Readers of Script Gods know that I’m a recent convert to the Church of D.I.Y. Micro-budget as THE WAY. If you needed more evidence of this trend as gone mainstream, you have only to look at the recent Joss Wheedon release of his micro-budget In Your Eyes. Whedon’s film premiered at Tribeca film fest. Then, within days, he released this supernatural romance which he wrote and executive produced, as a $5 digital rental via Vimeo On Demand and the film’s website.
For some time now, of course, the Sundance Channel has featured streaming VOD downloads of Sundance films premiering at the Sundance film fest. These are movies that don’t have traditional theatrical releases, offering the online audience who couldn’t make Sundance a chance to see movies to which they never had access. And yes, directors such as Kevin Smith have gone to digital distribution right after the premiere before.
But none of these were the director of a movie that grossed over 600,000,000 bucks. Ever-identifying with the guy outside Hollywood’s Country Club, it makes me positively giddy to think that Wheedon’s two films after The Avengers were micro-budgets. His releasing In Your Eyes only days after Tribeca strikes me as very important indeed.
So what’s any of this got to do with Kickstarter? Because, Good Reader, as exciting as micro-budget developments are, you’re still going to come to that moment of truth where you have to fund raise, even for a dinky micro-budget flick. If you’ve got the cash in the bank ready to go you can stop reading here and keep writing that script in GOUDY STOUT 22 FONT, or pink crayola crayon. Fade the fuck in–you got the money!
We raised $25,000 dollars on Kickstarter for our micro-budget film Chat. I wrote most of the copy for that Kickstarter campaign and I thought it might be helpful to break down what you’ll need to write and what it might sound like in advance of you trying to raise cash in front of your own movie. Here’s what you’ll need to write for the campaign:
- Main Body Copy
- Video Script
- Emails to every human being you’ve ever known
- Follow up materials
- MAIN BODY COPY
You’ll want to include a synopsis STORY paragraph, a short paragraph on each key member of the production TEAM, the GOAL, and WHERE THE MONEY WILL GO.
Here was ours:
CHAT is a unique look inside a fragmented mind…the mind of Falcon. Falcon is photophobic, unable to handle light as you or I would, making his universe an alien landscape. Looking out with red-rimmed, hyper-sensitive eyes, he must break through his isolation and loss of human connection, and try to pull his daughter back from the brink. Seen through Falcon’s distorted point-of-view, the film plunges the viewer into a Lynchian world of dizzying florescence, 15 watt light bulbs, latex cat-suits and bad liposuction. Nothing is as it seems to be. Disturbing characters appear and disappear. Time and people fold back on themselves, leading to a bizarre story twist that you will never see coming, and that will change their world for keeps.
We are raising money to begin production of our feature film, “CHAT”. We are hoping to begin production in Chicago this spring. If we reach our Kickstarter goal of $25,000 we will be well on the way to accomplishing this. The director of Chat, Boris Wexler, has extensive experience in the making of low and micro-budget projects. He brings with him not just experience, but multiple relationships made within the Chicago film community, experienced professionals who will work with us at a fraction of what their “market” rates are, thus adding tremendous value to the project. $25,000 might not seem like enough money to make a difference in the life of a movie, but it is!
CHAT, we believe, is a movie you’re going to be hearing about. It’s a kick-ass story that will gain enough national attention for a theatrical release. We’d like it to be successful both in a commercial and artistic sense. We will submit to film-fests around the country, also releasing it through social media on multiple VOD and streaming platforms.
The landscape of movie-making has changed considerably in the last decade. We are now in a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) realm where technology has enabled nothing less than the democratization of cinema. A person who has never stepped foot on a movie set can pick up a Canon 7d and make a movie, can bring his story to the screen. Digital filmmaking isn’t the future; it’s upon us, right now, which is the point of this Kickstarter campaign…
The only way a micro-budget movie gets made is with the support of friends and family. The goal through Kickstarter is to make this movie happen. You, reading this, are the key. You can help make this movie happen for as little as five dollars. Pledge a donation. Please join our team.
WHERE THE MONEY WILL GO
Our goal is raise a minimum of $25,000 for this project. After the film is completed, we plan on submitting it to film festivals around the world. Anything raised above our minimum goal will go directly into the production of Chat.
Here is how we intend to use the funds raised:
• Increase the quality of all production concerns including the actors, key production staff, crew, and locations.
• Help offset unforeseen additional production costs
• Manufacturing costs for backers rewards (Blu-ray,Print materials etc)
• Digital distribution costs for backers downloading the film
• Festival submission fees
The funds we’re hoping to raise are only a part of the budget and will allow us to cover the assets we have yet to finance. The entire production has been budgeted and scheduled from start to finish. We know what it is going to take to bring this film to its audience. We need you to help us carve out as much shooting time as possible. Thanks to Kickstarter, we have a way to connect directly to our audience. You can help us create a story that would otherwise have no way to get off the ground. And because we’re making a smaller movie without a big studio overhead, we can finish it for a hundredth of the cost of a Hollywood blockbuster, in a fraction of the time, and deliver it directly to you.
We welcome your input. Backers of the project will be given access to a private online community where they can watch the progress of the film through updates and behind-the-scenes video, and to communicate with the filmmakers personally on an exclusive forum. Our goal is to be open and honest about making the movie we love and sharing it with our supporters as we go along.
$25,000 is an ambitious amount of money to raise, but CHAT is an ambitious film. Even with everyone working at reduced rates or for free, we still have a lot of hard costs over a 15-day shoot, including crew, props, locations and equipment rentals. After factoring in Kickstarter fees, credit card processing, and rewards, we will need every penny raised here to make this movie happen.
We plan to shoot the film in March and April, and to begin editing over the summer. We have a goal of being done by September, 2013. Then we will start submitting the film to festivals. Most people won’t see the film until 2014. Your pledge assures that you will be the first to see the film, at least 6-months before everyone else.
CHAT is a passion project. It began for writer Paul Peditto as an adaptation of a stage play based on a true story. CHAT is a movie that might never see the light of day in the Hollywood system dominated by remakes, sequels and branded tent-pole entertainment. With DIY filmmaking technologies in digital cameras, powerful editing and production software tools, and a willingness of the Chicago filmmaking community to support projects of worth—CHAT will have a chance to see the light of day. This is not about getting rich, or becoming famous. It’s about putting a personal vision on the screen–Something that moves from personal experience into the universal, something that resonates with an audience. To make a movie that matters. Thanks for helping us with this mission.
Why YOUR project amidst the thousands? How will you connect with people you don’t even know?
Show them always how passionately you feel for this material, why the story is unique and original, and how it can’t be done without them.
You want to make it as interactive as possible. Get them rooting for you by involving them in decisions like picking the poster or character names. Make them feel like they’re a part of the project, not just a $20 buck donation.
Next week we’ll talk Perks, Pitch Scripts, and follow up materials.