The following is from the Houston Chronicle:
Movies may be the stuff dreams are made of, but a pair of successful Woodlands entrepreneurs have created a business model for a Hollywood venture they are confident will prove to be entertaining and profitable.
Joe Newcomb and Tony Notargiacomo, founding partners in Truth Entertainment, are actively involved in principle photography for “The Dallas Buyers Club,” a feature film starring acting heavyweights Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner.
“It’s a great story set in Texas with a huge star, also from Texas,” Newcomb said. “And the project fits our business profile. It adds up as a winner for all concerned.”
Newcomb, who gained prominence in the oil, gas and chemical trading industries, and startup specialist Notargiacomo are approaching the entertainment industry with their eyes wide open and their feet firmly on the ground.
“A lot of people get involved in the movies to stroke their ego or help a friend or relative get started in show business,” Newcomb said. “That’s a good way to lose a lot of money – we take a different approach.”
The strategy is to pick a script and production team that you believe in. Next is an honest assessment of the cost to bring the story to life on the screen.
Finally, it is to negotiate domestic and foreign distribution, merchandising and other revenue streams.
“We need to know we’re in the clear on the project before the first frame is shot,” Notargiacomo said. “We enjoy being involved in creative projects with great stars, but we are not in this to lose money from our pockets or the investors that we work with.”
Through a series of friends and business acquaintances, Newcomb ended up at actor Charlie Sheen’s house talking about “Major League 3.” While that project was not finalized, Newcomb and Notargiacomo learned about the “Dallas Buyers Club” project.
“Before the financial collapse in 2008, there were a lot of hedge funds and banks that would finance movies,” Newcomb said. “That’s not the case anymore.”
The entrepreneurs liked the script, the stars and projected budget of $5.6 million.
“There are a lot of great scripts the big studios can take on,” noted Natagiacomo. “With the right script, top actors, directors and producers are willing to be flexible. If everyone is willing to work together – taking a percentage of the profits instead of big, up-front salaries – we can make the project work financially.”
That’s the case with “Dallas Buyers Club,” a film that is getting a huge amount of publicity because its star, McConaughey, has lost a tremendous amount of weight for the role.
Set in the 1980s, McConaughey portrays Ron Woodruff, a rebellious bookie who is diagnosed with a new disease – HIV. Unable to qualify for the new experimental drug AZT, Woodruff discovers an unorthodox approach to treatment and begins trafficking his cure from Mexico, selling it to others in Dallas.
The action continues until Woodruff is embroiled in a massive lawsuit against the government over his right to treat himself to save his life and the lives of others.
Chicago White Sox star and former New Caney High School standout Adam Dunn will play bartender Neddie Jay in the movie.
“We’re filming through much of December in Louisiana,” Newcomb said. “They offer filmmakers a 30 percent tax credit – and that is a huge incentive for independent movie-makers.”
Newcomb would like to see Texas offer a better incentive to the film industry because so many independents are leaving Hollywood where expenses have escalated.
“Texas is an increasingly popular place for the creative community,” Notargiacomo said. “Everyone knows about Austin, but Houston and Dallas are becoming more respected venues for filmmakers.”
Newcomb and Notargiacomo expect “Dallas Buyers Club” to premiere mid- to late 2012. While reluctant to divulge other film projects, they have confirmed they are close to wrapping up arrangement for two more movies.
They also will be launching Truth Music, a division of the entertainment company, next year. The concept is to blend talented musicians and songwriters with their film projects – enabling a cross-marketing effort that is beneficial to all concerned and help ensure a marketing platform from which the company can move forward.
“Our goal is to create synergies where creative projects can support and cross-promote each other,” Newcomb said. “These are creative projects, but they need to be grounded in economic realities.”