Sunday, December 18, 2016

This Week in Crowdfunding (12/18)

By: Selina

Through “This Week in Crowdfunding,” you’ll find five of the best projects Trust the Dice found hosted on crowdfunding sights this week. These are Films/Web Series’/Shows of varying lengths and genres that we believe in. If you like any of the projects you see here, donate to them, tell your friends, and/or post it on social media.

These projects don’t just need money, they need people to care and spread the word that they exist.

Support creativity. Support indie artists.

Remember that every actor, director, writer, and movie you have ever fallen in love with had to start somewhere.

Trust the Dice does not, and will not, accept payment from project creators for
Appearance on this list. Projects are chosen solely on the merit of the idea,
proposal, and people involved.

Trust the Dice will be going on vacation starting December 24. We will return on January 2 with our Top 20 Movies to Look Out For in January.

5 – OddySee

Crowdsource Platform: KICKSTARTER
Director: Unknown
Writer: Unknown
Other Staff: Unknown
Amount Requested: $3,500
Current Standing (as of Saturday night): $1,310 raised by 9 backers.
Type of Goal: All or Nothing – This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by the deadline.

I’ll be honest, I’m a little hesitant to add this project to the list at all. However, it was the only other film I found that would fit in this fifth spot. It does have a cute plot idea and their Kickstarter page is well laid out, which makes it easy to see where your money is going. On top of that, their introductory film is engaging and funny.

My hesitance does not come from the fact that OddySee is being created by a student club, most of the films I find for this list are being made by students. My issue is that there doesn’t seem to be much information on who’s in, or working on, this film.

In the introductory video, you see the faces of people working on OddySee, but only get first names. I can’t tell you the full name of the writer, director, or anyone else. I attempted to get in touch with them to fill in the information gaps, but no one ever got back to me. Unfortunately, all I can tell you is speculation at this point.

The negatives out of the way, the plot does look interesting. It’s not the most unique idea, but they put a spin on it that makes it much more interesting in general. I know that, if this were a film coming out in theaters, it might very well be something I would want to pay to see.

Lowest Fund Reward: $5 – Pledge $5 or More – Shout Out/Thank You on the Production Club at UWM Facebook page and access to all behind the scenes footage and pictures.
Highest Fund Reward: $1,000 – Pledge $1,000 or More – A date night on the location with the producers, directors, and writer, and all previous rewards.

4 – Minds at War

Unfortunately, Minds at War was unable to be completed, and the director has requested removal of its mention. Change made: 3/26/22

3 – The Night Cleaner

Crowdsource Platform: INDIEGOGO
Director: Zoe Ward
Writer: Zoe Ward
Other Staff: Pratik Shah (Cinematographer), Arkesh Ajay (Producer), Annie Pace (Producer), Gayatri Bajpai (Assistant Director), Jien Sun (Costume Designer), Naomi Gonzalez Kahn (Production Designer)
Amount Requested: $24,000
Current Standing (as of Saturday night): $4,315 raised by 35 backers.
Type of Goal: Flexible – The campaign will receive all funds raised even if it does not reach its goal.

I was immediately attracted to this film. It actually took me all week to decide if I was personally attracted to it, or if I truly believed the film could be successful. In the end, I realized it was both.

The story really speaks to me on a deeper level, even though it seems to lean toward drama as a genre, which is not my favorite. That look at the connection of two people spurned by society feels like home for me where entertainment is concerned.

What strikes me as the most important thing I learned from the Indiegogo page and the introductory video, is that the entire crew of The Night Cleaner seems to have a significant and unarguable faith in the writer/director, Zoe Ward. It helps to raise faith in a project when everyone involved believes so heavily in the person in charge.

As for the page itself, it’s highly informative. You know where your money’s going and the perks are eye-catching.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to reach Ward for an interview, and I truly regret that. I wish I had something more to say on her project than just what you can learn on her page. It seems like this film could become something amazing.

Lowest Fund Reward: $10 – Heartwarmer – You are now part of the Night Cleaner family. You’ll get a shout-out on Facebook and regular updates from the production team.
Highest Fund Reward: $5,000 – Executive Producer – The name says it all! Receive an Executive Producer credit, come visit us on set and receive all other perks on offer.

2 – Silicon Beach

Crowdsource Platform: INDIEGOGO
Director: Max Gold
Writer: Max Gold
Other Staff: Stephen Tringali (Cinematographer), Max Silver (Producer)
Amount Requested: $20,000
Current Standing (as of Saturday night): $50 raised by 3 backers.
Type of Goal: Flexible – The campaign will receive all funds raised even if it does not reach its goal.

Originally, Silicon Beach was a little lower on my list, but after getting to speak with writer/director Max Gold, I knew it needed to be higher.

This feature film is a thriller that takes a look at the anxieties of a group of young professionals as they attempt to build their startup business. The plot alone sounds interesting, but it’s difficult to really look deeper into it until you watch the introductory video.

The video on the Indiegogo page is a great teaser for the film and it supports the simple idea mentioned in the overview enough that it makes everything that much easier to picture.

One of the facts about this film that make it seem like it is such a small risk for investors, is that it is already complete. All the money being raised through crowdfunding is going directly to post-production; things like editing and composing.

I was able to get a phone call with Max Gold on Saturday afternoon. He seemed happy to be discussing this film and, after only a few moments it was easy to tell why.

Gold has a significant amount of passion for Silicon Beach and, from everything he told me, even more faith in his cast and crew.

“I just want to underline the fact that this film was made by a community,” Gold told me. “Every single person involved was committed and excited to bring this to life.”

One of the things I asked Gold was about his inspiration for the film.

He told me a story about how he worked side tech jobs while making films for over a decade, which allowed him to understand the startup world very well. He took that knowledge and combined it with his own personal experiences. The anxiety he drew from to create Silicon Beach was from knowing that he was working those tech jobs, but was unable to really commit to them. He was, essentially, leading two lives.

Every morning, he was spending several hours writing his scripts, then he would have to go to work exhausted and try to do what he was supposed to. All the while, making any real work friends was difficult for him, because he wasn’t there for the career, he was there only because he wasn’t able to exist solely on his film work yet.

Anyone with any kind of creative ambition probably relates to that story on a very deep level. I know I do.

He went on to explain about a previous project, one that he had to rely on others for. It was a larger budget film that got delayed because the people financing it weren’t as helpful as they should have been. When creativity is stifled by a lack of funds, it easily fuels rage and rebellion. Silicon Beach is the manifestation of that rebellion. Proof that Gold and his crew were capable of putting together something spectacular without having to rely on a giant budget to get through it.

We all know how I feel about the importance of rebellion, so I’ll just add here that learning the inspiration for Silicon Beach was another reason why I knew it needed to be higher on this list.

One of the other interesting aspects of Silicon Beach is the method Gold decided to use for perks. I noticed that the films Indiegogo page split the perks into two different categories: for the audience and for fellow movie makers.

According to Gold, he’s noticed in the past that sometimes people would donate money to his project and want something other than the perk offered – like direction and advice from someone more experienced than them. On the other hand, there were just as many laymen that only wanted to put some money toward helping along a film they thought looked pretty cool.

After seeing this method, I think it’s something more creators should look into.

In the end, I can’t wait to see what Gold and his team do with this film. I’m betting it’s going to be phenomenal.

Lowest Fund Reward: $10 – Thank You Tweet – A thank you tweet. Tweeted to 35,000+ followers by director Max Gold (@blindhummingbrd)
Highest Fund Reward: $5,000 – Executive Producer Credit – An ‘Executive Producer’ credit on the film. This perk includes: -IMDB credit –invitation to cast and crew screenings –invitation to visit the editing suite during post-production –invitation to the LA premiere (flight and accommodations not included.) Congratulations and welcome to our team!

1 – Focus

Crowdsource Platform: KICKSTARTER
Director: AJ Winters
Writer: AJ Winters, Stephen Fletcher
Other Staff: Kelly Renata (Line Producer), Jacob Abercromby (Director of Photography), Mark Flanders (Music), Shannon Rogers (Cast), Mabel Foong (Cast), Reece Bagrowski (Cast), Mike Moshos (Cast), Keegan Zykowski (Cast), Flavia Marini (Cast), Teddy O’Hearn (Production Assistant), John Reid (Production Assistant), Stephen Fletcher (Production Assistant), Jonathan Giles (Production Assistant), Ashleigh Barrow (Production Assistant), Biance Roose (Costume Designer), Alex Roussel (Costume Designer), Justine Hinz (Script Supervisor), Mitchell McKenna (Editor), Philip Healey (SFX), Amelia Robinson (Graphic Designer), Robin Cook (Graphic Designer), Karlien Kemp (Graphic Designer)
Amount Requested: $1,460
Current Standing (as of Saturday night): $74.52 raised by 3 backers.
Type of Goal: All or Nothing – This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by the deadline.

This web series immediately caught my eye. It has a solid plot and its introductory video was an interesting teaser trailer. I had no idea that between the moment when I chose this project and when I’d write the article, they would release the actual pilot on YouTube.

I watched the pilot the moment I finished talking to the director, AJ Winters.

The first thing I can comment on is the quality of the pilot. I’ve seen original pilots for popular TV shows that didn’t exhibit the kind of quality Focus had. I’ll avoid the obvious pun here, but I will say I was very impressed. At the end of the episode, I wanted to see more, I wanted to know more. It was such an understated video, but it served its purpose well.

What makes the quality of that pilot even more incredible is that the cast and crew of Focus are all on the young side. Winters told me that the majority of people working on the film are between 16 and 30 years old.

Trust the Dice loves to support indie projects and we love to support youth in creating entertainment even more. The future of films, series’, and everything else, comes from youth and people willing to take the chances that mainstream entertainment doesn’t encourage. In this case, Focus meets both those requirements.

I believe that web series’, like those based on YouTube, are going the way of Netflix. There are so many unique, interesting projects being created on the platform that it is impossible to ignore completely.

I’m aware that it might be a little scary to offer funding to a project run primarily by younger, less experienced people, but I’ll say it again: everyone starts somewhere. You can choose to only support people with greater levels of experience, but I believe that’s a mistake that keeps the entertainment world from growing.

When I asked Winters if she had anything she wanted you to know, she said:

“We are 100% dedicated to making this show possible and I will continue to strive to make it so. This Kickstarter is just the beginning for us, and hopefully, with the help of sponsors and pledge donations, we will be able to film Season 1 of FOCUS next year. I want to facilitate and make the dreams of my cast and crew a reality and therefore I won't stop until this succeeds.”

I know their perks don’t start until a relatively high number, but you can make smaller pledges that will garner a thank you from the series creators.

Lowest Fund Reward: $200 – Skype call with the cast – If you pledge over $200 we would like to thank you personally with a Skype call with our leading cast. You’ll get to meet them and ask them any of your questions about the filming process!

Highest Fund Reward: $1,000 – Be a part of Focus – If you pledge over $1,000 we would love to get you on board with our show! Always wanted to do a little acting? How about spending a day behind the scenes? Or maybe you’re a bit of a creative writer yourself and want to contribute to the script writing process? We want to give you the opportunity to be involved in the creative process! 

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