her goal at this point is to “just bring Nate’s vision to the screen.”
McKay plans to promote the completed film at North Cleveland Church of God, Victory Hill Church and hopefully some churches in Michigan. McKay wants to make the film available online through Amazon.com and his website McKaybrosproductions.com. He also hopes to show the film at Lee.