Marty Shea - Co-creator of CollabFeature's new global web series "A Billion to One"

(Collab Feature) #1

Hi, I’m Marty Shea, co-creator of “A BILLION TO ONE” a dramatic web series, written & directed by filmmakers around the world, and set in over 25 countries. It debuted this week and is the third major project from CollabFeature, an award-winning global filmmaking collaboration, that I co-founded.

The idea behind CollabFeature is to unite talented creators to create bigger, more competitive films and series than we could make on our own, by pooling our resources, creativity and audiences. “A BILLION TO ONE” is our latest example of this. It cuts between multiple storylines around the world, following characters who are all being considered by a dying billionaire to be his heir, allowing for a diversity of stories, voices and cultures.

Besides running ColalbFeature, I’ve been working in the film industry as a producer, production manager, director and other positions for 17 years. I’ve worked for HBO, Paramount, Universal, General Motors, Budweiser Eminem, Oprah Winfrey, and many others, but my heart has always been in independent filmmaking. I’m here to talk about A BILLION TO ONE, CollabFeature, and how we believe uniting with other filmmakers is much better than going it alone and competing with each other.

So… any questions?

We've got an AMA for that!
(Bri Castellini) #2

Hey Marty! Thanks so much for being here! First question- how did you end up working in film?

(Bri Castellini) #3

@movieguyjon @SecretLivesPS @filmwritr4

(Collab Feature) #4

Hi Bri, thanks for having me!

Great first question. When I was a kid, the greatest day of my life was when my dad bought a VHS camcorder and I fell in love with making videos. My sisters were my cast back then! Then when I was in college, at Michigan State University, I started taking film studies classes and that lead to a job as an extra on a low budget film and I worked my way up from there.

(Blair Hunter) #5

Hi! Do you have advice for a first time director who is less confident about technical stuff like camera angles?

(Jaime Lancaster) #6

Yay, Thursdays! I love AMA days! <3

Is CollabFeature your full time job, or do you still work for other companies too? And how did you get your foot in the door after becoming an extra?

(Ian Henry Bonner) #7

What made you want to start CollabFeature?

(Collab Feature) #8

Yes. Find people who are great to work with. Do not be afraid to ask. That might mean starting out by going to the nearest film school and looking for someone good with cinematography and lighting. Or local theater for actors.

(Bri Castellini) #9

Your new web series was a HUGE undertaking- can you talk to us about what that development process looked like?

(Joseph Steven Heath) #10

Is it too late to be a part of “A Billion to One”? How many collaborators are involved? Is there a maximum amount of collaborators for a project? I am fascinated about this and really want to be involved.

(Meg Carroway) #11

Wow your project sounds super cool. Why did you decide to start a company that focuses on ultra-collaborative filmmaking?

(Collab Feature) #12

No CollabFeature is my part time job. I’m a freelancer in the film business. I’m currently working on a political campaign shoot and also a GM shoot. I do hope that someday CollabFeature is my full time job.

I got my foot in the door, on set as an extra, by going up to the grips and asking them if they needed help. They had me help load the truck. Then I got the number for the coordinator and followed up every couple of weeks until she had an unpaid intern job on another film. I eventually got good enough to start getting paid.

(Ollie R) #13

Yo this sounds really awesome but also impossible! What happens if one collaborator takes longer to produce than others, or doesn’t come through with their scene? How do you organize it all and make sure everyone is producing work at the same speed/quality?

(Collab Feature) #14

In short, being an indie filmmaker and realizing how much work it is to even make a short film, get it in festivals, promote it and get it seen and realizing how much competition there is out there. There are a TON of great, talented filmmakers and storytellers, competing against each other. It finally clicked that this process would be much better if we united and started collaborating.

(Collab Feature) #15

I could talk about that for hours! In CollabFeature, everything is democratic and collaborative - with a focus on making sure each contributor is true to their own sensibilities. We have a log-in platform that allows everything from the writing process to post to be part of a real-time collaboration process.

(sam lockie-waring) #16

why did you decide to make a web series instead of a feature? or instead of trying to pitch this to a network? just watched your pilot- super dope. excited to watch more.

(Jaime Lancaster) #17

And how did you transition from that all into being a producer- also… any advice for a novice producer? Especially when it comes to “the boring stuff”?

(Meg Carroway) #18

How do you find collaborators- do they audition, do you find them yourself, or something else?

(Collab Feature) #19

It is not too late! We are still filming some of the latest episodes and planning Season 2. We definitely want more filmmakers to join and you can apply at

The number of filmmakers is decided by the needs of the story… and the story is decided by the collaborators, so it’s really an ongoing process. Currently there are about 15 main filmmakers creating the main storylines but there have been over 150 contributors including some who have created one off characters who appear in the video submissions (that will make sense once you’ve seen the series). The great thing is that at any point any of those characters could become prominent in the series down the road.

(Collab Feature) #20

Thanks! We’re very proud of it. See my previous post about why I started this. I should add that we never knew it would become this international collaboration - it was initially just a message to discuss collaboration and it sort of blew up.